Chapell & Associates

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Big Picture

Earlier this week the NY Times published an Op Ed that discussed the hazards of archived, and out of date news stories appear in search engine rankings. (Thank to Kevin Ryan for sharing)

Apparently, the issue is that newspapers sometimes print things that, upon further reflection, or additional evidence, turn out to be incorrect or untrue. While most newspapers print a retraction if their initial article turns out to be incorrect, that initial article often remains available on their site as well. Moreover, it's usually accessible via a search engine. So, if you happen to receive some negative press, and it ultimately turns out to be incorrect, that initial story could follow you around for years to come.

I don't think this is anything new, btw.

I thought that Danny Sullivan said it well, here.

If an article is factually incorrect, then correct it. If the article is about someone with a negative connotation, then a later article comes out updating the story, link prominently from the top of the negative article to the latest version of a story. It's called online journalism in the 2000s.

FWIW, here' my take...

I did an interview for a trade mag a few months ago and the reporter quoted me as saying something that came off as completely idiotic in many circles. Btw, he didn’t just misunderstand me. I was 100% clear that my position was the exact opposite, and for some reason, (e.g., it made his story better) the reporter essentially made up a quote and attributed it to me. I looked like a fool, and got a bunch of WTF emails from the privacy crowd. I got the publication to change the story, and make a small comment at the bottom announcing their error, but the damage had been done as an email had already gone out with the original article…

Not the end of the world, but a pain in the arse, nonetheless…. But I'm not going to sweat one bad article. Why?

As more companies such as and ZoomInfo collect information on me - some of that information is going to be incorrect. That’s just the way it is, unless I want to spend half my day trying to get them to update. Given that there are so many sites, search engines, social networks, not to mention lazy journalists, there is not much I can do about it. Just not enough hours in the day.

What I have to hope for, is that the totality of the information out there is complete enough to create a reasonably accurate portrait of me when its all said and done. If you search for “Alan Chapell” you might find a link to an investigation conducted by the NY AG’s office where my name comes up. But you’ll also find my name linked to some thoughtful articles, best practice standards and other very important programs that are helping our industry. And you may even find some really cool MP3’s from my band.

Most people I respect will look at the big picture – and I think that’s all one can hope for these days….

Labels: ,

posted by Alan on Wednesday, August 29, 2007

© 2005 by Alan Chapell & Associates LLC