We wrote a couple of days ago about Primedia's apparent edict that to have a product reviewed, companies had to sign a multi-ad contract, which we heard from a reliable source who once worked for the company. Now we hear from a writer whose work we respect, saying that to his knowledge, it isn't so:
I write every month for both Hot Rod and Sport Compact Car magazines as well as numerous publications outside Primedia (including Car and Driver and Edmunds.com). And I've heard of no "one must sign a multi-ad contract to have a product reviewed" edict at Primedia. So I called Rob Kinnan at Hot Rod and he said he had heard of no such edict as well. Since he's the editor, he ought to know."
"I don't know who your "reliable source who once toiled within Primedia s walls" is, but if you're going to publish a serious accusation like that, it's incumbent upon you to seek some sort of comment from those who currently toil within those walls. That you apparently made no effort to verify the information with anyone at Primedia or get some sort of comment is pretty slimy — or, completely fucking unethical, to use your term — on Jalopnik's part. It's also foolish considering the potential legal consequences of accusing another commercial enterprise of such behavior.
Either Jalopnik is a reliable reporter of the world it purports to cover, or it's just a rather prominent place to post unsourced rumors. Which one is it?"
Well, actually sir, it's both. That's why it's called "gossip." Frankly, given what we've seen in this industry, Primedia's alleged ad-for-edit deal wouldn't surprise us, and just leafing through issues of Hot Rod we've noticed David Freiburger repeatedly complain under his breath that the ad guys are telling them to do this or that, lending credence to the feeling that it's the direction the company is moving. Not to mention all of the random co-branded Hot Rod products that don't serve to do anything but dilute the brand. No, we can't prove the veracity of our source's claim, and besides, would the company publicly admit they were doing such a thing, if this is indeed what's going on? Hence its filing under "Gossip."
Buy Some Ads and We'll Review Your Product: Primedia Totally Whores Out [Internal]