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The Grudge Against Drudge: O'Reilly May Be Right

It looks like Bill O'Reilly may have had a legitimate bone to pick with Matt Drudge over Drudge's posting of Bookscan sales for both O'Reilly's and Al Franken's books.

As the story went, O'Reilly claimed that Drudge wasn't reporting the right Bookscan numbers and his book finished higher than Franken's in the year end sales. Drudge reported that Franken's book finished higher.

What ensued was a catfight between O'Reilly and Drudge. Several people mentioned that this was a long-standing feud, nothing new. Some said that Drudge has a grudge against O'Reilly.

Well, imagine my surprise when I get my daily Publisher's Weekly email yesterday and this story pops up: [user: fchblog pw: fchblog]

When Bill O'Reilly and Al Franken were arguing last month about who had sold more books, online muckraker Matt Drudge stepped in with the final word by citing an inviolable source: BookScan.....

...So how representative are the service's numbers? An informal survey of the top-selling books of 2003 showed some surprising things.

BookScan generally claims to represent between 70% and 75% of sales in the industry (Wal-Mart and some of the supermarket chains are among those who decline to report.) But a comparison with in-print figures supplied by publishers reveals that the numbers are more likely to represent about 65%, even after deducting for unsold books and returns.

So, maybe the Bookscan numbers that Drudge posted were skewed. I was about to do some research on this when I got another email from PW, containing this tidbit:

So much for branding: BookScan says it has put Matt Drudge on alert about his use of their lists. While BookScan says it generally frowns upon a media source that cites a number without getting it from the company, it will only try to enforce its copyright against those who print more wholesale reproductions. "We have not licensed Mr. Drudge to put our numbers on his site," said the company's Jim King, noting that Drudge was the only offender. "We're concerned with what he's doing." King said he wasn't concerned that Drudge was jeopardizing the company's licensing agreements but said it wanted to be sure "the information was accurate and from a proper source."

So, even Bookscan says that Drudge's numbers may be wrong. Not only that, he shouldn't even be posting them. Perhaps this time O'Reilly's whining was justified.

I'm going to write Matt Drudge and ask him to defend himself on this one, but I hear the great one is too busy to answer mail from anyone other than celebrities and people running for president.

[Do I have a grudge against Drudge, you ask? Not really. I just don't think he's worth the god-like status he's given]

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Comments

Matt Drudge is a hack, his radio show is the most boring talk show on WABC. Many of his news flash articles on the Drudge Report are wrong.

He's still clinging on to the fame he got breaking the Monica Lewinsky scandal, but what else has he done worth mentioning since?

Wal-Mart stopped selling item movement data to IRI last year. The only reliable source on this is going to be O'Reilly's publisher.

"god-like status"? What god? Loki?

Regardless of whether Drudge should have posted the numbers or not, O'Reilly is still a whining putz who can't take any criticism. Apparently his No-Spin Zone doesn't extend to himself.

O'Reilly's publisher is not any more reliable than Bookscan... publishers lie all the time, as do retailers.

Bookscan is objecting because it wants people to have to pay to get info from them.... Drudge giving it for free is against their business model (even though the UK Bookscan does post on the net).

I like the Drudge Report website a lot, but some of the stuff he considers to be BIG NEWS is really lame. Like the stupid Reagan movie hoopla. You'da thunk the world was about to stop spinning during that whole episode. I couldn't tell if he wanted to be a real news guy or somekind of E! Online site.

O'Reilly I can't stand even a little bit. I can't watch his show at all. Starting to majorly dislike Hannity as well. They're too preachy.

Actually, any publisher is going to be the least reliable source of sales data - publishers always claim shipped numbers, not actual sales numbers. Bookscan, whether nor not Drudge reported their number correctly, is about as reliable as you can get, due it's being the point of sale (POS) numbers directly from registers. Perfect? hell no - but far better then the NYT, PW, CSM and other "best-seller" lists, which consists basically of calling stores and asking them what they've been selling.

