Bombarded by Meltwater Press
One company has proven itself up to the task of indiscriminately bombarding me with irrelevant and really awful press releases — Meltwater Press. Today, I ridicule them and their credulous clients.
I’ve been conducting a science experiment. When I started this blog, I also created a new email address. I never use it to sign up for things. To reduce spam, all instances of it on my site aren’t in plaintext. That means anybody targeting me would have to physically type it into a database and, by CAN-SPAM, should have asked my permission first. (Nobody has asked my permission.)
Only one PR company had the questionable ethics to just plunk my email into their list: Meltwater Press. After doing so, it sold my name (and thousands of others) to PR people who are either too dumb or don’t care that they’re spamming irrelevant people. I’ve gotten 320 releases so far. Here are some of the weirder ones:
App Against Cyber Bullying That Filters out Nasty Words in Your Mobile – Adds Kindness to Your Keyboard . . .Fulfiltret filters out swear words and insults as soon as they are entered on a keyboard and replaces them with compliments and kindness. For example if you write “Hocker” it’s automatically replaced with the word “Princess.” . . .Currently it is only available in Swedish. [Finally an app that will protect all you Swedish hockers — er, princesses — from my filthy site. Soon to be renamed “Withoutdustbunnies.com.”]
TrackingPoint Announces Military Squad-Level Precision-Guided Firearms. . . .As a soldier pulls the trigger the enemy is automatically acquired and tracked. When trigger pull completes, the target is instantly eliminated. Total Time-To-Kill (TTK) is approximately 2.5 seconds. [By all means, if you’re creating guns that kill people, write about it in the passive voice. “The target is instantly eliminated” sounds more like what Lysol does to germs than what soldiers do to other human beings. Let’s all minimize Time-To-Kill!]
Westell Technologies Extends “National Passives Month” . . . “Westell’s National Passives Month and the total value it has brought to our customers business efforts was well received. [Now I see why TrackingPoint writes passively — it’s National Passives Month! Their nicely passive sentences flow by so effortlessly that you don’t even notice that the subject doesn’t agree with the verb. Their video here got 143 views.]
Javlin Capital Provides $30 Million Facility for Purchasing Non-performing Residential Mortgages in Michigan. . . .“Spartan Financial is a key partner for Javlin Capital,” said Rob Johnson, Javlin CEO. “They offer proven expertise as a debt buyer and servicer of Michigan’s nuanced inventory.” [While I wouldn’t normally write about the vultures swooping in on Michigan’s trouble homeowners, the phrase “nuanced inventory” got caught in my bullshit detectors.]
Small Subset of Sierra Nevada Red Fox Warranted for ESA Listing. . . . The most up-to-date scientific information available, some of it discovered since the time the Service was petitioned to list the Sierra Nevada red fox, shows it is more widespread than originally thought, residing in suitable habitat in Oregon as well as California. [Yup, the US Fish and Wildlife Service is spending your tax dollars because it thinks I write about endangered species.]
I get two or three of these a day. They’re all irrelevant, a waste of bits. Presumably I could get off their list by using the unsubscribe instruction shown at the bottom of their releases in teeny-tiny type (I’ll write about that in a future post). But why bother, when they’ve provided me with such a constant supply of poorly written, irrelevant, manufactured “news.”
If Meltwater is pitching you on their email distribution services, ask them where those lists come from. You might not like the answer.
Those are so bad they’re almost good. Almost.
I was curious to know what “National Passives Month” is, so I clicked the link you provided. After reading the whole release I still don’t know — and now I no longer care. For me, bullshit implies an intent to distort or mislead. If a piece of writing does nothing but send readers away baffled, is it still bullshit?
Actually, the intent to mislead is not the determining factor. If you have not communicated anything meaningful, you’re generating bullshit. That’s my definition, anyway.
Does Meltwater also write for The Onion?