It helps to think laterally before you start posting critiques on audio forums. I say this because an issue that's been bugging me lately is that a number of people have posted comments on forums stating that the news items published in Australian Hi-Fi Magazine and on our website are just 'verbatim copies of press releases' because they have read exactly the same story on the manufacturer's website, or on the website of a local distributor for the particular product.
It bugs me because that's not the case at all.
Sure, many of the news items have their origins in press releases and some do use excerpts from press releases, but in all cases, Australian Hi-Fi's news items are written in-house, certainly using information from a press release, but also with information gleaned from independent research.
'So why is it that the same story that appears on Australian Hi-Fi Magazine appears elsewhere, usually word-for-word?' you ask. There's a really simple answer: Those sites are copying from us, knowingly, or unknowingly.
Let's look at those who do it knowingly. Dozens of sites are run by just one person trying to make money by selling advertisements on that site. There's no way one person can single-handedly provide all the content they need to attract clicks, so they steal the content from other sites, including ours. They know it's illegal, but they figure they'll probably get away with it.
As for the sites that do it unknowingly, you may not know that the overwhelming majority of manufacturers and distributors do not have internal public relations people, nor do they employ external agencies. What these companies do is send magazines such as ourselves a photo and a spec sheet, a few bullet-points and a sentence or two about whatever it is they're trying to promote. They then wait for a news story to appear, after which they have a professionally-written piece that's cost them nothing at all. Fair enough... at least so far.
But here's where the unfairness creeps in. The company then re-issues that news story as a 'press release' to other websites and magazines which quite naturally assume that because it has 'Press Release' written at the top, and it came direct from the manufacturer/distributor, they're free to publish it... so that's exactly what they do... word for word.
How do I know this? Basically because it happens to me so often: Having written an original news piece I then find my story all over the internet, as well as on the manufacturer/distributor's website as a 'press release'.
So before you accuse anyone of re-printing press releases please bear in mind that the person you're accusing may very well be the author of that self-same release.
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