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Gawker Ogles Search Insider

Talk about a slow news day… Gawker (surprisingly) cites my latest Search Insider column on how to cautiously engage in online marketing in the event of a tragedy and (not surprisingly) gets it ALL wrong.

I’m really amused by it — I couldn’t stop laughing for awhile after former iCrossing colleague Rob Petrausch sent me the link (and others soon followed). Yet, I can’t resist setting the record straight. Here is an (incomplete) list of all errors in their coverage:

1) Gawker calls me a "marketing flack." I’m actually a "strategic planning flack." Come on, it says it right at the bottom of the column. Or did they not read that far down?

2) Gawker says I "offer guidance on squeezing dollars from death." The article actually includes more ways for advertisers to protect themselves from being associated with capitalizing on tragedy. I do mention, though, that sometimes consumers want to cash in, and when they do, it’s alright to let them know your doors are open.

3) Gawker notes, "Berkowitz goes on to cite several cases of high-dollar Lidle merch for sale immediately post-crash." Yes, but it’s all from one quote in Newsday. Gawker doesn’t even mention the original source. I even go so far as to mention the person, college buddy Ross Wolfson, who sent the original source my way. And Gawker prides itself on critiquing the media?

4) Gawker says, "…Berkowitz faults outlets like eBay for insufficient enthusiasm when cashing in on Lidle’s death, dismissing their Lidle ads as ‘too generic.’" I cited the generic eBay ads examples of how not to run a marketing campaign. The point is eBay should have shut off its campaign for terms associated with the ballplayer right after the plane crash. Google, it seems, took the liberty of shutting off eBay’s ads, but the ads ran on other engines.

5) Gawker: "He tries very hard to coin the phrase ‘ghoulish boom’ for this effect…" Again, I’m quoting Newsday. I like the phrase though. I almost used it in the headline, but it didn’t quite fit, precisely because I wasn’t writing about a ghoulish boom, but rather how to cautiously run marketing in the event of well publicized tragedies. If, down the road, somehow I’m credited with inventing the phrase, I’ll gladly take credit for it. It has this beautiful assonance to it.

6) Gawker links to the column on the site that generally requires readers to register. Yet you can read it freely on the MediaPost blog.

I’m sure there are other errors too. The only thing that annoys me in the Gawker post is that it links my name to the Son of Sam entry in Wikipedia, which is hardly original. At some point, I’d love to build out some online content on my namesake, David Berkowitz, who, with my grandmom Esther, suffered through countless hardships in escaping the Holocaust and struggling in post-war Germany to bring his family to the United States, where they in many ways lived out their dreams, even after coming here with nothing. In the meantime, I don’t need content on that notorious David Berkowitz gaining any more link juice from Google and ranking even higher. That’s a story, a rant, and a project for another day.

In the meantime, Gawker, thanks for reading; misrepresent me anytime.

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Comments to: Gawker Ogles Search Insider
  • Avatar
    October 18, 2006

    Dude they done you wrong…seven ways to Sunday. Hey, look at the bright side: you’re not really famous until they misquote you–or catch you without makeup(wait, that’s just for Pam Anderson).
    You gotta write an article on this, too.
    On another note: fabulous seeing you at NoahUp last night. Thrilled at all your amazing news (Gawker notwithstanding).

  • Avatar
    October 18, 2006

    Excellent perspective, CK.
    David: I agree…you’ve arrived when you are misquoted!

  • Avatar
    October 27, 2006

    Marketing flack? How dare they!


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