Since Peter Rost took control of the blog formerly known as BrandweekNRX -- the "Brandweek" part of the name has been dropped and it is now known simply as "NRx" -- he has been hard at work. Mostly he's been marketing himself, linking back and forth between NRx and his Question Authority blog, and spinning facts. When he cannot spin the facts, he just misquotes the facts.
NOTE: It seems that Nielsen Business Media, owner of Brandweek -- the trusted print publication formerly associated with NRx -- is busy putting some distance between Brandweek and the NRx blog. First, the name change, which is evident in the new logo although the URL still has "brandweek" in it. Second, if you go to the Nielsen page that lists its publications, you won't find BrandweekNRx blog mentioned in the "Brandweek" section. Consequently, if you are a new reader of NRx, you are not going to know the association, if any, between the blog and Brandweek! There's no "About" section or anything else that will tell you who's responsible for the blog unless you scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the copyright notice. And who besides me is going to do that?A recent NRx post entitled "The most effective marketing" looks interesting until you actually read what Rost has to say, which is:
"The most effective marketing is the marketing you're not aware of," says Dr. Peter Rost, a one-time pharmaceutical company marketing executive who has become an Internet-based industry watchdog. "If you see an ad, you know it's marketing. But if a friend or your doctor talks to you about a drug, you don't."That's it! No analysis, no discussion, just pure self-promotion! Seems like this will be the tenor of NRx from now on.
Read the entire article "Under the influence" by By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer.
When Rost isn't busy hogging NRx bandwidth with self-promotional posts, he's grasping at straws to counteract criticism. He is not above distorting facts to prove his case, which is not a very good attribute for a "journalist blogger."
For example, Rost didn't like the data I presented from the Pharma Blogosphere Reader Survey, which suggested to me that BrandweekNRx would lose credibility with its most important audience -- pharmaceutical executives (see my post here).
"In my prior post I described how industry consultant John Mack strongly suggested for Brandweek to fire me." (See here)Unfortunately, as Rost well knows, I never strongly or otherwise suggested that Brandweek fire him.
What I said was:
"IMHO, Brandweek should seriously consider the data I have presented above, because it signals that BrandweekNRX may lose some of its credibility and usefulness, especially among its most important audience: pharmaceutical executives.Which to me seems like a balanced criticism. I even used "balance" in my quote! Never did I use the word "fire" nor did I call for Brandweek to take any action except to look at the data I presented.
"Of course, you have to balance that against all the great publicity and perhaps greater readability that Rost will bring to BrandweekNRX."
If Rost is willing to twist comments from me to suit his own purposes, then one has to wonder how he twists comments in his coverage of the pharmaceutical industry. This may be a moot point since, to date, Rost has not done much coverage of issues of interest to the pharmaceutical industry on NRx.
Christiane Truelove, a true journalist, summarized my position very aptly in her "PharmaBlog Week in Review:"
John Mack over at the Pharma Marketing Blog was less than thrilled with the appointment. "There’s a saying us Brooklynites have to live with all our lives, no matter where we end up calling home: 'You can take the girl [boy] out of Brooklyn, but you can't take Brooklyn out of the girl [boy],'" he writes. "Which means, you can always recognize someone from Brooklyn by their accent and bias for their place of birth. Applying this to Rost at BrandweekNRX, you could say that, 'You can take Rost out of Question Authority [where he is anti-industry], but you can't all of a sudden expect him to be an unbiased journalist.'"Truelove goes on to say, "For me, the appointment shows that bloggers can have the makings of good journalists." Good journalists, IMHO, do NOT distort the facts to defend THEMSELVES from critical reviews.
But I am not holding my breath for a retraction and apology from Rost for misquoting me. Let's just move on...
Rost really gets his spin machine in motion in his criticism of the Pharma Blogosphere Survey data. I did not make any friends with that survey! Every blogger who did not get a TOP rating dissed it instead of using the results to improve their blogs. Rost seems to be one of those disgruntled bloggers. He claims:
It turns out that in the "biggest pharma blog survey ever conducted," John didn’t really do a survey of pharma blog readers. He simply ended up with responses from his own readers of his Pharma Marketing Blog. Perhaps not surprising, since that's where the survey was done."It turns out"that this is a lie!
First of all, the survey was NOT done "from" my blog (Pharma Marketing Blog). It was done from right here on Pharma Blogosphere. It was advertised on my blog as well as other blogs that opted in to my invitation to get the notice to their readers. Rost even helped by linking to the survey on his blog.
Yes, 73% of the 144 or so respondents claimed they read Pharma Marketing Blog (this excludes those that Never or Rarely read it). A respectable 31% of the survey respondents also read Peter Rost's blog (Question Authority) and 73% of those people also read Pharma Marketing Blog.
If most respondents ALSO read my blog, that says more about the popularity of my blog than about "surveying ONLY my readers," which is how Rost sees it.
Besides, when we* did the analysis of readability, usability and credibility, we only included results from people who actually claimed to read the blogs in question at least occasionally and did not include opinions from readers who never read the blog. So, a blog's ratings are based on opinions of readers of that blog, not mine. If they just so happen to be readers of my blog, that is irrelevant to the analysis.
*I had help analyzing the data from an independent third party: Chris Pounds at Myriad Pharmaceuticals who is an experienced market researcher and who knows how to use pivot tables in Excel and how to exclude data that may bias the results.You can read the survey summary here and download the raw data here.
Rost and I know that most people won't bother to download the raw data and do their own analysis. C'est la vie!