Regarding Embargoes: A Rex Raider Rant

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Thread: Regarding Embargoes: A Rex Raider Rant

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    Administrator Premium Member Rex Raider's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Regarding Embargoes: A Rex Raider Rant

    by: REX RAIDER
    GMI INSIDE NEWS
    NOV 12, 2004


    First I'll start with some background info for those you not in the know:

    Car magazines (such as Car&Driver and Motor Trend) prepare their issues approximately 2 months in advance. That means they have to prepare their stories early, and have the NEWS that they are reporting seem fresh when the issue comes out 2 months later. This is especially relevant around the time of car shows.

    If car magazines reported on car shows 2 months after they occured, then people wouldn't buy the issues as much, as that information would be old, and most people would have seen the information already, most probably on the Internet.

    So to give car magazines and other publishers an advantage, car manufacturers (not just GM) provide information, pictures, press releases, and news to the publishers early enough so that when the timing is right, the event (product launch, car show, etc...) and their magazine articles will have the information simultaneously.

    During this delay period, the pictures/news/articles are not allowed to be shown ANYWHERE. This is called an Embargo. You can sit with the information, and work with it, but you can't show it to anyone until a specific date. If you print/use the images before the date set by the manufacturer, then you are breaking the embargo. A situation that is highly frowned upon by all parties involved.


    Now that you know what an embargo is, here is what is currently going on:

    Due to a couple of situations in the last few months where the Embargo has been broken, GM has recently taken away the access to embargoed to all enthusiast websites, such as GMI (and others).

    So, now, GMI and other sites have no advantage over the general public, and have to scramble at the last minute when an embargo has been lifted to make sure they have the news, pictures and content on their sites. This often means a team of site moderators will have to be up at 3 am to gain access to the information, and then work for hours overnight to prepare it for the members. In order to get the news first and fast, often corners are cut, either on presentation or on quality. Both things that don't look good for the site.

    Magazines that also have websites (www.autoweek.com, www.motortrend.com, etc...) STILL have access to the the Embargoed pictures, and can prepare their websites ahead of time.

    I find it odd that recently Car & Driver came to us at GMI for news. C&D trusts us, but GM does not. GMI is the place to come for all the latest GM news. We should be supported by GM, not fought against.

    But that's not what this is about.

    Recently, there was a picture of the new Corvette Z06. This picture was seen on a Corvette enthusiast site, and a Camaro enthusiast site. Seeing that it was relevant news, GMI picked up the story, and also displayed the picture. There was much debate about the authenticity of the photo.

    The Corvette site in question received 2 "cease and desist" letters informing them to remove the picture "or else". They took the picture down. GMI has not yet heard from GM yet.

    Our sites no longer have access to the GM embargo area. We can't see what pictures are/aren't legitimate. We can't see what pictures are GM property (and not just photochops). We can't see the estimated release dates. We have no way of knowing if any photo at random is embargoed or not.

    Furthermore, GM makes no indication on their photos that they are copywrited GM material, or that they are embargoed. GM should have a watermark on all their official photos, or they should have a small obvious line of text stating the picture can not be used.

    In this day and age of technology, it's not that hard to do it. GMI does it on their "exclusive" pictures. Brenda Priddy and Co puts one on all her spy shots.
    It's not hard to do.

    The other thing is that GM has a tough time keeping their pictures to themselves (which I think may or may not be on purpose). Recently access to some GTO and SSR pictures were placed in an open area where everyone had access to them. GM "forgot" to put a password on the area.

    With the recent Z06 picture it wasn't anyone's intention to break any embargoes. GM has to be a little more forgiving. It's GM's fault that the picture leaked out in the first place.

    So basically GM:

    - Watermark/date/stamp your photos. Let us know they are yours. Until then, how do we know the legitimacy? How do we know if we are breaking embargoes?

    - Keep a better eye on your stuff. Don't let pictures leak out. Password protect your media sites better. Don't make a generic password for everyone (like you've been doing). Use specific passwords for each visitor. Then track who visits what area.

    - Don't punish everyone for the actions of a few.

    - Make a level playing field. Different people use different media outlets. Some people want to surf the internet for free and and don't want to pay $4 to read it in a magazine.

    - Recognize that we are here to help the brand, not fight it. We are enthusiasts. In general, we are the people that try to sway the non-GM people back to the brand.

    /end of rant

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    4.6 Liter Northstar V8 Premium Member Branden's Avatar
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    Re: Regarding Embargoes: A Rex Raider Rant

    Great Post Rex!

    The 2005 GTO/SSR information leak was 100% GM's fault for leaving it in a non-protected area, yet they blamed the internet as a whole for it.

    They need to take a page from VW who does alot to support www.vwvortex.com including offering members special editions of cars first, and participating in the forum discussion.

