Embargo What...?

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Thread: Embargo What...?

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    Embargo What...?

    Embargo What...?
    Embargo Breaking; the new trend.
    By: NSAP
    December 29, 2006


    Right now is considered the heat of the auto show season. Weíre just around the corner from seeing what are arguably the most important product launches of the year, and what happens? To spoil the suspense and surprise of the reveals, media outlets start violating embargoes that are set by companies so that the cat isnít let of the bag early. Thereís more, those who break the embargoes will likely not have any punishment.
    For those who are not savvy in how automotive journalism works, let me explain. All automotive companies give certain media outlets access to information and photographs of products they are going to release at an upcoming auto show early. There is a specific date and time on all of that information as to when it can go public. Why do they do this? Simply to allow print publications and certain websites time to get everything set up and ready to release.

    About two years ago there was a big leak on the 2005 GM Product Information Guide. At the time, GMI and many other enthusiast forums were granted embargo access. Well, about a week before the embargo was to be lifted GMís webmasters screwed up and put all the information on the GM Media website, allowing every average Joe that knew about that site to access it. Of course, they posted it anywhere they could, including GMI. In a sorry attempt to cover their rear-ends, GM Media blamed website forums like GMI for the leak. Saying we (among other forums) allowed the information to be released, and were responsible for the leak. So naturally, GM Media took embargo access away from all forums, including GMI. Along with that, they also revoked all media accounts by forum leaders from the GM Media website. Wasnít that nice of them?

    So fast-forward to right now and we have a similar situation, but this time the outcome will be different; that can almost be guaranteed. Just a short day ago Edmunds released information and photos of the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu, which was supposedly embargoed until January 2nd, since then other websites have also released the information and photos. I really donít think Edmunds is to blame here, but rather print media. Some magazines got to print early, publishing the embargoed information and letting the public have it prior to the embargo lift. This is a sorry attempt to one-up online media since magazines are slowly becoming extinct. Rightfully so, as anyone can get up to the minute updates on websites like GMI and Edmunds; all for free.

    In a nutshell, this is what Iím ranting about: GM is failing to understand that Internet is the new media, and the ďbig-dealĒ in automotive journalism. That, or they just donít really care, and the big print companies mean more than their most valuable fans/viewers. And another thing, those who have violated GMís embargoes this year will likely not loose their embargo access like forums did two years ago for something they didnít do. Strangely enough, itís the forums that always followed the embargoes more so than the larger companies, because we valued the privilege of not having to rush, rush, rush to get new product information posted when it is released on the media website to the public at midnight.


    OK, I'm done ranting.
    Last edited by nsap; 12-29-2006 at 07:04 PM.
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    Re: Embargo What...?

    I don't think anybody knows exactly where the lines are now during the end of paper and ink and the birth of pixels and postings.

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    Re: Embargo What...?

    Very good points. GM should shorten the time they give the media to ready the information, and give it to them closer to the actual release date.
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    Re: Embargo What...?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bvonscott
    Very good points. GM should shorten the time they give the media to ready the information, and give it to them closer to the actual release date.
    That they should. And if they can't follow the embargoes, they don't need it at all.
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    Re: Embargo What...?

    Nsap, you are very right. GM (or the other companies) can't really punish C/D, MT, or the other big print publications. Thats just unimaginable, since these magazines are so big. They would never ever even try to punish them, but of course it is easy to punish the little website guys. That sucks.

    It seems like that one the Car and Driver online editors wrote a letter a few days ago in response to the embargoed Lincoln vehicle. He said some pretty nasty things about websites (like LeftLaneNews, Winding Road, and Autoblog). Anyhow, this just isn't right.

    To learn more about this, listen to the Autoblog Podcast #52. BTW, nsap, you are starting to sound like John Neff (from Autoblog).
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    Re: Embargo What...?

    Well, the GMT 900s were well kept secrets. It is no suprise to me that this stuff happens. It is the nature of media to be "first" on a story and releasing privilaged information early is a great way of doing that. That said, it doesn't make it right just like government officials leaking classified information to media isn't right. There is just no way of stoping it.

    I do hope,though, that GM Media grants GMI acess to embargo info again. That's a shame.

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    Re: Embargo What...?

    Quote Originally Posted by rhvfd10
    Well, the GMT 900s were well kept secrets. It is no suprise to me that this stuff happens. It is the nature of media to be "first" on a story and releasing privilaged information early is a great way of doing that. That said, it doesn't make it right just like government officials leaking classified information to media isn't right. There is just no way of stoping it.
    Actually, they weren't either. Car And Driver released the 900 truck information in print early.
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    Re: Embargo What...?

    Quote Originally Posted by rhvfd10
    Well, the GMT 900s were well kept secrets. It is no suprise to me that this stuff happens. It is the nature of media to be "first" on a story and releasing privilaged information early is a great way of doing that. That said, it doesn't make it right just like government officials leaking classified information to media isn't right. There is just no way of stoping it.

    I do hope,though, that GM Media grants GMI acess to embargo info again. That's a shame.
    You're right. The GMT-900s were kept pretty safe (besides spy photos and such like that). BUT, in the 900s case, you have to remember that they were not unveiled during the autoshow season. They were just unveiled on a random regular day. This may have something to do with it.
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    Re: Embargo What...?

