NDAs, Embargos – and how to mess them up

Every now and then I come across something that requires an NDA or – more often – an embargo, which for my cases is a spoken promise not to disclose some news until a given date and time. The latter in my case is usually based on trust that I developed with the person/company.

These given dates are used as a PR instrument to make sure that all news about something newsworthy are getting out at a given moment. Some people/websites tend to ignore this “codex” and hit the publish button a few hours or even days early. Of course, there are cases when it’s an honest mistake based on some sort of error on either side (incorrect timezone information, etc.). Also, I realize that there will always be exclusives to certain outlets and also some sites that can get away with anything.

What I’m wondering about now is how various companies, those who we are writing about, are able to repeatedly mess up something that should actually be quite easy to accomplish; even when they work internationally. Decide on a date and time that’s not too close, let everyone involved know about it and get things going. I’m not a PR person, but is it that complicated?

In the end only one thing’s for sure: “There are no secrets, only information you don’t yet have.”