Friday, April 15, 2011

Rant: Do the aggregators even read what they aggregate?

A few days ago the AP got caught picking up a story that said that General Electric would repay a $3.2 billion tax refund – the story which picked up from another source was, of course, a hoax.

This morning I opened an email to find a story about a "recent" study of tablet and eReader users which asked "Are publishers paying attention to what consumers want from iPad magazines and newspapers?"

I received the same study and think its findings are of value. But, in the end, there was no way that I was going to do a post about a study that was conducted last September, a mere five months after the iPad was first introduced, and now read five months after the data was collected. At that time there were, at most, six million iPads in circulation. Since then another ten million original iPad have been sold, the iPad 2 introduced, and new tablets from Samsung and Motorola brought out, as well. That doesn't make the study worthless, it simply makes the findings old.

(As an example, the story quotes the author of the study as saying that "as many as" 15 million more tablets and eReaders will be sold in 2011. Yesterday Mobile Burn reported that Apple is now expected to exceed its original sales estimate for 2011 by 15 million units, selling "between 40 million and 45 million pads throughout 2011.")

There is no need to go on about the story. But that it was passed on in such a manner is what makes matter worse. Even a cursory review of the story would have led to the tablet sales quote and the sure sign that the information was outdated. But that is the nature of much of the aggregation that goes on, and its advocates continue to insist that this is the future. God, I hope not.