    Quote Originally Posted by nsap
    Actually, they weren't either. Car And Driver released the 900 truck information in print early.
    Really? You're probably right, I didn't touch that Car and Driver (since I am so behind in reading).
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    Re: Embargo What...?

    Quote Originally Posted by nsap
    Actually, they weren't either. Car And Driver released the 900 truck information in print early.
    If I remember right, C&Ds "specs" were just speculation based on the classics. I don't really know though...

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    Re: Embargo What...?

    Quote Originally Posted by rhvfd10
    If I remember right, C&Ds "specs" were just speculation based on the classics. I don't really know though...
    You are correct on that, but they had plenty of press pics of the trucks in the same article.
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    Re: Embargo What...?

    I know information on the Silverado and Sierra was leaked before the embargo release for sure. It was out in publication, including interior shots.

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    Thumbs up Re: Embargo What...?

    Good take on the situation at hand, NSAP. As usual, General Motors tends to be reactionary rather than proactive regading the potential of the internet.

    As the Administator and - by virtue - Chief Editor of the 'other' GM enthusiast website, we chose to run the embargoed Malibu imagery after seeing Edmunds break their agreement and watching hours and hours pass by with no action taken. We also watched as AutoBlog and a dozen other sites posted links to Edmunds as well as the images themselves. Heck, it was up on Wikipedia by the time we posted one of the embargoed pictures on our front page.

    The fact is GM gives no incentive not to run through the door after someone opens it. I remember the scenario you described as it also impacted C&G. We walked on eggshells for a long period of time after our privilages were revoked, choosing not to publish embargoed info and pictures even after others broke it. We tried in vain to reobtain a media pass, but were always denied, namely because we weren't a "real" publication. But now, why bother? Some of you reading may disagree on principle, that a release date is a release date and it should be honored. If so, why was no action taken on 'respected' media outlets that release info anyway?

    Some may also recall the hoopla over Blue Oval News leaking some Ford information, too. The result? Well, BON is still in operation and received an incredible amount of free press in respected publications, increasing their reach profoundly. In fact, I'd bet a sizable amount that more relevant and accurate information on Ford is found on BON than in the pages of Motor Trend, Automobile, and the other magazines. You'll find the same situation comparing them to GMI and our site when it comes to GM information.

    NSAP raises another good point that our respect for the embargos (at least used) to be greater. No one pays to be a member on these sites, nor do we have many advertisers. We're not competing to break a story before the other guys do or create false buzz to move issues because we do not charge for issues. We do not operate under the same constraints as the major magazines do, trying to sell more ad space, run circulation numbers up, and releasing February issues in late December. Our only agenda is to keep informed and keep other informed, too. Remember when the magazines used to hold that ideal high? Me neither.

    I'll conclude by mentioning Winding Road. Like a magazine, they offer subscriptions. Their layout mirrors that of a magazine. If you check out their February 'issue,' you'll see photos of the Camaro convertible concept, material that is currently likely embargoed but given to them so they can prep their issue. The catch is, their issue doesn't exist in real life. Its online. And its downloadable. Right now. So, how are the rules adapted for a medium of this type? How is this so much different than our two GM sites? If I spend twelve hours with Adobe and whip up a .pdf of 'C&G Magazine' that you can 'subscribe' to for 'free,' will I get recognized as a legitimate media outlet?

    The fact is, the line didn't just now get blurry; its been blurry for quite a few years. And the media realtion folks at GM need to get a pair of glasses so they can see how the rest of today is going to be.

    Cheers to you all, from one group of GM fans to another.

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    Re: Embargo What...?

    First off, excellent post flybrain. I'm glad you feel the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by flybrian
    NSAP raises another good point that our respect for the embargos (at least used) to be greater. No one pays to be a member on these sites, nor do we have many advertisers. We're not competing to break a story before the other guys do or create false buzz to move issues because we do not charge for issues. We do not operate under the same constraints as the major magazines do, trying to sell more ad space, run circulation numbers up, and releasing February issues in late December. Our only agenda is to keep informed and keep other informed, too. Remember when the magazines used to hold that ideal high? Me neither.
    Exactly. We aren't out to make money. We do this because we all like GM, and want to provide good content for our community. I don't know about you, but the embargo access made it much easier for GMI to provide auto show coverage; and we actually knew what was going on. Now it's just anyone's guess as to when GM is going to release new product information.
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    Re: Embargo What...?

    Quote Originally Posted by nsap
    First off, excellent post flybrain. I'm glad you feel the same.



    Exactly. We aren't out to make money. We do this because we all like GM, and want to provide good content for our community. I don't know about you, but the embargo access made it much easier for GMI to provide auto show coverage; and we actually knew what was going on. Now it's just anyone's guess as to when GM is going to release new product information.
    I must agree with you NSAP. Flybrian: I'm happy that the rest of the automotive/GM web community is in agreement on this issue. Yes, we do this all because we like GM. And what we do has no doubt made some people aware of the changes that have been taking place at GM, which is only helping the turnaround taking place. There is a large community here that would benefit from this information; the embargoed information only enables us to serve the community better. You'd think GM would be concerned about making sure the GM fans are well served and the image that we're on we're on top of things. You would think they'd value good relations with such a large fan base. Obviously, GM is completely ignoring or disregarding this issue and is continuing to be lopsided while alienating large fan websites full of GM supporters.

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