I have an axe to grind. Stupid Apple Rumors looked at the statistical accuracy of Apple rumor sites.
2 of 9 accurate
In third place, Appleinsider with 46 stories reported on, nine of them original to the site. Out of those nine, two were accurate. That’s a success rate of only 22% of their *own* rumors and only 4% of rumors overall.
1 of 14 accurate
In second was The Boy Genius Report (BGR) with 42 rumors published, 14 original. Out of those 14, one was accurate. A success rate of only 7% of their own rumors and 2% of rumors overall.
4 of 23 accurate
Leading the pack is….drum roll please…9to5Mac with 51 rumors published, 23 original to 9to5Mac. They are responsible for 31% of the rumors we have tracked, by far the most of any web site. But how accurate are they?
Out of the 23 rumors they originated in the time frame Stupid Apple Rumors has been tracking them, four have been marked as true – a 17% success rate on their own rumors and only 7% overall.
I started following BGR only a couple months ago when some good friends recommended that the site had the best track record, and the best exclusives. Nope; they empirically suck. The day BGR published the iPhone 5 exclusive to Sprint rumor, I unsubscribed.
I didn’t really need Stupid Apple Rumors to tell me how awful the rumor mill is at spitting out correct rumors. The problem isn’t the rumors that you and I have to discern true or false. I feel confident that anyone who follows Apple rumors long enough can spot which ones don’t belong. The problem is the ridiculous rumors republished by big news sources, and big news source readers (like your mother-in-law) who can’t make the distinction.
Some rumors are believable, but difficult to tie out. Some rumors, however, when published, show such a terrible lack of consideration on the part of the publisher as to consider motives. That Sprint 5 rumor was awful; and yet BGR expressed enough confidence that CNBC and WSJ published it as fact.
Random sensational crap
Only 22% of rumors are accurate – which is almost an acceptable level. Most of the sites however, fall far below that level. John Gruber points out that it wouldn’t be too hard to get a very accurate rumor site going. It would just be hard to post frequently. The model of making money from eyeballs rather than accuracy has lead to sites with nothing more than random sensational crap.
It’s getting old. Sites with 7% accuracy don’t deserve our follow – let alone 2% overall accuracy. Stop “wasting our valuable time with ridiculous stories from ridiculous sources”.
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