MSM Disrespect

April 11, 2007 — 2 Comments

What is this?


We got Mark Ebner’s latest entry picked up by Page Six–the online version I imagine, I don’t get the real one. And obviously that’s fantastic. But when you get over the prestige, what did Rudius and Mark Ebner really gain?

Because of the Post’s absurd practice of not linking: almost nothing. When we got an Ebner story on the front page of Digg last month, we did about 10,000 uniques. The time before that, 15-20,000. Here: hardly a spike worth mentioning.

Perhaps my perspective prevents me from understanding some sort of hidden benefits, but I doubt it. Look at the exchange of services. Page Six took Mark’s story, Mark’s sources, Mark’s lead, added a “Sean Penn did not return comment” and called it original content. In return, they granted us an unlinked, lowercase attribution to Hollywood Interrupted–and no where did they mention the man behind the site. So as far as branding goes, yes we got the title of the site on Page Six, but no name.

Which leads me to wonder, does the New York Post assume that the web is its own private wire service? That it can just pick up stories from writers–bloggers who because they write for free, couldn’t possibly demand more than the crumbs they throw at them? That even though thousands of sites link to Page 6 stories each week as inspiration for posts, they’d never have to return the favor?

Fortunately Mark Ebner is an established journalist and Rudius Media has enough foresight to see beyond simple web economics, because if they didn’t, this would be inexcusable. Think about it, if you were some regular blogger who found one of those rare, potentially viral stories and then you got scooped by the MSM, how mad would you be? Would the pittance of prestige be enough to keep you from raising hell? Maybe I’m just young, and naive, and not yet broken by this insanely backwards system, but it smells like bullshit to me.

And of course, non-msm sites know how respect and credit works:

TMZ: Sean Penn Angers Hawaiian Locals with Vacation Spot

A Socialite’s Life: Hawaiians Disappointed in Sean Penn

Ryan Holiday

I'm a strategist for bestselling authors and billion dollar brands like American Apparel, Tucker Max and Robert Greene. My work has been used as case studies by Twitter, YouTube and Google and has been written about in AdAge, the New York Times, Gawker and Fast Company.

2 responses to MSM Disrespect

  1. Actually the TMZ link is broken now. The hyperlink is still there but it points to a javascript. Good work for having it working when the story broke?

    On the MSM page, 25 seconds of waiting on a rep to pick up his phone does not justify what they did. And on a slightly grammatically obsessed note, aren’t you supposed to capitalize at least the H and I? Everything on Mark’s page is H and I. But I suppose that could give too much impetus for people to visit his site.

  2. You’re exactly right, it’s totally unethical. It’s like they enjoy the concept of citizen journalists doing their work for them but have no desire to see them receive any of the credit. That kind of inequity only last so long before someone gets pissed and does something about it.

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