Caribbean Business publishes Adver-news for WebResponse

Immediately prior to watching a documentary about Fox News, I had begun noticing how many of the local papers include "news" articles that were nothing more than opinion, or even worse advertisements. Once I had seen the documentary "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism" however, I was certain that there was an alarming amount of opinion and advertising being passed off as "news". Let's call them adver-news.

Just to clarify a quick point, there is nothing wrong with media channels sharing people's opinions, these are called editorials and should be clearly identified as such. But that is a lot different from a news source offering up news that is really someone's opinion. Which is why the mainstream media news channels fear the Internet so greatly. It is the great equalizer. Since is it loosely organized and distributed amongst the billion or so users, the many powerful search engines available can help us find more information about news topics and permit us obtain many different viewpoints, research facts, and come to our own conclusions. That's the way the news used to work. Present the facts and let the audience decide.

Caribbean Business Found Guilty

There is no better example of this than a recent article in the Caribbean Business written by Dennis Costa Pacheco entitled "Website abandonment a key worry for online businesses." I found the headline intriguing, so I had to take a peak. The hook of this article, briefly, is that 42% of consumers abandon a site or switch to a competitor when they experience problems such as lack of content or technical glitches. Therefore it is important to engage in an interaction with those consumers by using popular Web 2.0 tools. Awesome, we here at DóndeEs.com couldn't agree more.

Unfortunately, that's about as awesome as the article gets. First, let's cut right to the chase. It's not really until the second paragraph from the end that Pacheco delivers his real payload for the article, an unabashed advertisement for WebResponse, the Internet division of Casiano Communications. An article of this nature is an insult to journalism!

Clueless about Web 2.0

Second, it is painfully evident that Pacheco doesn't understand what Web 2.0 is all about. "Flash animations and advanced database protocols like MySQL and PHP" have absolutely nothing to do with Web2.0, and are really more representative of Web 1.0.

Of course how would he know the difference when Casiano Communications itself has absolutely no clue about what Web2.0 or the Internet is all about. None of their websites offers anything closely resembling Web2.0 functionality. There are no blogs, no RSS, and nowhere to add comments to anything. Further none of their sites consume any web services made available by anyone.

According to Jorge R. Elguera, vice president & general manager of WebResponse and PRWOW.com, "Most of them [sites which haven't properly updated their contents to reflect the times] were set up during the first boom period of the Internet, which happened in the mid- to late-‘90s, and it was very different back then.”

Funny how one of the "Samples of our work" from WebResponse lists a site for Green Coffee Cigarettes, which is done entirely in Adobe Flash and features exactly nothing that could be characterized as Web 2.0. I wonder when that site originally was available, probably in the late 1990's? Oh how embarrassing for Mr. Elguera and WebResponse, according to the Network Solutions Whois record lookup, the domain www.greencoffeecigarettes.com wasn't even created until '2006-08-25'.

What not talk about this?

Finally, since, in the end the article is nothing but a advertisement for Casiano Communications, the premise of the article is completely pointless. It's kind of ironic, because Pacheco actually zeros in on some of the most pressing problems with nearly all local websites, however he skirts the issue and doesn't nail the owners of those sites to the wall. Nearly none of the websites locally available offer any e-commerce capability. Therefore, why would anyone be interested?

The most pressing problems that should be discussed are:

  • As quoted from Roberto Sotto, vice president of sales for WebResponse and PRWOW.com, "Most of these websites [local] act more as an electronic brochure than the bona fide net presence they should be.”
  • And as also pointed out by Sotto, "They [web customers] are used to a level of interactivity that is very different from the passive stance they take with other media like television or print; ..., the website must make an effort to actively engage the potential customer,”