Journalists, reporters, and less formally, bloggers and social media influencers, live in a world where the speed to a story is paramount for their success (sometimes even at the demise of accuracy). Being the first to publish breaking news and get “the scoop” early is critical to getting website hits, social media likes, and re-posts. With social media, everyone is a reporter and able to break news, meaning that journalists have to work hard and fast to get news quickly. Savvy companies are able to capitalize on reporters’ aggressive appetite to get information early and can attain a tremendous amount of earned media and press with very few resources. Leaking product information prior to a release is a tactic that Apple certainly mastered and has used for years to generate additional buzz around a launch event or coming product. Reading or hearing about leaked information gives the consumer a feeling of being “in the know” attracts a lot of attention. On April 27, 2016, Amazon launched the Kindle Oasis and made the product available for purchase for the first time. The product was “officially” released two weeks prior on April 13; however, there were several news stories about the launch and the product itself in the ten days prior. On April 4, 2016, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, sent the following tweet:
“Heads up readers – all-new, top of the line Kindle almost ready. 8th generation. Details next week.” – Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos)
That was enough to get the new stories flowing including from The Wall Street Journal, PCMag, PCWorld, TechAdvisor, BGR.com, among other news outlets in addition to countless blog articles and posts.
One article in particular from PCMag is called, “Whoops! Amazon Kindle ‘Oasis’ Details Leak” included links to multiple sources with leaked product details. Not ironically, much of the “leaked” data came from Amazon itself.
This firestorm of media originally came from a one-line tweet and a few strategically placed product details. The leaked data did not give away all of the details of the product (and temper the actual launch), but it did provide just enough to “wet the appetite” of the consumers and generate the buzz that Amazon was looking to achieve.