Professional behavior results in an effective embargo2009-01-10
Media embargoes—the ones arranged between professionals—are designed as a win-win. The organization gets concurrent coverage from multiple outlets while reporters get the chance to dig deeper into the subject and craft a compelling story.
In his report on episode 412 of “For Immediate Release”, correspondent Dan York talks of a serendipitous alignment of the stars that drove traffic to a screencast he produced. Only in the most offhand way does Dan note that an embargo played a significant part in the screencast’s success.
The screencast presents the features of the latest iteration of Skype for the Mac. Dan was among those offered a preview of the app, contingent on agreement to honor the embargo which would expire when the software was introduced at Macworld.
That window gave Dan time to put Skype for Mac 2.8 betea through its paces and decide that a screencast was the best angle for him to take with the story; it also gave him time to assemble a thoughtful and illuminating video.
The Macworld announcement created the interest that led to searches for more information, leading people to Dan’s post. The quality of the video and the information it presented compelled some of those who viewed it to link to it from their own blogs and other social media properties, bring Dan even more traffic.
Had Dan violated the embargo and launched his video before the announcement, interest most likely would not have been as great. The success of the video—over 8,000 views as of the time Dan recorded his segment on Thursday morning—is precisely what an embargo is designed to do when it is offered and accepted by people who behave professionally. Skype benefits from coverage exploring the software from a variety of perspectives (including Dan’s) while Dan and others who agreed to the embargo draw new readers to their sites.
There would be little room for complaint if everyone behaved as professionally as the parties did in this case.