No links, no style, no serviceBy Wade Kwon
Even posting a media release on al.com can be an ordeal
I have a tiny bone to pick with al.com and the Alabama Media Group. (Ha! I have a tiny bone.)
This would not be my only troubling encounter with Advance, which owns Alabama Media Group, al.com, the Birmingham Business Journal and more.
As part of my role as publicist, for myself, my company and my clients, I send out media releases on a regular basis. I also post them on news sites such as al.com. When I post releases, I usually include phrases in bold or italics, plus links to related external sites (for example, if Regions Bank were the client, I’d have a link to regions.com). I might even include a related photo or logo, hosted on an external site.
Pretty dull stuff.
Except, these days, an anonymous editor strips out all of the style and links and images manually. The user pastes the text of the media release into this form, and HTML is not only allowed, it’s encouraged. It helps the media release stand out and provides an external link to the client.
I submitted my media release on my conference Y’all Connect on Tuesday. When I looked at the published post on Wednesday, it was all intact, minus the bold, the italics, the links and the logo. (One of my earlier releases [screenshot] has these extras still intact. Let’s hope they don’t purge them someday.)
This coding bait-and-switch happened to my submissions more than once, and I’ve had to raise a fuss with an editor I know over there to have these links and style choices reinstated.
The editor replied to my email query:
“I’m trying to find out who edits these. Can you send me the original? I wonder if there’s some problem with how our system receives it?”
I responded Thursday with a file with all the HTML, hoping that my media release would be restored. It has not.
Why is Alabama Media Group making it more difficult for me to add free content, free traffic and free SEO value to its site?
Still, I shouldn’t complain. Free publicity and all, right?
I’m a little paranoid when it comes to dealing with the Alabama Media Group, so I ran a test. I posted another media release from PR Newswire to al.com, this one about a movie filmed in Birmingham. It too has links and bold and italics and even a YouTube video.
But this time, I posted it under a pseudonym, a newly created user account solely for this experiment.
This media release I posted under a pseudonym went unmolested by the al.com editor.
See larger screenshot.
It, too, was approved within a day. But unlike the one posted under my name, the media release was left completely intact. (The editor even made the video the correct width, which I had deliberately made too narrow on posting.)
Seems someone over at Alabama Media Group is behaving in a peculiarly petty fashion. But sadly, that seems to be the default response, at least when I’ve pushed back on even simpler matters.
Update April 5: Someone has restored the links and styling to my March 31 press release. As in past cases, no explanation or apology was offered.