I've been working the slippery slope of PR and journalism for almost 20 years, so there's not much I haven't seen. But today I encountered a degree of PR slackitude never before seen.

I share a client with a major international PR firm (I write copy, the firm promotes the website in Canada). An account supervisor at this fancy NY-based two-named PR agency emailed me today with this request:

"I noticed your inquiry on HARO and we were
looking at doing a similar press release in Canada for [shared client], and we would
love to leverage the content in Canada rather than reinvent the wheel if you
are okay with it. Do you have any additional information about what you are
working on? If we need to speak to someone at Monster, please let us know who
we should follow up with."

Seriously? This is wrong on so many levels (and I'm not even talking about sentence structure!).

Let's say I give her the benefit of the doubt. Let's say she's planning on compensating me for my content -- even though she never mentions that. Even so, she's asking me to double-dip a client. That's totally uncool, not to mention unethical. That may be OK with her, but it's not how we do things around The Word Factory.

But I think she has no intention of paying me. I think she wants to take my work, present it as her own and bill the client 10x what I do (and I'm well-compensated, thank you very much). That's fraud, isn't it?

I haven't decided if I'll respond to this goofball or not, but I'm definitely sending her email to our client. If our common customer isn't offended by this tactic, then the account supe might get what she wants. I only hope she gets what she deserves.

You lessons from this, in case they aren't clear?

  • Be decent.
  • Don't double-dip.
  • Don't be lazy.
  • Do your own damn work.