Recent events, reports, stories, rumours and debate have made us realise that the position of Singletrack and grit.cx in the current, evolving media market needs to be made very clear. What has sparked this chance to clear things up is the recent news item run by Bikebiz with the headline, ‘Singletrack to charge for branded bike vids’.
The debate is ongoing and the concept of a division between paid for content and journalism is one that is clearly subjective. The only thing that is clear is that the line between the two is anything but – It’s more a dirty smudge.
But there are a few things that are pretty definitive and can be described as lines we won’t cross, and so in the interests of clarity for all, here they are.
The decision to publish will be made by editorial staff and not sales/marketing staff. Even if there’s cash on the table, if it doesn’t pass the editorial newsworthy test we won’t publish it.
Anything that we do publish that we are paid or otherwise compensated for ie. Branded Content, will be labelled clearly as a sponsored story on the front page of the site or in the mag so that readers can make an educated choice about reading it or not.
- Reviews are pure editorial content and are never subject to any kind of financial pressure to publish. What is reviewed is down to our Editorial team and whether they think it is of enough interest to our readership:
- We will never ask for advertising to be booked before a product is reviewed.
- We will never ask for any kind of payment or favour in return for awarding a product a ‘Recommended’ label.
- We will never ask for any kind of payment or favour in return for a product being awarded a ‘Reader Award’ nomination.
- Reviews are totally divorced from the sales process. Any company, no matter how big or how small is welcome to submit any product for consideration for review.
- The decision to review will be made on merit by our Editorial team.
We may contact a company AFTER a review has been written to suggest that they may want to back up their review with advertising but the decision to publish any review will be a decision made by the editorial team and not the sales team. It’s easy to spot the ads that surround a positive review and fall into the trap of thinking the opinion expressed is linked to the ads bought. For Singletrack that link just does not exist. Reviews are sacrosanct! The day we let money influence what is written in a review is the day we give up all the integrity we’ve worked hard to build and maintain over the last 15 years.
We value and respect our readers – without you we would not be here. We also value and respect our advertisers for the exact same reason. It is only by being open and clear on the roles of each and their intrinsic place within our business that our integrity as a leading media source within the bike industry will continue to exist.
I’m pretty sure that the ongoing debate about the role of the specialist media in the modern publishing age will roll on for a long time to come but our fundamental principle remains today as it has always been – You may disagree with our opinions but you cannot buy them.
Mark Alker – Singletrack & grit.cx publisher