Friday, November 26, 2010

A counter-press release from Beirut/NTSC

Beirut, November 26, 2010:
I am pissed: not "pissed" as in "drunk" but pissed as in "upset". In the last few days my inbox has witnessed a flurry of press releases from different organizations. Which I don't mind because it keeps me abreast of news and I keep track of what is going on in the market. Now here's the upsetting part - I learnt that these people who sent them actually EXPECT me to publish the press releases.
Now, let us examine the facts:
If you were to publish a press release in a "traditional" media concerned with advertising and communucation (ArabAd and Communicate come to mind) would they have accepted to give you the space for free? Would you have expected the space to be given for free? Let's face it, if they give it out to you pro bono it is because you have bought massively or at least regularly advertising space in their publications and this would be their small token of appreciation for making them heaps of money.
When was the last time you bought advertising space on Beirut/NTSC? When was the last time you contributed financially to the effort I am putting?... Sure, as we say in Arabic "mish 3am rabbe7 jmile" which roughly translated means "I am not emotionally blackmailing you". If I do Beirut/NTSC and spent hours upon hours (highlighting for additional effect) archiving, writing, commenting, explaining, and all the yada-yada, it's because I want to do it. No one has twisted my arm to do it, it was me who decided to fill that gap in the market.
But I suppose that this last bit is so taken for granted from organisations that actually make money (another highlight for additional effect) out of this - whereas I do not. When I met Nathalie Bontems at an event earlier this year (her official title is: Beirut Operations Manager at Mediaquest (which owns Communicate), her unofficial title is "friend" :) ) I greeted her and said: "Here comes the competition!" To which she replied "we don't compete with one another, we complement each other" and I retorted "yes, and only ONE of us makes money out of it."
So ladies and gentlemen, I don't mind you keeping your news coming and letting me be at the center of events, but if you intend to show off my blog to your clients or whomever is paying YOU for this, either A) Pay me money and let ME have my part of the cake, or B) Do not have unreasonable EXPECTATIONS from something that is done on solitary basis more than anything else (whereas I am endebted to other people's contributions - specifically visual - I am still the "one man army" behind the blog).
Bottom line: I am still "pissed." Pity the blog name "Angry Arab" has already been taken!
- ENDS -


Mustapha said...

Just ignore them. I always do (you did put a shankaboot banner though ;) )

Tarek Chemaly said...

As you can see, the banner has been taken down as well - Shankaboot were supposed to be doing things with their partners such as myself, they never did. So now all icons on the side refer to my books on ...

Mustapha said...

Admit it, the Shankaboot email was also a press release, but it was so skilled and friendly it made some of us fall for it :)

Tarek Chemaly said...

Well, I have read whole interviews which are nothing but disguised press releases and having been in the advertising industry so long I wrote press releases under more shapes than anyone can muster, but I sincerely believed that Shankaboot were trying to do something meaningful on the net (this beign said, you criticized my Exotica "nature's changing" for being an ad for client merely by writing so extensively on it, by the same token, you repeating Shankaboot is an ad for them as well!)...

Shankaboot said...

Hey guys,
I see your point about people taking your blog for granted, and I'm sorry if Shankaboot made you feel that way too.
But our intentions were never to make our emails skilled and friendly to fool anyone. The reason why Shankaboot is so popular now is because of you guys that's a fact. Also, I don't know if you've been informed about this, but you guys are on our partners page on the website (
Guys, Shankaboot is completely non-profit, our main goal is to interact about issues in our daily lives.
We've been busy on launching Shankactive lately. It's a new platform to host user-generated content in order to channel the online community into discussing these day-to-day issues we live.
Don't take this as justification or anything, but Shankaboot is all about the online community and blogs.
If you could also forward to me the email we sent to you I'd like to send another one clarifying this misunderstanding to all our partners.
We're on your side man shu bekon

Danielle said...

I feel you so much on this. At first, you start doing it in the hopes that something more comes out of it..but in the end, you realize that people will take advantage as long as you let them!

I don't think people realize how much time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears :) goes into creating and maintaining a blog.. It's like a full time job!

Thanks for saying this Tarek, we all need to hear it.