Hey there guys. First of all, if you haven’t already, I’d suggest reading THIS POST before reading this one so that you understand the context. In short, Variety has been caught several times getting stories from other websites that broke them, reported on the story then themselves and have never acknowledged where they got the story from let alone provided a link back to the originating source. These are common practices for websites to engage in. As a result, many of the major online movies sites have decided to stop linking to, and in some cases crediting Variety until they start doing the same. I agree.
Now, I’m posting this follow up because of some common objections I’ve seen popping up, and I thought instead of just posting these in the comments area and have to answer the same questions 50 times (seriously folks… read through comments to see if a question you have has already been answered :) ), I thought I’d do this follow up post to address them and explain why I don’t consider the objections valid and decided to join with the other websites in this “action”.
Point #1: “But John, Variety isn’t like a blog. They have paid staff that go out and get stories”
True… but totally irrelevant. Do you not think that ComingSoon has paid staff? CHUD? Collider? IESB? Many many movies news sites have paid staffs that they fly out to cover junkets, roundtable interviews and to break stories. Yes, Variety is bigger… but the principle is the same. Being “bigger” doesn’t pardon you from acting with common sense.
Point #2: “But John, don’t you think other websites have done the same thing to Variety before?”
Absolutely. But all movie websites are not 1 entity. Collider has NEVER taken a story from Variety in the past without credit. Nor has CHUD, nor has IESB etc. etc. And TRUST ME… the online community does discuss this when other sites do the same thing (just see this post by Devin at CHUD. I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says in the article, but it shows you that this is not only something the online community deals with when it’s Variety.)
Point #3: “But John, Variety gets most of the stories out there. Shouldn’t they be given some special treatment for that?”
NO! The fact that they are the biggest only makes it more important that they CREDIT WHERE THEY GOT STORIES FROM if it didn’t just originate with themselves. ALSO… have you ever heard of CNN? The New York Times? The USA Today? I often read on their sites stories that begin with something like this:
“KBLA in Los Angeles is reporting today that…”
Or something else along those lines. CNN will give links at times too. If they can do it… why can’t Variety?
Point #4: Times have changed, news breaks all over the place now
Variety is no longer the defacto source for all movie news anymore. Now, much of the news variety gets they get at the same time as many online sites that attend the same junkets and roundtables as they do. Many online sites talk and are in communication with the same Press Relations people that Variety communicates with and news stories now often get “broke” through online channels (wich Variety then just takes and doesn’t credit anyway). Yes, Variety is still the biggest player in the game… but if variety were to disappear over night, the movie news would still get out there… because times have changed. Don’t believe it? Go look up Variety’s circulation and subscription numbers. Hell, Robert at IESB breaks some of the biggest stuff.
Point #5: Only doing what Variety is doing
Please keep in mind that the movie sites that are taking this “action” are only doing what Variety is doing. No more, no less. Variety is finding stories through other online movie news sites, printing their own version of it, and refusing to acknowledge or give credit to where they got the story from let alone give a link. Ok. Then if that’s all the online community does back… is that not fair? In principle, Variety is saying “giving credit or links is unnecessary”, then they should have no problems with others not giving credit or links. It’s a simple principle.
In the end, this is juat a matter of Variety saying “we think things should be done this way” and then other online sites saying “Ok, then we’ll do things that way for you”.
Point #6: “But John, you don’t really expect this to accomplish anything do you?”
Anyone who understand how the web works, and the value of thousands of monthly incoming links and millions of incoming hits per month from those links would never ask that question. However… even if this fails to make Variety budge on its position, it doesn’t matter. It takes zero effort to not put in a link to variety on a story. This is just a matter of fairness. If Variety insists on being an online site that doesn’t credit or link, then other sites are completely justified in to doing the same in return. It’s not a matter of quantity, it’s a matter of principle.
Look, I certainly don’t hate Variety… as a matter of fact i didn’t really support this “action” by the sites at first. However, Variety has to act with a certain level of online decency. If someone else puts in the effort, pays the expense and breaks a news story with their work, then you acknowledge it and not pass it off as your own. This isn’t an advanced concept. This isn’t some rule we just made up… it’s just common decency and common sense.
Personally, I think Variety is just fearful of their declining readership and the emergence of the online world and refuse to do anything that might acknowledge that the world is changing around them… but that’s just my opinion.