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    Re: Regarding Embargoes: A Rex Raider Rant

    Mr. Wagoner:

    You have enough fights on your hand:
    -Health Care
    -Union Wages
    -Retirement Obligations
    -An uncompetive lineup (We know that's changing).

    Why would you fight a site like this that is here to help you?

    GM10

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    Re: Regarding Embargoes: A Rex Raider Rant

    Agreed 100% Rex. I go here for my info because I dont want to pay to read a magazine that will be old in a month, I try to avoid the bias and come to a good source, I just like hearing other peoples opinions on issues/new stuff. Why would GM want to take that away from us?
    GM autos: the best investments I've ever made
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    So lets see. Toyota lied about recalls. Lied about their HP ratings... I wonder how much truth is in their milage ratings..

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    GMI Staff Member Premium Member Ming's Avatar
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    Re: Regarding Embargoes: A Rex Raider Rant

    What I find amusing is that GM doesn't want something leaked out a couple of months or weeks in advance (like on that unprotected web site), but they gladly will tell us all about some mild hybrid or hydrogen powered vehicle they plan to offer 4 years from now. They don't mind telling us far in advance about the 3900 and 2.4L 4cyl. engines in the G6 and Cobalt respectively - over a year in advance, in fact - but they get defensive when it is leaked that the SSR and GTO will get a much needed horsepower boost of their own.

    What, is Toyota going to tweak its non-existent Supra to match the horsepower of the GTO within the span of a few weeks?

    I'd say it is far more likely that Toyota would match the torque of the 2.4L "SS" Cobalt engine by boosting its Scion tC's engine in the YEAR they have telegraphed before that engine even arrives.

    If GM gets angry about something leaking out a year or two in advance, it makes perfect sense. Or pricing information - that makes sense, too.

    But to get mad about things a few days or weeks before release, and then advertise / telegraph some things years in advance like Displacement on Demand, for the 3500, for instance, - and have Honda beat you to the punch in its minivan without any fanfare....it's twisted.

    GM should be less worried about short term leaks, and more worried about living up to its promises for the future and meeting the schedule in a timely manner.

    They should be using sites like this one to build buzz - not get all bent out of shape because some schedule didn't go according to plan. So what? If the enthusiasts are enthused (and who else would care?) then the goal is achieved.

    In fact, if the product is bad or lacking, then GM will have time to reconsider -- if the leak is far enough in advance of launch.

    GM needs to get rid of the insular culture that says "You'll take what we give you, when we give it to you, and you'll like it."
    Last edited by Ming; 11-12-2004 at 10:17 AM.

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    Re: Regarding Embargoes: A Rex Raider Rant

    I'm quite confused. What exactly did GMI do to violate an embargo? I remember this site displaying good behavior during the NY and Detroit Autoshows last year (posting that the Solstice can't be released until date/time.) If it was for the Z06 chop, it seems like GMI already LOST access so they wouldn't know. edit: If it's for the SSR/GTO - that's stupid. That info coming out 2-3 weeks in advance isn't going to affect sales. If you make a car someone REALLY WANTS they'll buy it...not wait.

    This sounds like a bunch of BS from GM to me. I wonder if this has a deeper meaning, that the car magazines are getting mad that "insider" websites can instantly post news while customers have to wait for their magazine to arrive (for example, I get my C&D with all the new pics a few weeks after I see them on here. Maybe the car mags said to GM - "Hey, take away embargo access to insider websites and we'll be more GM bias in our reviews."??? You never know.

    Idea: Can't you just apply for media.gm.com with like "GMI the Magazine" bs lol.
    Last edited by mrfunji; 11-12-2004 at 10:44 AM.

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    Re: Regarding Embargoes: A Rex Raider Rant

    Look for the GM juice, give it to us, Its a free country, we want to know, we will find out, one way or the other.
    Tell Lutz to do his work and stop yucking... he is all talk and little action... Why is the G6 being blasted for a bland interior? And why has the Malibu not been upgraded to the M6 levels?
    GM should tell the faithful what they have in store.. after all we are the GM Choir...

    If they wont preach to us, whom can their Gospel get to?

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    Re: Regarding Embargoes: A Rex Raider Rant

    As a member of the motor press, I can shed some light. Laser, you stated that magazines are usually late in reporting about car shows, but that's just the reports from the shows with their own pictures (which has about a month delay from event to news-stand). When a major car show is coming, the major "buff books" get access to the vehicles that will be unveiled. Ever notice that the Car & Driver or Motor Trend issues that arrive around the first of January have a cover article about a vehicle being unveiled at Detroit and/or Los Angeles? It's impossible to take pictures of an actual show and have them published and mailed to you at the same time as the show is happening, but they can show you what will be introduced.

