Jeff Jarvis has an amusing tirade against the lame Thanksgiving eve stories of TV ("The lead story is that the roads and airports will be crowded this morning. Now that’s news!") to which I'd add: how about the lame PR pitches this time of year about the dangers of shopping online? I've had half a dozen this year and I don't even pretend to live in the U.S. Here's a sampling (all follow with pitch to talk to client, needless to say):
- As Black Friday and Cyber Monday near and the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear, consumers still appear to have the jitters when shopping online through unfamiliar, lesser-known merchants. (Pitching online security software)
- With approximately $56.6 billion stolen so far in 2006 as a result of personal ID theft, all shoppers should be aware of ways to make their online experience more secure. (pitching a fingerprint reader)
- With recent research suggesting that 60% of consumers terminated or considered terminating a relationship due to mishandling of their private information and new laws in place that levy stiff fines against organizations that have consumer data slip through their networks, it is more important than ever for retailers and payment processors to secure and safeguard consumer data. (Pitching data privacy service)
- As Black Friday approaches, identity theft is not the only concern keeping shoppers offline this holiday season - trustworthiness of the retailer, non-delivery, quality of merchandise, and shipping costs are all concerns, especially when buying from smaller, independent online retailers (pitching online security software; actually same product as the first one, different pitcher and angle)
- The 2006 holiday shopping season kicks off today. This is also the high season for pick-pockets, department store thieves and Internet marauders. (pitching something or other, I've forgotten.)
Yadayadayada. It goes on. Not an interesting or original line among them. Admittedly, I'm not desperate for story ideas, but these are a) so lacking in imagination and b) so steeped in the assumption that us journalists write the same kind of story as each other, year in, year out, I want to weep.
So if you find yourself reading tired stories about the 'dangers of shopping online' stories in your mainstream media diet, you'll know where the idea for them came from. I better start working on mine to be ahead of the rush.