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Tuesday's Doc! Getting bamboozled in Genomics.

Posted Jul 07 2009 5:46pm

Warning! If you don't want to hear me go off on the Public Relations and Journalism field, click away now!!!!!

Now!!!


Seriously, now.


For centuries advertising and journalism have existed. In fact there relationship has been one of symbiosis. Think about, papers can't print without money, the money often doesn't come from subscribers, it comes from advertisement's..........

This is one of the big reasons why papers are dying.

Online Media Outlets just keep seeing the money flow in though.........Why pay to get marketed to? That is essentially what the savvy news reader is saying.....which is why they have turned away from newspapers and turned towards blogs and twitter......what used to be the gold standard of journalism is now being exposed as a piece of paper for rent to the highest bidder, couched in some official looking headline....

I am afraid the same may happen to blogs and twitter........
But this game is not new, the advertising industry has a whole army called "Public Relations" which is designed to do just that, sucker a pressured journalist into "copying" a Press release into an article and send it out "AS IF" it were news.....

What really turned the public's attention towards this really, really big scam?Blogs........Yes, blogs.

The very thing I am writing now.

Why do I know this?

Because I saw it happen........
In 2007 when I started blogging, I was the only, I repeat only voice dispelling the HYPE behind DTC genomics.....The press had been infiltrated by the PR crazies.......

Article after article about how fantastic this would be, without ANY other input from the professional genetics side........or if it was, it was a zealous Ph.D. without any clinical context.......


Drew mentioned the news cycle in most fields with a backlash, that often happens pretty slowly, but with Blogs, it is now sped up.........


It turns out that the PR crazies, in an attempt to keep the good times rolling on crappy products and services which don't sell themselves, but instead need millions of PR dollars have turned their eyes to another target......

Yes, the very target that can dispel their hype........luring them with giveaways and maybe even financial rewards..........That is right, Bloggers and Twitterers......

You who write are now the target.....Please tell me you already knew this.......For every PR bastard that I have to filter out of my inbox, to every free fruit drink or textbook I have to throw away, I see it more clearly........If more bloggers than not are duped by these PR crazies, the blog may actually go the way of the newspaper........

Think about it.

PR has to spend billions a year on newspapers, but they can buy YOU off for a 300 USD SNP kit, or a TOUR of their client's facilities......


It has happened to me. I have been wowed by some wonk running one of the genomic companies. And if it could happen to super cynical me, imagine how many more it could as well.....Don't believe it?

All you have to do is read this NYT piece(I know, I just bashed newspapers)about PR's new target......The FTC realizes this.

They are going to start cracking down on this type of relationship in a way they never could have with the newspapers. Why?

Newspapers have lawyers and money, unlike the lowly bloggers. Just ask me how much it has cost to keep this blog going.........time and heartache......and J.D.'s


Which is why I commend people like Blaine Bettinger J.D. who has put on his tweets involving Pathway Genomics, the disclosure that he is a consultant for them.....

I am going to stay away from any paid advisory roles in any of these for profit companies, yes I was offered a medical directorship/advisorship for 2 new startup DTC genomics companies, but I knew I couldn't do it......I would have to scrap my blog, no matter how "The Right Way" they did these things, my credibility would erode, just like the journalists who I no longer read in the WSJ and NYT.......

Luckily, most often, the reporters who publish PR swill are junior anyways.......but in blogging, it could be some of the biggest names.....


So today when I get an email from one of the fathers of genome exploration asking me why I didn't talk about 23andMx's Blimp escapade......I explain that the press can do that, besides,
the incestuous way in which the Zepplin, not a blimp came to be was because of pure insider deals, which I am not shunning, but am not going to promote it either........

HT Martian Genetics

From the NYT:

Gone are the days when snaring attention for start-ups in the Valley meant mentions in print and on television, or even spotlights on technology Web sites and blogs. Now P.R. gurus court influential voices on the social Web to endorse new companies, Web sites or gadgets — a transformation that analysts and practitioners say is likely to permanently change the role of P.R. in the business world, and particularly in Silicon Valley.

So I guess it is just a case of build up your friends/followers list, so you can cash in on them by marketing to them.......just like a salesman would.......

The Sherpa Says: I will never sell ads, shill for profit companies, or tell you anything but my god's honest opinion about personalized medicine and DTC genomics. There has to be someone out there willing to do it..........because PR is gunning for us now and we can't let the blog medium turn into a marketing op rather than a vehicle for truth.
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