Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Paid For By Tsiolkovsky Industrial Designs, Inc.

There's something wrong over at the Herald, in my opinion. There has been three entire articles devoted to advertising. Two with actual ads, and the most recent being one detailing the exact cost of running an ad article.

I understand that it is costly running a blog and that it isn't a charity. But couldn't we hold it to banner ads, please?

One of the reasons I used to somewhat enjoy reading the Herald is the information content it used to provide. I used to always go there and KNOW what was happening. Sure, some articles would be Prok flying off the handle, but at least Prok managed to keep his articles relevant and left the insane rantings on his personal site. On the whole, it seemed like an actual newspaper.

The articles were more interesting than dryer reads at the Insider and less oblivious to reality than New World Notes (home of the infamous 'only 5% of SL is about sex'. HA). It's also free and has no subscription, and doesn't require me to log into SL or download bulky PDFs. Like the Avastar. Back copies are free, but usually out of date. Plus, I read the 'interview' with Marc Bragg, which made me vomit. Bragg paints himself to be a saint wrongfully deprived of his SL property. Yeah, and I'm sure Genghis Khan was just road tripping his way across Europe and Asia.

The interview was so powderpuff, so sugar coated. There were additional columns on the 'ethics' of the matter. What ethics? Bragg turned around and used an exploit to essentially steal land. Where is the debate? Am I missing something here? Anyways, the interview was so sterilized I could hear Bragg's laughs in my house. Honestly. He lies directly to their faces about what he did and the morals and ethics behind his actions, and the reporter just swallows it all, never deviating from the script it seems. When asked if he thought his actions were morally wrong, he says no. I'd follow up with "Okay, since griefing isn't stealing, murder, or lying does that make it okay for me to lag up your sim with lulz cubes and ninja turtles?" among other things.

If I had a chance to interview anyone, not just Bragg but really anyone, I'd make sure to make the interviewee uncomfortable. Because we don't the crap you've been spouting all along. We've all heard the same old, same old. We want the details, the things you're trying to hide. I'm interviewing you because there are open questions that are difficult to answer and I want answers. I don't believe this is an interview. I believe this is more like a free Bragg advertisement. He comes, does a few speeches, and suddenly we're all supposed to think 'that horrid horrid Linden Labs'. Not that I think LL is blameless, but doesn't anyone think we should just take a closer look at Bragg before we all embrace him as the next coming of Christ?

So, in a nutshell, that's why I hate the Avastar. Back on topic.

I used to read the Herald because of what it offered that the aforementioned others did not. It had interviews that, while not as harsh as I might have liked, weren't the candy coated cellulite that others tried to pass off on us. In short, it had news.

And then we get to today.

From the current (as of Oct 23 2007, at 6 pm) front page, we have from bottom to top:

-a 'sports' post on an avatar whose user died

-a poem

-an ad for Octoberville

-Post 6

-Jimbo's 'Presidential' campaign

-News that Light Waves is Starax

-News that Orientation Islands are inescapable

-Jimbo discovers the inflatable breast fetish

-Editorial on fanatic fans and free stuff that will likely be slapped with a lawsuit

-Ad for a charity

-Editorial on SL drama

-Blatant Ad

-Post 6

-News on Ginko

-Stupid Comment Awards (in more ways than one)

-Complaint that the writer can't use the survey provided

-Blatant ad

-Blatant ad

-Ad for selling Blatant ads.

Let's total. Of the past 19 posts from October 10th to October 22nd, we have:

Five ads.
One ad for a charity.
Two Post 6 porn articles.
One poem.
Three entertainment 'Jimbo' type articles.
Three editorials.
One personal post (for sports?)
And three actual news articles.

3/19 is 15.79%. Over the last twelve days, almost two weeks, only sixteen percent of the articles have been on actual news. I'll be generous: Let's assume maybe this week is an anomaly, and the actual figure is twice that. In which case, only 32% of the content is actual news. The rest is editorials, post 6 'interviews' (arrrggggh, makes my teeth stand on edge), a bunch of ads, and Jimbo.

The Second Life Herald just doesn't attempt to report or investigate anymore, it seems. Was it really that large of an expose that Light Waves is Starax? Wasn't that already revealed, I dunno, a few months earlier? And known even before that, to his close friends and sponsors? Using that example, I can 'report' on my blog here that CSI is coming to SL and that Plastic Duck has been banned and SL Version 1.05 was released... years ago! Breaking News!

I think the most telling statistic is the times I have checked the Herald. A few months ago, it used to be the first SL blog I turned to. Now, I usually read the Official SL blog and after that log in and talk to friends and people inworld. I usually check the Herald nowadays every few weeks or so. It's just not worth my time anymore, the gems are becoming increasingly rare. Jimbo isn't that funny to keep me coming back. The Editorials are increasingly on inane things (LOL FAN FICTION IN SL? I NEVER KNEW!) and less on anything relevant or edgy today. Ads are for sale for an entire article!

Let's do a thought experiment: what would you think if Action News offered to sell ads within their own show? Not just commercials, something along the lines of "Today, a fire broke out at Market and Broad; but you can still buy Sony Blu-ray players for low low prices at Walmart!". Chances are, you'd get angry, you'd feel your news was compromised by commercialization. Ads have their time and their place. Front page news isn't their place.

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