21 May 2011

Blogging At The End of The World

I just had to do something with this, what with the deadline looming and all that...

Good Jenius Friend Gabo Pagán forwarded an e-mail to Me. It was sent by one Saraí Meléndez Rodríguez, who alleges, in the e-mail, to be undertaking a survey amongst local bloggers for her thesis on bloggers' relationship with public relations. Why do I say "allegedly"? Because Gabo pointed out to Me that Saraí works for local advertising agency De La Cruz & Associates.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Saraí Meléndez Rodríguez   
Date: 2011/5/19 
Subject: Investigación sobre blogs en PR 
To: p@upr.edu, a@yahoo.com, o@gmail.com, f@blackberrypr.com, k@gmail.com, p@gmail.com, m@gmail.com, i@carlosambert.com, i@miwindowsphone.net, y@gabopagan.com, r@gmail.com, l@prtc.net, p@gmail.com, p@indymedia.org, y@gmail.com, i@educandoamihijo.com, s@hotmail.com, a@gmail.com


Mi nombre es Saraí Meléndez y estoy realizando una tesis sobre la relación de los relacionistas profesionales con los blogueros. Haz clic sobre el enlace para contestar un cuestionario sencillo. Te agradeceré que lo compartas con tus amigos blogueros. 

¡Gracias mil! 

Saraí Meléndez 

I've removed all but the first letter of every e-mail address because (A) It's not My intention to reveal somewhat personal information and (B) to prove (if anyone has any doubt) that Saraí, in Gabo's words, "doesn't seem to know about BCC."

No, she don't.

Now I'm obviously posting this to mock Saraí. What do I care? It'll all be irrelevant by tomorrow, right? But even to the end, I can't help but point a finger at something like this and...snicker.

Maybe Saraí is doing her thesis on bloggers. Perhaps it is merely a coincidence that she works at an advertising/Public Relations firm, or maybe it isn't given that she may be fascinated by the topic. And she did send the e-mail from her personal account, right? So maybe I'm just being a jerk instead of a Jenius.


Here's a question near the end of the of the survey. Up until that point, I was willing to mock gently, as per the post above. You'll see--maybe--why I upped the ante.

¿Existen en tu país listas negras de relacionistas, empresas o marcas con los que los blogueros no quieren trabajar?

Is there in your country a blacklist of public relations (agencies/personnel), companies or brands that bloggers don't want to work with?

Come again? What the hell is this question doing here, aside from pissing Me off? If--and I must emphasize, IF--this claptrap e-mail/survey is about discovering or exploring the relationship between local bloggers and Public Relations, then answer this Saraí, De La Cruz or whoever pooped this crap: Why are you asking "in your country" and about "blacklists?" Is Saraí an alien, a foreigner or worse, a muddle-headed Niuyorican? And is asking about "blacklisting" the way to build rapport and truly explore the growing blogger culture and what it does and can mean to your """thesis""" cum con-job?

And guess what the first request is in the survey? Your name.

Just wondering: does this have anything to do with Burston-Marsteller taking a sponsorship role in this month's local BloggerCon? Is this some sort of Public Relations "land grab" into bloggers and blogger territory? Are they sending some unprepared intern into the blogger wilderness to flush out a quail or an ostrich or something?

So I went back and filled in the survey. With My real name. And then I proceeded to answer the questions any way I wanted to and with venom when it suited Me. Some of what I submitted includes:

*** My blog's name? EstoMepareceunapendejada.com. {In English, ThislookslikebullshittoMe.com}.

*** When asked if I made money with My blog, I used the text box for the next question to say: I lied on the previous question because the option that SHOULD be there is "No and I don't want an income from My blog." But since you're all skanks (flejes) to the highest bidder, everything I wrote between "No" and "But" is like Babylonian cuneiform to what little neuronal tissue you have. 

