Tom has [much to say on PR agencies who try and peddle their wares upon personal bloggers](http://www.plasticbag.org/archives/2007/08/the_vatican_on_the_et/).
There’s not much to add, especially beyond what [Stowe Boyd](http://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2007/08/tom-coates-kick.html) has said. Other than:
* At work — where I’m assistant editor for [a performing arts publication](http://www.thestage.co.uk/) — so many PR agencies send out blanket emails from a centralised resource, e.g., MediaDisk, without ever checking whether the information is accurate. Or indeed, relevant — quite why I’d be interested in a local council anti-bullying campaign (worthy as it is) is dubious.
Those organisations which take the effort to target occasional emails, even adding a request to forward it to a more relevant person, get a mark upwards in my book — although a couple or marks down if they don’t respond to my email updating their database.
Companies who never attempt any filtering of the mailing lists they get from PR mailing list distributors are not only stupid, but spammers.
* Dealing with PR agencies is an occupational requirement in my line of work, and they’re extremely variable. Often, they don’t know how to deal with us, because we’re an industry paper with a public presence and they’re geared up to deal with 100% consumer press.
There are some PR agencies whose reputation precedes them. If I suggest a particular show or interviewee to cover, some will elicit the response, “oh, good luck — _<name>_ is handling the PR”. And yet, they still get a lot of work. It’s so infuriating.
I have met some good PR people in my time; special praise is due for the people who’ve taken a punt on something we may be interested in, have been politely knocked back and then returned with something we definitely would be interested in. The sign that you have listened and taken the feedback into account is always appreciated. Sadly (and I suspect every industry probably feels this) such people are a rare breed.