How to filter out press releases from your email

If you get too many press releases emailed to you, try Merlin Mann's trick of creating a filter that diverts or deletes emails containing the string "For Immediate Release." I just found 11,000 messages in my mail with that string in it.

Merlin also shares a few other useful "Guerrilla Office Tactics" on his blog, 43 Folders. Link


  1. I’ve never understood “For Immediate Release.” If you don’t want them to release it, why are you sending them the press release in the first place? If you want to embargo it, put an embargo notice on top. Otherwise save the poor pixels.

  2. Press releases are full of odd stylistic customs, including the “for immediate release” and putting “###” at the end. I don’t really understand it, but all of the major pr companies do this sort of thing, and I have to clean them up and make them resemble normal communication as part of my job.

  3. Andythebrit is right on about “for immediate release” being redundant verbiage.

    Also, “press release” is an outdated term. TV and radio stations, blogs, etc. do not operate printing presses. Call it a news release.

    Assuming you do receive some releases of value, just filter out specific senders. A PR rep who will send you one inappropriate release will send you 100 given enough time.

    My current problem is a group of Chinese factory owners who have become convinced my blog is a toy company. They keep sending me pitches to manufacture products, oblivious to the fact that every reference to China on my blog has been negative.

  4. “For Immediate Release” is an artifact of the long era in which publications would hold back stories until a certain date at the behest of PR folks so that all of the press about a new product could be made to coincide with the actual release of that product. Some press releases were marked “for immediate release,” while others were marked “please hold until [date].” The interwebs have rendered this practice obsolete….

  5. Last year, I had to stop press releases from being sent via a contact form on a website I used to administer. I used the string “for immediate release” and that stopped 100% of them.

    So yes, it’s outmoded, but helpful for this purpose. -)

  6. OK, that’s how to stop them. Now, please tell me how to stop the ones I don’t want — like my job requires me to read everything related to education, training and career guidance that comes out of government (UK) and all those quasi-government organisations. I don’t however, need to have the publishers of careers guidance materials telling me about their new book or training providers saying how wonderful their new course is.
    Actually I think I’m beginning to get it sussed — since a lot of the government departments now use RSS so I can pull what I want and ditch the rest!

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