Just be glad this guy isn’t a banker

The New York Post has an incredible review today of a Trust Me, I’m Lying, a book by an unscrupulous  pr man who uses social media to manipulate the press.  This is a must-read for journalists. Some of the ploys will feel familiar to anyone who has dealt regularly with public relations reps — both the good and the bad. But the story of Ryan Holiday is uniquely creepy, especially  his manipulation of the blogosphere and social media. Holiday preys on journalists who are either too  lazy, overwhelmed, inexperienced, or too anxious to win readers to catch his scams. Reviewer Larry Getlen writes:

Websites make their money by selling ads that are evaluated by the number of pageviews they receive, putting bloggers under constant pressure to produce as many clickable posts as possible. …

Given this environment, Holiday says that spreading one’s own agenda can be as easy as sending carefully tailored e-mails from a fake address or via some other false pretense, techniques that Holiday has used frequently.

Once, when he wanted certain legal information about American Apparel widely circulated, he alerted several bloggers, who responded with a collective yawn. So he wrote a fake internal memo and e-mailed those same bloggers posing as a low-level company employee, with the note: “memo we’d just gotten from our boss.” The same blogs that rejected the official news, he says, now covered it with a big “EXCLUSIVE!” tag across the top.

The New York Post

 Can’t see anyone in this story comes out looking particularly well.

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One thought on “Just be glad this guy isn’t a banker

  1. Ryan Holiday emailed me earlier today with this comment on the blog and gave me permission to share it with readers. Illuminating:

    It’s funny you said that, because it’s precisely why I wrote the book.
    I realize that if people like me could do what I did to see innocent
    things like books and t-shirts (which I felt were quality products)
    than what could people with billions of dollars or REAL power at stake
    do? What would they be willing to do to get and keep those things? I
    dug way into the history of it and what I saw was not pretty.

    I’m not trying to profit from this, I’m trying to expose it.

    I responded asking what he planned to do with the profits from the book. His response:

    Anyway, no one gets into writing books to be rich. My view is that
    whatever I end up making on this book will just barely make up for the
    many years of income I gave up when I exposed all my trade secrets and
    tricks

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