Politics & Media
Jan 23, 2009, 06:31AM

Sleeze to staunch the flow of blood

Village Voice Media is now relying on some outright terrible (as in: sleezy, degrading, immoral) tactics to boost revenue.


For example, if you search for a review of Nick’s Crispy Tacos on the San Francisco Weekly’s site, a review from Likeme user LaraW is prominently displayed on the San Francisco Weekly’s page for the restaurant under the heading “The Inside Word on Nick’s Crispy Tacos.”

“If you’re looking for a great midweek activity that doesn’t cost a fortune, this is a great place to go,” LaraW gushes. “The crowd is always fun and the food is awesome.”

“Lara W” is actually Lara Weiss, the advertising coordinator for the San Francisco Weekly, where Nick’s Crispy Tacos advertises.

And Weiss isn’t the only advertising staffer at a VVM paper writing reviews. Jessica Hill, the Phoenix New Times marketing director, raves that Phoenix nightclub Bar Smith is “THE place to be on a Saturday night,” while Kansas City Pitch advertising director Britton Hunter proclaims that Waldo Pizza has “excellent pizza and GREAT ranch dressing!!” Bar Smith advertises in the Phoenix New Times; Waldo Pizza advertises in the Pitch. In fact, just about every VVM publisher, promotions manager, and ad rep have accounts on Likeme, which is easy to find when cross-referenced with each paper’s staff list.

  • Wow, that's really sleazy. I suppose this practice (which has always been, at least for some publications, SOP, like the New York Times' "Circuits" section) is becoming more common. That it's happening with weekly newspapers is more disturbing, however, given their original missions. Desperate times call for foolish measures, I guess.

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