14 Comments

Summary:

We’re changing how we deal with guest posts at Gigaom, but we’re not closing the door. Read on for the details.

frustration

At Gigaom, we consider ourselves part of the broader tech community, and are very aware that we don’t have all the answers or insights as to the future of this amazing industry. However, we are even more aware that editorial voices are vastly outnumbered by public-relations professionals, many of whom have a misunderstanding (likely willful) when it comes to the difference between advertorial and guest posts.

With that in mind, I’m announcing some changes regarding our guest post policies. The actual details are a little more nuanced than you might have read in the PR gossip rags (the irony here is kind of killing me), so please take note.

First off, a word on why we publish guest posts. I’ve always been a big fan of the tongue-in-cheek explanation Techcrunch gives — “we don’t want to work on the weekends” — but obviously there’s more to it than that. Our editorial product is a richer one when we incorporate the strong voices of leading engineers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, designers, product managers, and the rest of the people that make Silicon Valley what it is today.

But increasingly, those voices have lost most of their authenticity. Believe it or not, the more money that flows into tech, the more corporate, promotional, and soulless those voices have become, filtered through layers of PR and marketing review and revision. Wading through the endless off-topic pitches in our guestpost@gigaom.com email inbox is a chore I’m loath to ask any self-respecting editorial person to do anymore; sure, you can throw out the obvious SEO scams, but the deluge of PR-submitted guest posts (most of which are clearly ghost authored) we receive each week forces us to wade through considerable muck in order to find the very small number of gems.

So we’re simply no longer going to do that. Starting Monday June 2nd, 2014, Gigaom no longer accepts unsolicited guest-post pitches from PR agencies or corporate PR departments. We’re not going to reply to them, so please don’t send them.

However, we are not shuttering our guest post program. Here are the types of guest posts we’ll publish in the future:

Solicited guest posts: Our writers have been asked to be on the lookout for people they respect who might want to author a guest post. Laura Owen (our news editor) and myself will be happy to work with anyone recommended by our writers as a possible guest post candidate, as well as their PR departments.

Speaker guest posts: The people we invite to participate on stage in our various events are by definition people we respect and admire. We will be happy to consider guest posts from those folks in advance of our events, and are quite willing to work with their PR representatives.

Authors already accepted for guest-post publication: If you have written a guest post for Gigaom before, it’s because we thought you were interesting. If you’re one of those authors or you represent one of those authors, make sure to include a link to that post in your new pitch, and we’ll be happy to consider it.

Entrepreneurs, engineers, or regular people: Bypass your PR person. Reach out to guestpost@gigaom.com directly with your ideas or proposals, and if you can get a Gigaom writer to vouch for you, you’ll have better luck. But please understand that we’re not going to respond to every inquiry, and it’s not necessarily because we don’t like you; it’s usually because there are so many of you.

So unless you’re a junior PR person with a pitch list, all the same advice from the last time we updated this policy still applies: pick a topic core to our coverage areas, shoot for 800ish words, and don’t send us things you’ve published elsewhere or intend to publish elsewhere (including user-submitted outlets like Medium or Tumblr). We retain the final say on the edits to any guest post, and we require you to sign an agreement that outlines our rights with respect to your contribution.

Finally, a word on sponsored content: while Gigaom does indeed run sponsored posts, that is a completely separate undertaking from our guest post program, and Gigaom’s Editorial group has absolutely nothing to do with the solicitation, writing, editing, or scheduling of sponsored posts. If you’re interested in our sponsored post program, you can find more details here.

I hope this clears up any confusion as to our policies, as I get a fair amount of email about this topic. If you have additional questions, please leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer as many as I can.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014
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14 Comments

  1. I can’t think of anything more annoying than trying to filter through loads of “crap” to find something worth reading so I say, GREAT CALL!

  2. Website Design ZA Saturday, May 31, 2014

    Good for you guys I hate reading spam and SEO crap only to find out the article is not true

  3. Nice change. Our industry already has enough challenges with establishing trust in the community without these advertorials. I would suggest one more rule, limit posts by people about topics that could impact the company they work for.

    In any case, thanks for the change. It will only make GigaOM better.

  4. Ugh, I understand completely as I’m sure that amount of promotional fodder you receive from folks is disturbing (not to mention not the least bit of interest to your readers). As a long practicing PR practitioner, it pains me to hear that we all are inevitably considered as a pack. I have brilliant clients in the tech industry. I’m glad the forum is still open to their true voices.

  5. David H Deans Saturday, May 31, 2014

    Tom, is it your hope that you can convert most of those rejected Guest Posts to the GigaOm paid “Sponsor Posts” that you offer PR firms — currently priced at $2,000 each?

  6. Nikohl Vandel Saturday, May 31, 2014

    =) phew, i am so glad it wasn’t because of me. and maybe gigaom will REQUIRE that at least every other webinar the contributors use a woman and then there can always be two women and two men on all your webinars!!!!!!!!!!! =) how groovy would that be. thank you for bring an authentic curator of intelligent thought and social awareness in that industry which permeates so many aspects of our lives. cheers. <3nikiV

  7. This is happening all over the web in different forms. I think it’s a Craigs List pimple where people are hired to post spam guest remarks. (Lots of out of work “writers” out there.) It’s been remarked about on several sites. Protecting yourself is the only way to go. I realize my comment is a little off from your focus, but this PR trend is an offshoot of unwanted, topic promotional, heartless (your term was soulless) spam postings designed to tilt internet opinion and attack unsuspecting readership. Bravo to your reaction.

  8. I wish the NYT would apply your view to who they quote on issues!

    Tom Smith said, ” the science on climate science was definitely not settled yet. The Bible says that Earth was created 7,000 years ago and that God creates weather.”

  9. John Rogers Sunday, June 1, 2014

    Hi

    I applaud your new policy. However, I notice that right on the side of this entire article, you run an ad from the nice people at Tile, — you know, the ones who’ve been advertising everywhere for you to “Pre-order now!” for $19.99.

    They’ve been doing this for over a year now, yet you allow them to come in and spread their scam on your site? Hollow words indeed, in this article, if you allow scamsters like these to pay to play.

  10. This is an incredibly sad reflection on my industry, but I do understand that the masses have ruined it for the few. Pitches should be well researched, and crafted with the readership in mind, but I guess if you were being inundated with excellent pitches this policy wouldn’t be required. For my part, and what I shall recommend to the good eggs in my industry (which do exist), is that our guidance and research can still be of value – it will just require more input from the author, who will now send the pitch directly.

  11. This is disappointing — not that you have updated your guidelines – but that you lump all pitches/PR practitioners into bad or spammy pitches. I think you are actually going to miss out on a lot of valuable, unique content because of this policy. In many cases, especially with a start-up, the PR practitioner works hand in hand with the executive to discuss a compelling idea, build it out and then the PR practitioner pitches it. I had a really good piece all queued up to send off this week. Interesting concept, stats to back it up and customers to show proof of concept but my pitch doesn’t fit into the criteria anymore. Unfortunate. The bashing of PR people is getting old.

    1. It’s a risk we’re willing to take. If you had to filter through all those irrelevant pitches — as I do every day — you might feel differently.

  12. Anne Staley Friday, July 18, 2014

    Hi Tom!
    Do you allow sponsored posts? If yes, then I want to publish my article. My article will best fit your website.