Monday, January 05, 2009

Amazon the victim of flat earth news

Here is a good example of how a press release can soon become disinformation

Writing at Slate magazine Timothy Noah says

The day after Christmas, Amazon put out a press release declaring the 2008 holiday season "its best ever, with over 6.3 million items ordered worldwide on the peak day, Dec. 15." The story was eagerly snapped up by the Associated Press, Reuters, the Washington Post, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and even the Web site for Business Week, which really ought to know better.

However and here is the twist

Some, but not all, of these accounts went on to concede that Amazon would not provide revenue data for the entire shopping season, or even for its "peak day." Nor would Amazon confirm or deny that one or both of these revenue figures exceeded those for 2007. Without this information, we can't possibly know whether Amazon had a good year in comparison either to other retailers or to its own sales during the previous Christmas shopping season.

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