Press releases are not spam


letterbox-roy_parkhousePR agencies and journalists alike have been screaming blue murder the past few days over the perceived consequences of the new anti-spam law. Laurens Verhagen of, the website known for never writing its own stories if it can help it, whines (Dutch) that “an unintended side-effect is that PR agencies are no longer allowed to send press releases.”

Other journalists cheer on the new law.’s Ernst-Jan Pfauth hails the death of the press release (Dutch): “Press release are old-fashioned, unnecessary and often misused.”

But as the here-often-quoted Internet law specialist Arnoud Engelfriet explains at De Nieuwe Reporter, the law has a provision for e-mail addresses that have been explicitly designed for receiving bulk mails. Also, the spam prohibition only pertains to advertising, informative e-mails are not part of the law.

That means that from now on only advertisements dressed up as press releases are out, but I cannot imagine that even Laurens Verhagen would bemoan such an intended consequence.

A tempest in a teapot.

(Photo of a letterbox by Roy Parkhouse, some rights reserved.)

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