Media Moves

Outsourced content on Forbes is now outsourced

December 19, 2013

Posted by Chris Roush

Erin Griffith writes for PandoDaily.com that the contributors who now provide most of the content on Forbes.com are now outsourcing the content they post.

Griffith writes, “A curious ‘interview request’ arrived in my inbox today: A Forbes contributor would like to include my opinions in his post about equity crowdfunding. I was flattered for a minute, but then I realized what was really happening here: An executive who has been given a journalist’s platform is now asking — through a publicist — for a journalist to do his work.

“I love the irony. Forbes has outsourced the production of content to non-journalists, who are now turning to actual journalists for content. And the topic? Crowdfunding. It’s a snake eating its own tail.

“Apparently I was chosen to do someone else’s work for them because a company called OurCrowd is publishing a study in which I’m included as one of the ‘Top 25 influential people in crowdfunding.’ That sounds dubious enough — I can think of maybe 100 people who are more influential around this topic than someone who has written a handful of articles about it.

“But anyway, since I am already in the study, the publicist writes, why not provide a few insights about crowdfunding? Insights like: what are my predictions for equity crowdfunding next year? And what tips would I offer investors interested in crowdfunding? You know, the kinds of questions I might ask actual experts if I were reporting a story on the topic. Oh, and once I’m done writing a chunk of the article, could I please help spread the word about it?

“This is what’s become of Forbes. By lending its brand to anyone who can string a few sentences together, Forbes’ contributor network is now little more than a platform for promotional marketing posts and unverified pontifications. (Some of which have paid to be there, via a product called BrandVoice.) It’s never clear when you click on a Forbes link whether you’re going to find useful, reliable information, or some random contributor’s self-promotional musings. Given that Forbes now has 1200 contributors, the odds of clicking on a story by one of the 45 or so staff writers Forbes employs is fairly low.”

Read more here.

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