Multiple Wrongs

It feels so wrong that this article has been written by Ryan McCarthy who himself was Business Editor at The Huffington Post till recently.

Business Insider, over-aggregation, and the mad grab for traffic

Take this article, for example, which employs one of the site’s characteristically amusing headlines “IT’S OFFICIAL: The Recession Has Created A New Lost Generation.” The piece was, as of this morning, posted prominently near the top of Business Insider’s home page, but it’s a flat-out rehash of a strong piece by the AP. So far, Business Insider’s piece has attracted 4,600 views, per their stats.
The AP summarizes new Census data, which can be found here, talks to economists and provides very valuable analysis of what this new data says about our economy. Very little of this is readily apparent from the Census news releases, by the way. The AP reporter, Hope Yen, did the hard journalistic work of sussing out these figures.
What does Business Insider’s piece offer? By my count, the piece reprints seven datapoints from the AP’s article. It offers one link to the AP’s piece, and no link to the Census department’s latest release. Nor does it offer any original analysis, context or information It does, however, link to a Business Insider slideshow of “19 scary facts about getting a job in this economy” at the bottom of the page. I have no real idea if Business Insider pays for AP content — I can only assume that if it did they’d simply cut and paste the entire AP article onto their site.

And then the respectable Marco Arment of Instapaper fame whose whole business is based on scraping and republication writes this:

A Business Insider retrospective

Why wouldn’t I want to be associated with Business Insider? It has nearly everything that offends me as a web reader and writer: linkbait headlines, more ads than content, more sharing buttons than original words, top-list “slideshows” that make readers click for every item and defraud advertisers into thinking that their pageviews are legitimate, Tynt messing with copy and paste, Vibrant Media’s double-green-underline ads, generic images slapped next to each post (often poorly Photoshopped®), and tabloid coverage of every rumor and inflammatory non-event so they can fight all of the other tabloids for Google’s pennies.

Not to defend Business Insider but I wonder if Marco would have written this article if the 8891 hits that Marco got from Business Insider was in 100’s of thousands. BTW, here's Business Insider's response to Marco.