How much power does a publisher give its users to make comments on content? It’s a topical issue right now in light of the Matthew Johns incident.
I’m talking about comments users leave at the end of stories/videos and other pieces of content.
These comments on YouTube are generally pretty low-end … inflamatory bickering between users and also sentiment that could be considered racist/sexist or just plain idiotic by most people with a brain.
The idea of user comments isn’t that new – talkback radio is a similar form of participatory media and exhibits a lot of the same traits. A small % of opinionated, generally negative or extremely one sided participants. The same thing was true of forums 5-10 years ago and the same thing is true of a lot of brand sentiment on Twitter.
We’re told that we NEED to allow “the dialogue” to continue unedited, uncensored and show transperency. Problem is – this content is generally supported/funded by ad dollars and we need to ask the question – do advertisers want to be running their carefully managed, crafted and developed brands next to Joe Dickwad’s 2 cents about life.
Case in point – here is an article on yahoo!7 sport about the Matthew Johns incident – http://au.sports.yahoo.com/news/article/-/5574575/scandal-puts-sharks-skid-row
“Scandal puts Sharks on Skid Row” it reads. The article is harmless – it’s 200 words probably from a feed.
The comments are more interesting, perhaps sensitive. There’s 97 of them.
Here’s some of the more colourful ones …
“This little skank has had second thoughts and has then proceeded to go to the police and they found nothing illegal”
“I wander is she has aids? Or any of the players? Sexual disease anyone?”
“no body put a gun to is low lifes head, she loved it”
“When that girl went into a toilet with some broncos, she knew she was up for some action. And then she try’s to hide behind being a women to get out of it. It’s all her fault and these poor footballers have been disgraced.”
“I am sick of this “dirty girl” she never said a word for 7 years – she bragged about it at the time and now all her friends and workmates think she is a trollop (and rightly so) – she probably has no friends over it and its all her fault. She enticed them to her room”
“She may have regretted it but wasnt it the 2nd time she done it?..or did she only regret it the 2nd time..give me a break she was a trollop.”
To be fair, there are a lot of more sane comments … but the issue remains there’s a lot of sh*t being spoken. I’m not ganging up on Yahoo!7 – the issue is prevalent across most news providers.
The question needs to be asked – is this a good area for an advertiser to be around? Remembering – there is no shortage of advertising supply out there … are there better areas to spend advertisers money?