There are times when using old technology can reveal new truths. About a month ago, writing in Mac360, I revealed how an RSS newsreader can show how many technology websites simply regurgitate the same news, rumors, and opinions.
An RSS reader gives you quick access to website articles that come to your Mac, iPhone, or iPad so you don’t have to worry about bookmarks because you can search through hundreds of articles in minutes to find and save the ones you want to read.
That hasn’t changed. But a list of a few dozen RSS subscriptions gave me some insight into how much regurgitation is going on. The trend toward copycat journalism is distinct when you see it from the perspective of an RSS reader.
Headlines, summaries, and articles come to your Mac. You don’t have to go looking. One app, one interface, dozens of websites, many hundreds of articles. Every day. Regurgitation to the nth degree. Same old, same old, and on different websites, one after the other.
This past weekend I needed to catch up on my RSS list in News Explorer on my iPad. That means strolling through a few thousand articles from dozens of websites. What I saw this weekend is what I’ve been seeing for weeks.
Regurgitation. The same news and rumors are passed off on each website so what you read on one will show up on two, three, six or seven other websites. What you read on 9to5Mac often shows up on Cult of Mac which can be found on Apple Insider, Macworld, TechCrunch, Computerworld, PCMag and PCWorld, Mashable and many others.
Guess what else I noticed more recently in my RSS feeds, thanks to my RSS reader and a long and growing list of unread articles?
Advertising disguised as news. Articles disguised as special deals. Articles that sell vs. articles that inform. Nearly every major Apple-oriented, Mac-oriented, and technology gadget oriented website features so-called articles or special deals (often disguised as an article) that help the website regain some of the revenue that was lost thanks to ad blockers, lowered advertising rates, and lowered advertising click-through rates; all of which combine to reduce or eliminate profitability for such sites.
There is a reason why Business Insider has so little actual business information. The site needs page views and eyeballs and headlines like these bring in more revenue.
- My husband and I tried the Whole30 diet– and it wreaked havoc on our grocery bill
- Trump seemed to place part of the blame for school shootings on violent video games and movies
- The best vacation destination, based on your personality type
- 30 home decorations no one over 30 should own
- Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir never repeated an outfit at the Olympics
- Joanna Gaines proves she’s dominating maternity style as she shows off her baby bump
Major Apple-oriented, Mac-oriented, and technology gadget-oriented websites now have two things in common. The first is regurgitated content. The second is articles and posts and content that sells something.
Business Insider is a digital drug store of link bait with an astounding array of content that has nothing to do with business.
You may not have noticed that trend toward gadget sales that pose as articles because such content is not as pervasive on websites as regurgitated news and rumors. But by scouring through many websites and their RSS feeds in a newsreader, it becomes crystal clear. Content is regurgitated ad nauseam and what isn’t has increasingly become sales fodder to help prop up sagging revenues.
RSS and news readers might be old technology but it can be revealing. As a Brooklyn native, few Yogi Berra-isms came to mind.
It’s like deja-vu all over again.
The future ain’t what it used to be.
You can observe a lot by watching.
Ain’t it the truth?