To be fair - does WalMart move that many books? I mean, Walmart customers can't be that literate, otherwise they'd have read how anti-worker WalMart is and stopped going there.

He can't hold a candle to you Michele.

Man, Joseph, that faux populism just leaks out doesn't it?

FYI, Wal-Mart owns Sam's, which has huge tables of books on discount. And every Wal-Mart I've ever been in has a pretty well-stocked section of paperbacks and a few select hardbacks. I've no doubt that Wal-Mart patrons are perfect customers for O'Reilly's books, and not Franken's.

I really like the "Wal-Mart customers can't be that literate" line. As if literacy determined economic philosophy. My stepfather read vociferously all his life: Western novels and historical war novels. I guess he'd be illiterate under your terms.

When Drudge dumped the NYPress from his links because they insinuated that he was gay i thought this guy is a thin skinned moron.

O'Reilly is and has been a blow hard idiot egomaniac for quite some time now.

Someone should lock these two morons in a room together, give them knives and hope they both kill each other.

Drudge offers a link service, and O'Reilly is nothing but host of a show that serves to sell his idiot "no spin zone" gear.

If they were both to drop off the face of the earth i wouldn't miss them.

Maybe I'd care more about this if I gave a flying fig about either O'Reilly's or Franken's book.

Drudge had a book a few years back. Unlike Franken and O'Reilly, he's apparently decided since then to stick with what he knows how to do.

God-like? That's another good reason for me to remain an atheist. I read him long ago but soon tired of his misleading headline game, and lack of content mean I see no reason to visit his site. I'm willing to give you the title of Demi-Godess however!

Joseph, without reliable customer purchase data, the only number that can be relied on is warehouse withdrawal. Obviously the publisher has to be honest about returns/detroyed product. Those that are honest are trusted over time, those that aren't won't be. My only point was there isn't any POS aggregator out there measuring this, there is no retail reporting mechanism...all you got is what shipped.

(Forbes), in 2002, Wal-Mart/Sams accounted for about 16% of the NYT best seller list sales. Non-trivial number.

Oh, and on your literacy comment, bite me.

Piffle - I've seen the selection of books at Sams and Wal-Mart. Typical bestsellers selection, like the front tables of a Borders. Doesn't hold a candle to a decent bookstore.

Dave, BookScan is a POS system, which is why they're the only source of halfway reliable numbers. More people haven't signed onto it because they're afraid the business will suffer the same shift that happened to the music inudtry when MusicScan started - real numbers started coming in, and the hip-rop/rap artists were suddenly the big sellers, forcing a widescale upheaval of money and focus in the industry. You think the publishers want to admit how many copies of Danielle Steel novels get returned?

As for the literacy of Wal-Mart customers, that was referring (as you'll note in actually reading my post) that anyone who actually reads about Wal-Mart's business practices and dealings with their employees would conclude that this is a company not worth giving money to. Or do you like to give money to a company that forces workers to work unpaid overtime, uses illegal migrant workers, keeps unions out of their stores and has forced thousands of people out of work by saturating small towns across the country with their stores?

"Faux populism?" Sheesh.

"My stepfather read vociferously all his life...."

Vociferously, huh? I'll bet that was annoying.

Oops. I meant voraciously.

2. Having or marked by an insatiable appetite for an activity or pursuit; greedy: a voracious reader. - Dictionary.com

I'm actually astonished that you brought up Musicscan, because I think the results might actually scare you. When the musicscan started, it wasn't just rap/hip hop that benefied, but also country music, and alternative rock. And also, Christian Contemporary is a big hit.

I think it would really burst your bubble if you found out how many copies of the latest westersn, romance novels and Christian self-help guides were actually selling quite well.

As for Wal-Mart, why do you assume that I didn't read your post? Did your elitism not show through well enough.

