We’re updating our policies toward guest posts on Gigaom. Here’s why

At Gigaom, we consider ourselves part of the broader tech community, and are very aware that we don’t have all the answers or insights as to the future of this amazing industry. However, we are even more aware that editorial voices are vastly outnumbered by public-relations professionals, many of whom have a misunderstanding (likely willful) when it comes to the difference between advertorial and guest posts.

With that in mind, I’m announcing some changes regarding our guest post policies. The actual details are a little more nuanced than you might have read in the PR gossip rags (the irony here is kind of killing me), so please take note.

First off, a word on why we publish guest posts. I’ve always been a big fan of the tongue-in-cheek explanation Techcrunch gives — “we don’t want to work on the weekends” — but obviously there’s more to it than that. Our editorial product is a richer one when we incorporate the strong voices of leading engineers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, designers, product managers, and the rest of the people that make Silicon Valley what it is today.

But increasingly, those voices have lost most of their authenticity. Believe it or not, the more money that flows into tech, the more corporate, promotional, and soulless those voices have become, filtered through layers of PR and marketing review and revision. Wading through the endless off-topic pitches in our [email protected] email inbox is a chore I’m loath to ask any self-respecting editorial person to do anymore; sure, you can throw out the obvious SEO scams, but the deluge of PR-submitted guest posts (most of which are clearly ghost authored) we receive each week forces us to wade through considerable muck in order to find the very small number of gems.

So we’re simply no longer going to do that. Starting Monday June 2nd, 2014, Gigaom no longer accepts unsolicited guest-post pitches from PR agencies or corporate PR departments. We’re not going to reply to them, so please don’t send them.

However, we are not shuttering our guest post program. Here are the types of guest posts we’ll publish in the future:

Solicited guest posts: Our writers have been asked to be on the lookout for people they respect who might want to author a guest post. Laura Owen (our news editor) and myself will be happy to work with anyone recommended by our writers as a possible guest post candidate, as well as their PR departments.

Speaker guest posts: The people we invite to participate on stage in our various events are by definition people we respect and admire. We will be happy to consider guest posts from those folks in advance of our events, and are quite willing to work with their PR representatives.

Authors already accepted for guest-post publication: If you have written a guest post for Gigaom before, it’s because we thought you were interesting. If you’re one of those authors or you represent one of those authors, make sure to include a link to that post in your new pitch, and we’ll be happy to consider it.

Entrepreneurs, engineers, or regular people: Bypass your PR person. Reach out to [email protected] directly with your ideas or proposals, and if you can get a Gigaom writer to vouch for you, you’ll have better luck. But please understand that we’re not going to respond to every inquiry, and it’s not necessarily because we don’t like you; it’s usually because there are so many of you.

So unless you’re a junior PR person with a pitch list, all the same advice from the last time we updated this policy still applies: pick a topic core to our coverage areas, shoot for 800ish words, and don’t send us things you’ve published elsewhere or intend to publish elsewhere (including user-submitted outlets like Medium or Tumblr). We retain the final say on the edits to any guest post, and we require you to sign an agreement that outlines our rights with respect to your contribution.

Finally, a word on sponsored content: while Gigaom does indeed run sponsored posts, that is a completely separate undertaking from our guest post program, and Gigaom’s Editorial group has absolutely nothing to do with the solicitation, writing, editing, or scheduling of sponsored posts. If you’re interested in our sponsored post program, you can find more details here.

I hope this clears up any confusion as to our policies, as I get a fair amount of email about this topic. If you have additional questions, please leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer as many as I can.