Saturday, 2 June 2012

Dating with Desmond

Today, the homepage of the Daily Star leads with three stories about the Jubilee. The next 'story' is this:

That's the fourth most important story of the day?

The headline and intro reeks of churnalism, but it's only when you read the article - which carries no byline - that you see how shameless it is:

Finding time to make new friends can be hard if you’re already juggling a million things on a daily basis.

And that’s something many of us with hectic lifestyles can identify with. Around five million Brits admit to being too busy to widen their social circle – but what’s the solution?

You need a fast, easy and affordable way to meet like-minded people to have fun with, be that grabbing a drink, chatting over a pub lunch or heading out to the cinema.

Well there’s never been a simpler or safer way to find what you want – and it’s quick, easy and free to join.

Whether you’re just looking for friendship, to date casually, or even a lasting relationship, [name removed], Britain’s newest dating website, promises to make it easier than ever before to meet people you click with in a safe, secure and trusted environment.

Forget anything you may have heard in the past about online dating. There’s a very good reason why more people than ever before are logging on.

Clearly, this is a sales pitch, not a news story. It goes on to name the website in question seven times, and links to the site on five of those occasions. 

An almost identical article about this dating site appears on the Express' website too.

Although churnalism among newspapers isn't exactly uncommon, this is particularly blatant. And when you click through to the dating website, it suddenly becomes clear what's going on here - at the bottom of the homepage it says:

Operated for Northern & Shell by The Dating Lab.

Richard Desmond's Northern and Shell also owns the Star and the Express.


  1. Look at the positive aspects. If it keeps all the Expresstards together in one location, it must reduce the chances of normal folks accidentally encountering them. The mind does boggle at what an ideal first date for two of them would involve.... A trip to Nuremberg and a check on house prices?

  2. I think the clue is in the button after the article:


  3. I'm just annoyed that they didn't try to do something with "struggling" and "juggling" in that opening sentence. Seems like a pretty easy opportunity for a pointless rhyme there.

  4. I'm fairly sure a newspaper publishing an marketing piece like this without labelling it as such is illegal.

    Any bets they get away with it?


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