Anyone who could read would know better than to shop at Gulag-Mart. I think I understood your point (and the subtext) pretty well.

I have to say that the business practices you mention are certainly no worse than those of McDonalds (where I have worked), the agricultural industry (ever heard of migrant workers, Joe?) and any number of other companies (not to mention Nike and just about every other shoe and clothing manufacturer that has shipped jobs overseas to cut prices). So to follow your suggestion to its logical conclusion, we should grow our own food and livestock, weave our own clothes and live in grass huts.

Hmmm. I think I'll stay with Wal-Mart, thanks.

Joseph,

I didn't mention Bookscan, because it's irrelevant. It may be a POS system, hell it could be a waffle iron for all the difference it makes, because different retailers use different POS systems. Some of them are sophisticated, like me, and some are cigar boxes, if the shoe fits blah blah..

But none of them are integrated. Therefore none aggregate (sorry, big word there, "add up") consumer purchase data.

Wal-Mart no longer sells its consumer POS data to IRI - so no one gets to look at their numbers except their suppliers. So the only number that can be referenced is warehouse shipment.

I'm quite familiar with Wal-mart's business practices. They are "sell it to the customer for the lowest possible price". That means pay employees what their labor is worth, avoid union toeholds by making sure your employees don't think they need union representation.

They aren't perfect. But people sure do like those low prices, don't they?

When Wal-mart ceases to provide value, customers will cease providing them money.

As to the immigrant worker cases - Wal-mart has gone on the record saying they were cooperating with the FBI and INS, both the Philadelphia and Chicago offices, for the past 3 years. They made the recordings of mid level managers implicating cleaning contractors at the request of the investigating agents. They were also fined by the INS in 1996 for requiring contractors to provide additional documentary evidence that their employees had legal work status in the US, for doing the SAME thing they're getting charged with ignoring now.

Who's right? We'll see. And while neither you nor I can prove it one way or the other, I find it fascinating that all those agents in charge and prosecuting attorneys who couldn't get enough of the cameras and newpapers back in October...not one of them has anything to say now except "no comment".

All Drugde does is link news stories, which we all can do. He has got the odd scoop but when is the last time he has done that, the year 2000. Got one word for Drudge, OVERATED!

I've got to agree on the show being boring. It comes on: I turn the radio off.

What kind of bookstore would meet "decent" criteria? I've seen used bookstores that have - shock - a poor selection! The nerve... they should have better selections than places that earn money, darn it. /sarcasm

Subj: RE: who is the fool????
Date: 4/6/2004 1:45:07 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: Geoff.Gloeckler@wal-mart.com
To: KeepnAll4me@aol.com
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Thanks for the feedback. It is appreciated.

Geoff Gloeckler
Editor / Writer
Wal - Mart World
phone:(479) 273-6831
fax:(479) 277-2487

> ----------
> From: KeepnAll4me@aol.com
> Sent: Tuesday, April 6, 2004 3:03 PM
> To: wmworld@wal-mart.com
> Subject: who is the fool????
>
> patrick did not say walmart once in your story. walmart does not offer
> patrick a chance at managing. why ? was patrick a better worker when he
> could not read ?
> this story was to make us look the other way and not think you take
> advantage of
> people like this. patrick did it on his own. he would have thanked
> walmart in the
> story if walmart deserved it i think. it says no where in the story that
> walmart helped
> at all. walmart kept his esteem low by not telling him how to get an
> education. you
> do not have to pay $13,000.00 to learn to read. it was worth it. he gets
> to leave you
> slobs behind. patrick fooled you and made it. take a reading lesson from
> patrick and
> maybe he can show you idiots how not to leave so many holes in a story.
> you had
> to feel real stupid when you didnt upgrade his name tag before the
> picture. you cant
> show the plak either. it wont support how you tell the story will it.
> patrick just recently came to electronics. you think we are so stupid out
> here. good job patrick!
>

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