Google Blogoscoped

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 With Another Story

Here’s something that made the frontpage of popular social news site yesterday... a submission titled “A 15 year old from South Wales used his new Visa debit card to order cigarettes, alcohol (etc.)”, pointing to a page at allegedly from July 15th, 2008, by author Charlotte Cardingham. This sounds oddly familiar to the last “hoax news to attract backlinks” story. However, after that last incident of letting a search engine optimizer fabricate news backfired, issued an apology and said: considers itself a trustworthy and reputable source of information on financial news and information. The contractors responsible for this mistake are no longer associated with in any way. We have also updated our policy ... which confirms that fake stories will be clearly labeled as such, and we have put measures in place to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.

Which brings us to the question – is this latest story a hoax or not?

Searching for a quote from above article in Google News, I get a single result: a story at from June 28th. So this time, wasn’t fabricating their story from scratch – though they decided to leave the real source for their story, the Guardian, completely uncredited.

The author of the original story, Patrick Collinson, tells me, “I personally have not had any communication from this website about the article I wrote.” He notes wasn’t the biggest offender though. “The [Daily Mail] took the story in its entirety, including the quotes I had obtained from my source, and printed it as their front page splash. What was truly shocking was that they splashed the word ’exclusive’ on their front page about the story.” He adds, “I personally have no problem with other newspapers following up my stories. I spend lots of time following up other newspaper’s stories. But lifting a story then calling it your own exclusive is pretty sad.”


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