The Yolo Bro And The Death of Journalism

By: John Honovich, Published on Apr 24, 2018

There's an old quote:

The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable

Unfortunately, the opposite is more typical in the security industry, and it is getting worse, as print dies out and old school publications turn to increasingly embarrassing means to make money.

Meet Steven Karantzoulidis, web 'editor' at Security Sales and Integration (SSI) magazine. Karantzoulidis most recent publication was a slideshow on 7 Awesome Pens Given Away at ISC West 2018, in which he praised Axis' pen, declaring 'this baby was built for performance':

And ZKTeco for those who 'want a pen with cool biometric symbols on it':

Unfortunately, this is not a one-off. Slideshows are Karantzoulidis's go-to-move, with his ongoing surveillance videos series of shootouts, brawls and drug dealing:

Slideshows - Cheap To Make, Lots of Ads

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While slideshows offer little value to users, they do have two upsides for publishers: (1) They are cheap to make - it requires minimal expertise and research. Simply gather pictures or videos, write a few comments and done. (2) Becuase the reader/viewer needs to click for each image or video, the publisher gets up to 10x the amount of advertising impressions of a conventional single page article.

YOLO Bro

Karantzoulidis has made it clear he has no shame about what he does:

Laughing about pens and liquor store shootouts and batteries blowing up in people's faces is Karantzoulidis's thing.

Journalists "Partner" With Manufacturers

He is no outlier. This is how SSI operates. Even worse is that SSI has started recently, in their own words, being a 'partner' with manufacturers as this ongoing series with Dahua demonstrates:

It is bad enough that trade magazines, in this industry, overwhelmingly re-run manufacturer press releases or conduct 'interviews' where the manufacturer gets to say whatever they want. SSI has taken it to the next level of publicly partnering with them.

Fabricating Monthly Audience

Despite partnering with manufacturers and running these slideshows, SSI still resorts to massively fabricating their total monthly audience.

With SSI's 'methodology', you could claim to be 12 feet tall by summing the length of each arm and leg to your height. The most absurd part is adding up website users with website pageviews since, by definition, pageviews are performed by users, making it guaranteed that the 110,087 is fabricated 'audience'. Moreover, the deception exists with combining different newsletters, social media 'followers' etc.

And SSI knows this is fabricated, they add in fine print at the bottom that effectively admits as much:

As if they could not 'attempt' to identify or eliminate 'duplication'.

Bad For The Industry

The industry needs more organizations doing real research, reporting and criticism. Both end users and integrators would greatly benefit from better information.

And even us, who may benefit from this state, would like to see more alternatives for real journalism. As is, being 'alone' makes it easy for the manufacturers to portray us as an outlier, and that the normal and correct way things should work is 'partnering' and pandering to advertisers.

Print media is, no doubt, dying but that does not mean the future must be yolo bros.

2 reports cite this report:

SSN Publisher Quits, Starts New Print Trade Magazine on May 11, 2018
[link no longer available] After a decade as the publisher and face of...
Bogus Research Plus Lazy Reporting - SSI And 'Global Market Insights' Examined on May 07, 2018
If you wonder why there is so much obviously wrong information online...
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