How The Business Press Pissed Over Autodesk’s Embargo

So what do you do when you get the press and bloggers to agree to an embargo on a big news item and then one of them stands up and pissed all over it? Well, if you are Autodesk, you simply let everyone else stand up start pissing all over it as well. This is precisely what happened with Autodesk’s AutoCAD for Mac announcement today.

As it turns out, Autodesk had put an embargo on the press release announcing AutoCAD for Mac with a date of 31st August 8 am EDT. I wasn’t one of the unfortunate few who was embargoed. Otherwise I would have been in a different mood than the one I am in right now. However, I am getting  a pretty good idea of the mood of my fellow journalists and bloggers from the colorful language in the emails that I have been exchanging with them today.

As is normal practice, the journalists and bloggers were asked if they would be willing to agree to an embargo in exchange for early access to the announcement. As I understand it, the whole point of an embargo is to give people the information ahead of time so that they can write their stuff up and be ready to post it the moment the embargo expires. The idea is to be fair to everyone. At least that’s what the PR people tell me. So as it turns out, the press and bloggers were told that they would get the news and a copy of the press release three hours before it went public.

But that didn’t happen. Why? Because one of the big business publications went public with the news a full twelve hours before the embargo ended. And what’s more? They quoted the Autodesk press release, which wasn’t supposed to go out to the press for another nine hours or so. After that happened Autodesk PR then sent the press release to everyone apologizing that the news was made public ahead of time.

From a Twitter conversation I just had with Noah Cole of Autodesk, I learned that the big business publications got the news a day earlier than the CAD press and bloggers due to their production schedules, which is understandable. What is not understandable is how a well respected business publication cannot understand the meaning of the word embargo.

I did a quick check on Google News and got this.

The Financial Times news item is the oldest – “16 hours ago”. The others (The New York Times, Apple Insider, Yahoo!, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, etc.) are all sitting at “14 hours ago”. So Google is suggesting that the Financial Times pissed first. And then I suppose Autodesk invited every one else to take part in the proceedings.

  • Curt Moreno

    It seems that the days of embargoes being respected has long since passed. I don't know about other industries but it seems that this is a very typical situation in the gaming press. Oddly enough, in the gaming press the break in embargo more often than not seems to come from European press.

    It's a shame really because the practice just erodes the trust and cooperation on all fronts.

    – KFD –

  • This instance makes me think of the times when Bloggers are referred to as being Unprofessional. Ignoring an embargo is also unprofessional isn't it?

  • I would not blame too much on the newspaper industry on this. Basically there are squeezed by web (google news?) and caught in the recession (cut of advertising budget of many firms). Famous newspapers like WSJ or NY Times are now counting on iPad for revival. Ironically iPad is the platform AutoCAD going to support.

  • I suspect the FT and the NYT had full blessings from AutoDesk to break the embargo. Look at all the extra lines of blog space you have devoted to it. They are getting a nice boost in coverage by agitating those that honored the embargo. Very smart move on AutoDesk’s part. Besides it is a reminder to many in the CAD space that AutoDesk is a big boy and gets coverage in the big boy press.

  • Yeah, we are all now expecting that FT and NYT does an in-depth review of AutoCAD for Mac. 😉

  • Thats a great story, nice the way you used Google to see who pissed first! lol