It is quite possible that you missed last week’s real news, with a plethora of email related headlines on subjects that ‘might be news’ sometime next month or next year. Unfortunately it seems it is becoming easier and easier to manipulate the mainstream press into publishing what is literally not much more than complete drivel. No fact check, not even a sanity check at times. This last week in email seems to be one of those times, with 2 non events dominating the headlines. Gmail ‘EasyReply” and the $1.1BN Purchase that might never happen. Whilst there was in fact real news to report
Litmus scored $49 Million dollars investment and LiveIntent purchased AVARI to spearhead their launch into Germany. You can read about the AVARI acquisition here: AVARI acquired by LiveIntent
Our post and exclusive interview with Paul Farnell of Litmus is available here: Litmus Accepts $49MN Investment
Whilst running emailexpert and working with limited resources, I have certainly cut corners in my attempts to get a story out, but I like to think I did a sanity check first, and there are few people I expect who hold emailexpert to the same literary standards as the WSJ or Guardian. I am not sure when exactly it became the fashion to write about ‘not quite there yet news’. It is all well and good for Google to blog about what features they may introduce, are likely to introduce and even when they might introduce them. For the mainstream press to go on to publish these blogs as fact is astounding. “Smart Reply” from Google garnered so many column inches and pixel space it is incredible, no research little thought and automatons pushing out drivel. “Smart Reply” a week later is still nowehere to be seen It seems, and essentially a rather dumbed down version of Googles (fictitous) “Auto Pilot” from 2011.
Time.com confidently told us it would be November the 5th, WIRED talked about a Wednesday the 4th release. With Wall Street Journal, Time, Tech Crunch, The Guardian, Huffington Post & Science Times all reporting the release you would think at least one journalist had seen the beta in the wild, been there and interacted at a demo. No, it seems reading a blog post was all that was required a little opinion and conjecture wall that was required to declare what may yet turn out to be pure fiction into a news piece. What have our journalists turned into? Regurgitating company blog posts as news, not prepared to wait for a press release, and no need to wait for an actual release, no need to verify facts even after the company pulled a hoax on the very same subject previously.
Then there was the 1.1BN headlines to bamboozle and time to deflect tough questions possibly, with Q3 shareholders discussions due, they were likely to be on the cards. An offer from a company already 1 BN in debt timed almost to perfection if your intention was to avoid a difficult shareholders meeting. In 48 hours we heard about the executive’s in respect of the new found freedom they would have and the fact that a sale was agreed and it would seem finalised the way it was presented. It did not take any effort at all to see the shareholders had yet to vote and quite quickly we learned that the buyer was yet to secure finance.
“Endurance buys Constant Contact for $1.1 billion”, “Endurance International Buy Constant Contact for $1.1 Billion” and “Web company Endurance in $1.1 billion deal for Constant Contact” from Wall Street Journal, Reuters and others. Who could blame anyone for believing the deal was done? Surely with articles from respected newspapers stating that the company was sold? The Boston Globe even went so far as to caption a photograph with the caption “New Constant Contact Inc. owner Hari Ravichandran, president and chief executive officer of Endurance International Group Holdings”. This despite the fact Hari is not personally purchasing anything and would never be the owner, why allow facts to get in the way of a good story.
MR Web (the world’s oldest daily Market Reports news service allegedly) was categorical in stating “Constant Contact Acquired”. Not two days after these bold statements were made by the world press Constant Contact shelved its 3rd Quarter Results Call for shareholders, stating the earlier announcement as its reason. The terminology in respect of the deal changed dramatically with reference now being to the “merger” of the two companies.
The latest press release indicated that Endurance have not been guaranteed the required financing for the purchase and also pointed out there was still the opportunity for alternative bidders to enter the fray.
The statement that was released on Thursday outlined the fact no assurances could be given about the earlier press release of that week, which the worlds press was so happy to report as fact. Going on to say that shareholders had yet to vote on the issues and finished stating “If the transaction is consummated, Constant Contact’s stockholders will cease to have any equity interest in Constant Contact and will have no right to participate in its earnings and future growth. Neither Endurance nor Constant Contact assume any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this document as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.”
We will try here to uphold some semblance of journalistic principle, when once it was blogs derided for their poor standards, ethics and lack of process, maybe we will see the shoe on the other foot.