Intel Blurs Line Between News And PR
Journeys across the Internet often turn up surprising things in the most unlikely of places, including Intel’s new “Free Press” site — which is in ‘beta’. If the irony isn’t already hitting you, let me spell it out for you. A news site without by-lines run by Intel isn’t much of a news site at all. But is Intel’s elaborate PR front looking to at least offer some objective material? Here’s the the scoop…
Intel’s Free Press feature article is about the iPad and tablet computers potentially eating up netbooks. It’s actually a lengthy read, citing multiple sources and many options on both sides of the story, but ends with a nice little tie-in to Intel’s dual-core atom CPUs and references people who need to use Microsoft Office or play “World of Warcraft on low resolution” while on the go, along with the insinuation that they’re simply “10-inch notebooks” and not ‘netbooks’ anymore.
Cute. The site also features stories detailing Intel’s investor relations, Moore’s Law, and a side bar featuring latest Intel press releases. My theory? Intel is looking to scoop a little more press back up, and turn the focus to the inside of what makes your machine work, especially with a lot of buzz around shiny iPads and Android tablets with mobile ARM CPUs. A faux-news site might be the perfect design to grab SEO (search engine optimization) and maybe even pick up a few bloggers who reference Intel’s own stories. Spreading propaganda, I think, is the phrase I’m looking for.
But that does seem a bit nefarious. A more benevolent view is reported by ArsTechnica who draws the conclusion that Intel could be soliciting articles to be written by decent journalists, but the by-lines removed as PR work could be the “kiss of death” for those journalists working anywhere else in the industry.
Clearly, Intel would have some creative control over the content of the article, but maybe they’d leave it open for some debate. That would generate traffic and make it seem like less of a shill, right? (There’s no comments section, but the featured netbook article already has 17 Facebook “Likes.”)
Cynicism aside, this blogger noticed that all the articles on the site have a certain “voice” to them. The similarity in writing style leads me to believe that all of the work may have been done by one writer, who may very well be inside Intel. That doesn’t mean that can’t change.
We’ll keep our eyes open as Intel expands their Free Press site.