Monday, October 09, 2006

Advertorials on MacMinute?

Maybe it's due to the time I spent at a self-respecting news publisher, but somehow I just can't stand ads disguised as news. If I go to a reliable news source such as MacMinute, I do that because I trust its editors to decide for me what's news and what's not.

What's not news (like the release of an unimportant product) is very often something that some company would very much like to be news. So much so that they would pay a news source to make it so. And if a news source accepts such payments, there goes its credibility.

If you want to make the news, do something newsworthy. If you can't, buy an ad. And if you're a news publisher, please don't sell your headlines. Your readers will hate you for that. Just sell ads, and make sure they can't be confused with news.

In the news: Wirelessly Control iPod with the Belkin SportCommand! Now, as a general rule, if it tells me to do something, it ain't news. It tends to be something else.

It doesn't get much better when you click on it:

"The new iPod carrier features weather-resistant durability, and is perfect for outdoor activities, such as snowboarding, mountain biking, and hiking, notes the company."
So now it's also perfect. Thanks for the heads-up, MacMinute. What next? This just in: Refinance your mortgage!

I'm going to give MacMinute the benefit of the doubt here. It may be just some oversight or laziness from the part of the editor of the day. MacMinute might have posted Belkin's press release verbatim just because they had no time or energy to reword it.

But still, it looks bad. Now I don't know why Belkin's product is mentioned on MacMinute: Did its editors find the product important enough to grant it a headline, or did Belkin pay for the exposure? Re-publishing press releases certainly makes one lean toward the latter explanation.

No comments: