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Will Ulitzer and SocialYell Dominate News Content on The Web (Eventually)?

by Anthony J. Bradley  |  April 15, 2009  |  14 Comments

Hype around Ulitzer.com (the social-journalism news magazine site) is climbing. At one point they were offering authors 200% of their Google AdSense revenue.

In the US, journalism has log been a watch dog on government and business activities. This is one of the reasons that as a nation we prize the free press. But unbiased “true” fact based reporting seems to be giving way to the infotainment dark side characterized by spin and dramatization.

I am secretly dreaming of a day when I can easily find a good “rating” of an organization, product, or even person (backed by in depth content) so that I can better determine with whom to associate. I am convinced that the only way to change the world is through collectively determining how we spend our money and our votes. Will Ulitzer be this vehicle?   

I recently watched a fascinating episode of Frontline (my favorite show BTW) on “Black Money” or corruption in the international business world. Wouldn’t you love to have access to an honesty rating for companies so you know who you are supporting with your spending?

I think the day will come. A very interesting social validation site called SocialYell just launched today. SocialYell is all about collectively judging the social responsibility of organizations and people (President Obama is in there). It is new and I’m not convinced of the participant experience yet. But I enthusiastically applaud the concept.

Call me a bright eyed optimist but I see the huge potential for social change here. I don’t think I’m alone.

Category: social-solutions  

Tags: social-validation  

Anthony J. Bradley
GVP
10 years at Gartner
26 years in IT

Anthony J. Bradley is a group vice president in Gartner Research responsible for the research content that Gartner publishes through its three internet businesses (softwareadvice.com, capterra.com and getapp.com). These responsibilities include creating and leading the research organization and infrastructure needed for the strategy formulation, planning, research, creation, editing, production and distribution of the content. He has four global teams of highly talented people who are advancing towards the world's greatest destination for content on how small businesses succeed through information technology.


Thoughts on Will Ulitzer and SocialYell Dominate News Content on The Web (Eventually)?


  1. John Dowdell says:

    “I am secretly dreaming of a day when I can easily find a good “rating” of an organization, product, or even person (backed by in depth content) so that I can better determine with whom to associate. I am convinced that the only way to change the world is through collectively determining how we spend our money and our votes. Will Ulitzer be this vehicle?”

    Ulitzer itself might not score too highly on such a metric:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=ulitzer+stealing+content

  2. David Rostan says:

    Thanks for being a bright eyed optimist! We are, too. That doesn’t get us all the way there, of course, but it is a necessary part of it.
    You summed up our end goal exactly – to collectively judge the social responsibility of organizations and people and to provide a way to decide “with whom to associate”. It is a difficult goal, but we have been overwhelmed with the enthusiasm of the many people who care about social/environmental responsibility.
    If you ever have feedback or input on SocialYell, we’d be thrilled to hear it and thanks for considering us in this post!

    David Rostan
    Founder, SocialYell
    @socialyell

  3. Aral Balkan says:

    Here’s some reading material in case you’d like to find out how Sys-Con/Ulitzer operates:

    http://aralbalkan.com/?s=sys-con

    I can’t believe a reputable source of information like Gartner would print such a glowing review of Ulitzer. I can only assume you are unaware of their practices.

  4. xpc says:

    A quick look at their behavior and tech savvy – I’d say no way on the Ulitzer front. Why bother trusting the content if you can’t trust the conduit?

  5. Robert says:

    I can only emphasise that you research the thread on Aral’s blog and also research further throughout Twitter and other media.

    The whole business model of Ulitzer seems to have been built upon some form of RSS-Robot which has gathered content unbeknown to the original authors and also frequently infringing copyright in the process.

    The libelous practices which sys-con are now adopting against any who object to this (and particularly heavily in the case of Aral Balkan) should certainly make them an orgnisation which Gartner does not want to be too closely associated with – falsified names and photos on libelous and threatening “articles” on Ulitzer itself and direct threats to those within the international community, including racist remarks.

    The initial shock caused to the involuntary “authors” is what lead to sys-con offering that “generous” 200% AdSense kick-back.

    The concept you report on in this blog article is certainly interesting and exciting – and may well be the future. I absolutely cannot accept, however, that a platform for plagiarism such as Ulitzer could be representative of that future.

    Respect for content ownership and rights has to remain. Surely?

  6. Amy says:

    Ulitzer steals content and claims people who have never heard of it, as its “authors.” For example, my husband: http://thomasfuchs.ulitzer.com. They copied his photo, and presumably the only reason they’re not showing his RSS feed as “theirs” is because they have an outdated URL for it.