    Embargo dates are actually printed on press photos (remember when pictures were actually on paper?). Electronic pictures do NOT have watermarked dates or logos so that they can be properly used in full. Spy photos are different and Brendy Priddy, Hans Lehman, Jim Dunne, and the like get paid for each use of each of these pictures. For GM, Ford, and the like, they want these pictures published and offer them for free...in return, they only ask that they not be published before a certain date.

    My advice to GMI is to make friends with Media Services within GM. Play ball with them and they are more than happy to help you out.

    Defending Rex's position, however, GM and Ford (in particular) do not understand the power of their enthusiastic fans. Sites like GMI, VWVortex, and the others should be HARNESSED by the VMs but are largely ignored. This has been a problem in the industry for years.

    One example of the short-sightedness of this industry is in their press cars. These cars are offered to the media for test purposes so that writers can evaluate them and provide some free (technically) advertising. Aside from the cost of gas, the writer gets a free test of a car or truck for a period of time then writes about it (usually making only a token amount). A few years back, GM decided to change their contract with these testers leaving the potential for the drivers to be WHOLLY responsible for ANYTHING that happens to the car in their care. While minor damage to a car during a test is typically brushed aside, accidents are usually covered under the manufacturer's insurance and only the deductable need be covered by the driver. But GM, in their infinite wisdom, thought that the testers should be held liable for anything that could possibly go wrong. This forced many writers to test everything but GM products. Other manufacturers also went this route, but GM was among the last to learn that you cannot treat the typically underpaid motor press so poorly.

    One reporter I know lost his job (about $20 a month) writing for a small newspaper when he explained to the readers why he didn't test GM products. His explanation was simple, GM's insurance clause made it so that he couldn't afford to drive their cars. The editor canned the writer.

    GM has since changed their policy. But I'm not so sure they've learned the lesson. There are many people working (paid or not) to make the automotive industry look good. Enthusiast sites like GMI help gel the fan base and provide insight into the buyers' minds. Embargo dates should be respected, but GM should learn to make friends with those who "accidentally" break an embargo.

    End of Rant-on-Rant

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    Re: Regarding Embargoes: A Rex Raider Rant

    Since I found this site I have rarely visited C&D's or MT's website. I like therir future vehicle forecast, but I get more news here and get different sides of the story from those who post on the boards. I also like the news from the auto section of the Detroit Free Press site. I don't see how leaks that are not far in advance of when the information would have been released would make any difference.

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    Re: Regarding Embargoes: A Rex Raider Rant

    great post rex

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    Re: Regarding Embargoes: A Rex Raider Rant

    You know, I for one fell feel bad, i convinced a Dude who respects my opinion to consinder a corvette before they waste their money on a 911 and this is how GM repays me!
    I need information Dude

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    Re: Regarding Embargoes: A Rex Raider Rant

    GM has their panties in a wad because of pictures coming out a few days or weeks early? give me a break. they need to worry more about what they're going to do about their aged lineup. they are doing well with Cadillac, and Pontiac seems to be hit and miss, but their largest selling line (Chevy) needs a quick renaissance, and what are they doing about it? bitching about pictures being posted that could actually help their popularity, that is really ridiculous, and i am infuriated by their logic here, or lack thereof. they should embrace things that could create excitement for their brands, and i believe GMI does exactly that. stupid GM with their bass ackwards thinking.....
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    Re: Regarding Embargoes: A Rex Raider Rant

    Great post Rex.

    I agree it's a little hypocritical to get mad for leaking "coming soon" items and not care about the "coming someday" items. It would make more sense to limit the far-off future plans so the competition has no idea what your are planning.

    The stuff coming out soon should be hyped and built up as much as possible to get some interest out there on some pretty badass upcoming vehicles (GTO & SSR).

    GM should aid not constrict consumer and enthisiast interest. The Web is the future and as many pro-GM sites as possible should be a goal for them.



    rant time:
    Laserwizard: I hate "enthusiasts" who only follow one make. To say that all imported and all non-Ford domestic vehicles are crap just shows your ignorance.

    You can't be that simple and closed-minded, then want to be taken seriousely as a car enthusiast.

    Oh well, I know once you post you never return to the thread so I am pretty much talking to myself right now. It still needs to be said though.

    end mini-rant

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    Re: Regarding Embargoes: A Rex Raider Rant

    Great post. Thanks for the info.

    Hey, quick question regarding the watermarks ...

    If I take a bunch of pics, as I did with my Reader Car Review for the 2005 Colorado, and want to 'give' them to GMI, is there a standard process to get the GMI water mark, either via a visible logo or digital (unseen) watermark, on the pics?

    Ya never know when that Pulitzer Prize could happen.

  16. #15
    Administrator Premium Member Rex Raider's Avatar
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    Re: Regarding Embargoes: A Rex Raider Rant

    If you give us the exclusive rights to the pictures, we will add the watermark ourselves.

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