On January, 13, The Merkle published an article about the benefits of Bitcoin for EA platform Origin Access. But EA never really had any plans to start accepting Bitcoin payments for subscriptions. The article’s author, JP Buntix, just expressed his opinion on this. Nevertheless, such information could definitely cause some misunderstandings among readers.

Cointelegraph reached out to EA to find out if there’s any background for JP’s assumption. Bruce Baer, a member of the Origin: Access team, stated, that “currently there is no Bitcoin payment option for Origin: Access”.

“The article says that the writer thinks it would be a good idea to accept Bitcoin, it does not say that we do. We don’t have any news to share about new payment methods.  We’ll let you know if that changes”.

JP Buntix stated it was just an assumption which has no actual background. Roughly speaking, he just expressed his opinion.

“I have nothing to excuse for, the article never said EA accepts Bitcoin. It says their service could benefit from Bitcoin”, said JP Buntix to Cointelegraph.

JP Buntix, the article’s author on The Merkle

Nevertheless, some may have quite the opposite opinion about JP’s article. George Gor, the Editor-in-Chief and Head of Editorial at Cointelegraph, stated:

“Many authors are trying to advise big companies what to do just to make their text more SEO-friendly and to add the “Bitcoin” word into the text. Too bad that journalism turns into graphomania with bloggers attempting to attract readers with factless texts. Authors just add the word “Bitcoin” into a headline and wait until it brings them 1,000,000 views from people searching Bitcoin in Google”.

Hype Articles

Be that as it may, there’s nothing criminal in expressing opinions. At least, JP’s article reflects his own opinion, written with his own words. Is it really newsworthy? Perhaps, the readers will answer the question for themselves. Bas Wisselink, co-founder of NXT Foundation stated:

“If this article by JBP actually had stated that EA was going to do this, then it would not only be ethically suspect, but wrong. However, there is nothing in the article that states this. The article clearly is only saying that it bitcoin would be good to use for such a service. That is its message. The article is an opinion piece and it is clear to me it is nothing more than that”.

Bas Wisselink, co-founder of NXT Foundation

George Papageorgiou, a member of Bitcoin experts team at the University of Nicosia, Greece, seems to agree with this:

“Anyone who thinks they discover some new use case for a business using bitcoin, is free to write about it, yes. Is this newsworthy ? I don't know. This is not Buzzfeed-level click-baiting though”.

Internet marketing consultant and Bitcoin enthusiast, Adam Guerbuez, thinks there’s “nothing new in websites, mainstream and blogs alike using carefully targeted keywords in their content to manipulate search result position for their content”. He also distinguishes the so-called hype articles, which “are less keyword rich and more packed with a type of hidden sales pitch, to sway public opinion”. He stated to Cointelegraph:

“The effectiveness of such articles depend on two key factors being syndication and just how convincing the article is. I see no harm in such hype articles since they are a key element when it comes to internet marketing with an end goal in place”.

He also thinks JP’s article to be a good example of such hype article.

Stop Copypasting and Unverified Facts

Meanwhile, there are plenty of cases, in which authors don’t even bother to write original articles, they just copypaste the news from other resources without even trying to make it look original or to verify the facts that they copy.

A bright example is the story about Yandex money accepting Bitcoin. Ivan Tikhonov, the head of BitsMedia, has posted on his Facebook page links to articles from six different Russian resources which are not only partially copypasted from each other, but also contain unverified facts that can mislead the readers. Ivan stated on his page:

“It’s not so very serious that they copy the news, but it’s hard to imagine how readers can be mislead by false fact if they have not enough competence to estimate the given information objectively”.

Adam Guerbuez has also shared his opinion on such kinds of low quality media.

“When authors publish content that is not relevant or cluttered with random keywords and no respect for proper grammar it is easy to pick them out for the average reader even, who will place less accountability to such articles. This is not the same as hype articles”.

It’s always up to readers to choose which article they will read and which one they will like more than others. There’s really nothing bad in authors using their own imagination and giving their own assumptions in their article as long as they don’t post false facts. George Gor summarised:

“There are cases when authors creativity requires using allegories associated with popular brands - like “Xerox” is used for “copy”. But where is that fringe, when allegories become intolerable as they can mislead the reader, giving them a prop in a bright wrapping?”

And what kind of articles do you prefer to see at professional media resources? What do you think, is it permissible for authors to use their own imagination in their articles or would you prefer to read facts only?