    They also have this entertaining tendency to call their detractors terrorists, fags, and worse, if you can believe it — in a verifiable way, to boot! The articles are on their site, and when commentors point out that it seems racist or libelous, they post follow-ups that are even more full of hateful invective.

    Speaking of valueless infotainment…

  7. Pete says:

    I wont waste time re-wording the sentiments of many above, such as Aral, Rob and Amy but suffice to say you would be wise to take note of what they are demonstrating.

    If the day you speak off is to arrive – the only way we will get there is if paratices demostrated by the site, it’s commentors and it’s business owners need to be irradicated.

  8. Ralph Hauwert says:

    Utilizer, as shown by Aral, borderline mobster practices; stealing content, obfuscating truth and slandering people’s names. All of that next to publishing under false names and making borderline racial remarks from the CEO.

    That company will never make it and I think a reputable source like Gartner shouldn’t even publish such a glowing review.

  9. Greg Ferrell says:

    The Utilizer/Sys-con(men) are total losers. They blatantly steal content from people and then slander, lie, and accuse Aral of wanting to kill them when he said nothing of the sort. I hope they guys go bankrupt as soon as possible.

  10. Anthony Bradley says:

    Aral, Ralph,

    First of all, Gartner didn’t publish this. Anthony Bradley (aka, me) posted this on his individual blog to generate a discussion and give people like you a forum to discuss the citizen journalism concept as a whole and Ulitzer’s approach in specific.

    You should reread my post because it is not a “glowing review” of Ulitzer. In fact, I ask the question “Will Ulitzer be this vehicle?” I certainly don’t state that it is the vehicle.

    We welcome an open discussion and value your input but please don’t bash someone for opening the discussion. That is bad form.

  11. Aral Balkan says:

    Hi Anthony,

    It might be worth letting Sys-Con/Ulitzer know this also since their article on the subject is titled:

    “Will Ulitzer Dominate News Content on The Web? -Gartner”

    http://weblogic.sys-con.com/node/921954

    If you read up on how horribly Sys-Con/Ulitzer has been attacking me since I called them out on stealing my content and misappropriating my identity, I believe you will understand at least some of the frustration that I and others in the community feel towards our treatment by this company.

    Sys-Con/Ulitzer has called me “a social media terrorist”, “Turkish fag”, “Turkish spammer”, and compared me to the gunman who shot Pope John Paul II. And this isn’t just anyone publishing these articles into Ulitzer’s system, where they are then indexed by Google Search, Google News, etc. It’s their CEO, Fuat Kircaali writing both under his own name and, in the opinion of a great many in the community, under pseudonyms (a number of staff authors and editors at Sys-Con have stock photos or photos from Wikipedia as their profile pictures and absolutely no trace of them can be found anywhere else on the Internet.) Until recently Dolce and Gabbana supermodel David Gandy was the face of one of their editors.

    Again, documentation for all this and more is available at the link I gave you earlier.

    I hope this gives you some back-story and provides at least an modicum of insight into why myself and other members of the community are so frustrated with Sys-Con and Ulitzer.

  12. xpc says:

    IMO – the whole thing has gotten out of hand. Where sys-con should be bending over backwards to clear things up they continue to blow it out of proportion and publish articles restoking the embers and making it abundantly clear that they have zero PR sensibility.

    I think adults would be able to cut thru the poo and clear it up pretty quickly. This company isn’t garnering my respect with their continued childish response.

    Solution?

    1. CEO publicly declares mea culpa, orders staff to get PERMISSION prior to including them as authors.

    2. Blogger Deniz is put on a short leash and told to knock it off.

    3. Aral gets back to biz as usual without the daily (twice daily) bad man story.

    Golly – this seems so simple to me.

  13. Anthony Bradley says:

    Aral,

    I’ll look into it. Maybe Ulitzer can serve as a negative role model. I also will have Gartner PR look into their use of my blog post.

    I think this discussion is an important discussion to have. The social Web has great promise but also a high potential for bad behavior. It is important that we recognize both.

    Thanks for your response.

  14. Sam Johnston says:

    I would say that any site that manages to get themselves evicted from Google (as Ulitzer just did) has a snowflake’s chance in hell of “dominating news content on the web”.

    Ironically they had Matt Cutts – Google’s webspam czar – listed as an author. Hilarity ensues.

    Sam



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