A few days after Gawker chief executive Nick Denton’s Gizmodo site landed “pretty much the biggest tech scoop ever,” according to him, gadget press and marketers gathered at Edelman’s New York offices for PaidContent’s “The State of Gadget Media” event.
The big scoop, of course, was Gizmodo acquiring the new version of the iPhone for $5,000, after it was left in a Silicon Valley Bar.
While the scoop provided “no immediate revenue benefits whatsoever,” according to Denton, he said buying the phone was, “the most incredibly cheap marketing that you can ever do,” citing coverage on the “Today” show, “The View,” and countless other shows, which led to “hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of publicity for the site.”
Gizmodo has been both “in” and “out” with Apple PR, and clearly now they’re out. When asked about that relationship, Denton said, “When you’re in you should be in and make all the use of your access. When you’re out you should take advantage and not worry about consequences. What bugs me is when people take the access and they change what they would write. They are so fearful of losing it, that they tone down the criticism.”
Arnold Kim, Founder and Senior Editor, MacRumors doesn’t have that issue. “Apple completely ignores us,” he said. “I’m outside of Apple PR.”
Scott Ard, EIC, CNET said they wouldn’t have bought the phone. “We just don’t buy stories,” he said. “There is no right or wrong to it, it’s what your audience expects of you.”
“This has been a heck of a lot of fun to watch, and not have happen to us for a change,” said Kim Titus, PR Director, Samsung.
“We try and keep things close until we’re ready to announce. The fact of the matter is, it’s getting more and more difficult every day. We probably would have handled it much the same way” as Apple, he said.
Asked if companies can “play the media,” Titus said, “we treat the online media I’d say now, even better than we treated traditional media,” in terms of access and providing review units.
Titus also said the company wants to go broader than the big publications like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. “We want to go more online. Yes, [those publications] are important, but my teenage daughter who wants a new phone is not reading those publications,” he said.
Robin Liss, President and CEO, Reviewed.com, said the site will accept non-disclosure agreements in order to receive review units in advance of a launch. However, she added, “If you are going to work with some companies, you can’t let the amount of interaction you have with their PR department affect your editorial.”