Posted December 17, 2008 8:38 pm by with 8 comments

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TechCrunch today has declared an end to embargoes, other than for exclusives and trusted companies. The underlying reason is that the embargo system is so often abused or ignored as to be pointless. Thus, TC says it’s time for a new site policy:

We’ve never broken an embargo at TechCrunch. Not once. Today that ends. From now our new policy is to break every embargo. We’ll happily agree to whatever you ask of us, and then we’ll just do whatever we feel like right after that. We may break an embargo by one minute or three days. We’ll choose at random.

Naturally, Mike Arrington and his staff have the right to take their site in whatever direction they want. And, as he elaborates in his post, because most PR firms issuing embargoed releases seldom take action against embargo breakers, there will probably be few if any consequences of their new policy.

However, while I definitely think the practice of sending a full release with the headline “embargoed until such-and-such EST on such-and-such” is taking your life in your hands, I also believe that agreeing to an embargo (before receiving the news) and then willfully going back on your word is a business and ethical decision that is not without repercussions.

It’s disturbing that so many people can find it not only acceptable but commendable to give their word and agree to honor an embargo and then “do whatever feels right”—that breaking their word can and will be “whatever feels right.”

Yes, sometimes—frequently, even—bloggers and other publishers go live with embargoed news early, willfully breaking their word. And yes, it’s disappointing and disheartening to be scooped on a story or not be featured as prominently in third party coverage of stories because someone else broke their word—but neither that nor a general forewarning or policy is going to make it okay to say one thing and do another.

Our stance? We will continue to honor any agreed embargo–standing by our track record of not once “going early” on embargoed news.

via RWW, which will also respect embargoes. Read more discussion at Techmeme.

  • A lot of the complaints that real journalists have about blogs is that they don’t adhere to the same ethics and standards as real journalistic endeavors do, or real reporters.

    This is just another one of those things that proves them right :/ It makes bloggers in general look bad in my opinion.

    Trisha Lyn Fawver’s last blog post..Tales of a Home Office Worker Dad

  • And, this is one of the many reasons that I have tons of respect for MP, and feel honored to have the ability to write here!

    Joe Hall’s last blog post..Help a Charity and Get MASSIVE Amounts Of Links

  • I think blogs should not have ethics and standards. Thats for real journalists.

    Blog Expert’s last blog post..How I Gained 200 RSS Subscribers in 2 Days

  • @Blog Expert – I’m assuming you are kidding, otherwise you need a name change.

  • Arrington should read “Reputation Management”. He might realize that having a reputation as a liar will undermine his credibility.

    It’s odd that there’s discussion around this. Seems pretty black & white.

    Chris Goward’s last blog post..Want to Achieve Excellence with Your Online Conversions? Follow the “Ten Thousand Hour Rule”

  • Allways try to represent some thing new.

  • share something new and informative makes you ahead in blog.

  • Blogs are blogs, and news media/journalism is something different. Both have positives and negatives. Certainly “real” journalism is not immune from bad writing, it has a lot of pitfalls and coverage issues.