*** A comparison between P.R. personnel and crack whores. Redundant, but appropriate.

*** That My blog has Chippendale ads run by Alpo.

And when "thanked" for filling out the survey, I wrote: Mierda es.



As they say in Georgia: Don't you bring that Kool-Aid to My whiskey end-of-days party.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

Just as I finished this post, a second e-mail from a___________f@gmail.com (redacted to protect the innocent) came into My Inbox. I called the person whose e-mail was used this past Monday and today, with the recent one saying: "hi gil, i had to fill you in" followed by a link.

She hasn't used her Gmail account in months.

The first e-mail I erased Monday without opening. I went back and checked the link and found it blocked by bit.ly because it had been reported as problematic. The link in the second e-mail is this one: http://burstonmarsteller.com/redirect.php?to=aHR0cDovL3d3dy5jbmJjNy5jb2(Removed 18 alphanumeric characters.)

DON'T CLICK ON IT, PLEASE! (Even with the removed characters.) It's about some work at home bullshit spam scam. But it's nice to know Burston-Marsteller thinks enough about Me to send Me e-mail.

[Update: 22 May 2011: Vía a Google Buzz confab, a LinkedIn profile of Saraí: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/saraí-meléndez-rodríguez/25/b68/a65]


Raul Colon said...


I received the same via my contact forms of various blogs I follow. I guess since I did not assist the PR Blogger Con they did not have my email Address.

I found it very suspicious that they where sending these private emails from the DeLa Cruz Server during work hours.

The years have taught me that I don't believe in coincidences.

However it would be great to create a series of posts from local bloggers on how PR agencies are blacklisting individuals who even have valid complaints.

I had an agency who manages Banco Popular's Social media tell me I was probably in one of them.

Like we say here in Puerto Rico. "De este tema hay tela para cortar"

Raul Colon said...

By the way I sent an email out to this person and she did not respond back. That is how interested she is in engaging.

I will send a follow up email.. Great Post GIL

Prometeo said...

I received the email and found it highly suspicious. I didn't answer it. I don't know whats their obsession with blacklists and stuff like that. Seems to me like the guys at Burston are preparing something but I can't see what it may be.

It comes to my mind that maybe they are trying to create a blogger association or something like that to better manipulate the members that come into it.

De la Cruz is one of the PR firms that ran Fortuño's campaign in 2008.

This really caused me some concern.

GCSchmidt said...

Raúl and Prometeo, thanks for commenting. I'm seriously pissed off at this crap. If some agency comes to Us and says "We want to get you know you better," I doubt We'd be difficult about it. We might be pissy about a thing or two and maybe many of Us would be hard to pin down, but We'd be fairly forthcoming, if not plain happy to be noticed.

But the onus for getting to know anyone is on the inquirer: it is up to him/her/them to make the effort because whatever their object of interest is, it exists and thrives without them. So in this case, THEY have to come to US. And they HAVE to do it HONESTLY.

If We were crooks, criminals, degenerates, etc., then self-protection would almost require the inquirer to use subterfuge to avoid potential harm. But even if they think/believe We are "evil", "wrong-minded" or "dangerous," LACKING EVIDENCE TO PROVE THAT POINT FORCES THEM TO BE HONEST WITH US. That they chose not to be means they are stupid on that count.

They were stupid on another count: if We were "evil," their subterfuge was clumsy to the point of being retarded, which means they underestimated Us a second time. And if We were evil, they should expect Us to retaliate.

Here's what their actions tell Me: they thought they could find a way to buy Us like they've bought the media in the past. Their method: identify "key players" and "key targets" to buy/subvert or isolate. They would do so by placing "information" in some of Our Inboxes, or offers to "write for pay" as "endorsements," or pit one of Us against one or more of the others to "get the right message out." Whores seeking whores.

Saraí may be a witless pawn in all this, a willing ally or a leader. I don't know. But I am damn certain that this little shit party is just getting started. I'm very happy to continue My habit of not starting a fight, but making fucking sure I end it. On My terms.