Flutterby™! : product placements and journalism

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product placements and journalism

2004-01-06 00:44:12.880018+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

I'm getting a little sick of "straw man" arguments in advertising masquerading as mainstream journalism. Normally it's assorted right-wing propaganda, but today's example is tech journalism, which is probably an oxymoron. The title at /. reads "Better Search Results Than Google?". The AP article is obviously thinly stapled together from bad press releases. Notably, it offers this example of searches gone awry:

Let's say, for example, you're curious about accommodations in France and enter a search for "Paris Hilton."

Google recognizes this as a search in the category of "Regional-Europe-Travel and Tourism-Lodging-Hotels" but still produces page after page with links about celebrity socialite Paris Hilton and her exploits. That's because Google's engine ranks pages largely based on how many other sites link to them, sending the most popular pages to the top.

Cute anecdote. But if you search for "Hilton Paris France" the results seem perfectly reasonable to me. The technologies quoted are cool, but a little poking around Vivismo shows that as a search engine they're... not yet ready for prime time. So the question I have is: Who did Vivisimo have to blow to get placement in a CNN article?

[ related topics: Quotes Interactive Drama Consumerism and advertising Journalism and Media Television Net Culture Machinery ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: product placements and journalism made: 2004-01-06 14:39:58.697802+00 by: aiworks

There's a way to bring this back to some of the discussion about why people expect slick glossy packets and neck ties (maybe another day).

I've been going through the process of learning the ups and downs of getting real media exposure. I'd be willing to bet that in this case, Vivisimo found someone not so technical inside of AP (which is a shoe string operation to start with) who had a deadline and provided a story. The fact that the gist of the article is "Google sucks" is all the better because a reporter knows what both those words mean and Google has become such a household phenom.

My experience so far with the press industry is that press relations is really marketing to reporters; this includes playing the same marginal return game (.1%-3%) that you expect in many traditional marketing intiatives.

#Comment Re: product placements and journalism made: 2004-01-06 17:27:51.830173+00 by: Dan Lyke

I think I've told too many times my experience under the tutelage of Rich Bailey when Mike and I were working on publicising Chattanooga On-Line. Several times I had the "no, wait, the reporter's going to be offended if we hand them the script for the interview, right?" experience, 'til I realized that they're just looking for the easiest way to come back with a story.

So, yeah, your theory sounds right.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-01-13 23:15:45.132283+00 by: Dan Lyke

The Vivisimo folks, obviously not reading too much of the content of what they're using for an email list (or just hoping that I'll comment in some way and give 'em free links), just sent me spam suggesting I try their new clustering service at Clusty.com. Which appears to be down.

But in poking around a bit more at Vivisimo I've realized that I don't want more of a point-and-click interface to things, I want more of a command line interface, and it's easier for me to add "France" to my query than it is to find and click on the line which may be labeled "tourism" or may be labeled "lodging" or "hotels" or...