Yesterday’s fake news story on BikeBiz.com was flashed as real by SGB Update, a leading email newsletter for the global sports market.
In fact, it was SGB’s top story for the first of April. Oops.
The newsletter emailed a retraction a few hours later:
“This morning’s issue of SGB UPDATE included a story entitled “General Motors Acquires Specialized Bicycle Components.” The story, which was apparently an April’s Fool Day hoax, was inadvertently picked up in our news feeds.
“After follow up this morning by our editorial team, we have determined that the story is not accurate. Specialized is not being acquired by GM.
“We apologize for any issues that this may have caused for our readers.”
Inadvertently picked up in news feeds? Bollocks. A lead news story placed in an email newsletter didn’t get there via RSS.
The “follow up” by an editorial team should have taken place before the story was nicked. It’s basic common sense to check, and basic web decency to cite where a story has been lifted from.
No doubt there were red faces at SGB yesterday because any journalist worth his or her salt would have tried to verify the story by, at the verry least, going to the Specialized and GM websites.
I’m not overly surprised a major marketing newsletter was hoodwinked, the spoof San Jose Business Journal was brilliantly executed by Fritz, but for them to blame “news feeds” and not their sloppy reporting is poor form.
In cahoots with three other bike bloggers I posted a story to BikeBiz.com last night, a couple of minutes into April 1st.
The piece was headlined ‘GM takes Specialized back into all-American ownership.’
Some may have smelled a rat but their doubts might have been squashed by the brilliant hijacking of the San Jose Business Journal by Fritz. A lot of blogs posted the ‘news’, some were incredulous, others fell for it hook, line and sinker.
The piece was forwarded to lots of industry types. I sent out a BikeBiz newsflash at 12.05am and, almost immediately, started getting ‘wow, this is big news’ emails from industry bigwigs.
Bicycleretailer.com wasn’t fooled but, deliciously, Bike Europe was. Their story has now been taken down but I can see from Google (which itself had an April 1st prank) that for a wee while it read:
Bike Europe – News: Car Maker Buys Specialized Bicycles
With Specialized General Motors intends to create: New transportation choices … Car Maker Buys Specialized Bicycles. DETROIT, USA – The world’s largest …
This spoof was cooked up by Fritz, Tim, Arleigh and myself. [UPDATE: SGB Update swallowed the bait also!]
The BBC ran the penguin spoof at the top of the site (it’s funny and must have taken a lot of CGI work) and MotorTrader of the UK tried its hand at a bicycle-related spoof (all about a new MG Rover bicycle made in China), but let itself down with the spokesperson’s name, April Furst. Puh-lease! Not that our Flora Lopi was much better.
Want to wrap your alu frame in carbon-fibre? It loses weight in the process, spoofs Bikeradar.com.
Sadly, there can be no more spoofs from Sheldon Brown but here’s one of his best, The RealMan Saddle.