The New York Times Publishes Suspiciously Glowing Article About Partner Monster.com
Earlier this week, The New York Times published an article entitled, “Searching for a Job? Try Looking at Your Hand Held First.” The Personal Tech piece highlights the Monster.com Interview App as the mother of all interview Apps. A good chunk of the article is reminiscent of a Monster.com press release, rattling off the wonderful features of the program and how you’d be daft to use any other:
If you’re consulting a mobile app for advice while you’re on the way to a big job interview, you may be a little desperate, a little lazy or maybe just not too bright. That may be true if you’re using some job-hunting apps other than Monster.com Interviews. Monster.com, the cleanup hitter of the online job industry, last month released the app (free on iPhone and soon on iPad), which deserves a spot on the phone of everyone who’s looking for work.
But somewhere hidden in the subtext of the piece is the weirdly unacknowledged partnership that the New York Times has had with Monster Worldwide since 2007. The two companies formed an alliance for Monster.com to co-sponser the NY Times career pages. With the new deal, Monster would be able to link with a highly visible brand name and the Times would collaborate with a company that would’ve threatened to undercut advertising revenue.
Was this New York Times article influenced by the company’s partnership with Monster.com? And whether it was or not, why is the New York Times running articles about Monster.com without acknowledging the relationship at all?
NY Times Tech Editor, Damon Darlin, responded, “No, the article was not influenced by any relationship with Monster. I was unaware of any relationship with Monster. But the relationship should have been noted.”
Without prior knowledge of the NY Times/Monster partnership, the piece reads as an especially gushing App Smart review showcasing a relevant interview tool. Bob Tedeschi highlights its many helpful features only to constructively suggest room for improvement. Citing confusing features, illogical placement, and unwanted Web links, he writes, “As good as it is, Monster.com Interviews could be improved.” This is the standard format for a product review. But wouldn’t a New York Times review of a Monster.com product be an exception? Couldn’t this piece have used an asterisk or footnote, a good old fashioned “Full disclosure” parenthetical?
The piece ends with a send-off, “Monster.com Interviews appears poised for a long run.” The New York Times certainly hopes so.
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