According to an article published Thursday in the Detroit News, the time-honored system of automakers distributing photographs and specifications of upcoming vehicles to the media and then embargoing their release for maximum exposure during auto shows has been thrown under the bus.
For years, press releases have been dated as to when the information could be disseminated. The blogosphere, of which we at Corvette Blog are obviously a part, has heightened the competition to be the first to publish information and photos of new cars.
This past year, information about a number of vehicles leaked out early, including embargoed info about sister vehicles to the Corvette: Chevy Malibu and Chevy Camaro Convertible.
According to the article, authored by David Shepardson, “While Internet leaks are not new, the practice has never been as rampant as today and it’s forcing automakers to rethink how they unveil new vehicles.”
Suggesting the scope of the problem, GM spokesperson Chris Preuss commented that, "Conservatively, the majority of our embargoes were compromised over the last six to 12 months."
Quoting further from the article: “Kevin Smith, editorial director of Edmunds.com, which gets 10 million unique visitors monthly, including 2.5 million to its inside line editorial section, sent a Dec. 28 note to automakers, explaining the site’s decision not to abide by an embargo once a major competitor has broken it.
"’In the last two weeks, an amazing amount of embargoed information was published early on Web sites, in print, and scanned from magazines and then posted online,’ Smith said in his e-mail. ‘Whether those were intentional embargo breaks, inadvertent violations or the results of exclusive deals is impossible for us to tell and is in any case irrelevant.
“’We have no choice but to consider an embargo no longer operative once the information is published by a major outlet. That is due to the simple realities of the modern electronic media space. If we don’t publish it within hours, sometimes minutes, it may not be worth our covering the subject area at all.’”
What do you think? Should bloggers, spies, and the general press respect the stated embargoes of the automakers?