Now in the 14th month of the race for 5 billion Amazon bucks, we can still say relatively few things with absolute certainty. There are 20 remaining cities, although rumors seem to be narrowing us in on a select few—Dallas included. We could be talking about a twofer, an even split between two cities, although there’s been no comment from Amazon to that end, either. The New York Times is reporting that the giant internet retailer is poised to park it in both Long Island and Crystal City, Virginia. But until we get a formal announcement—and fingers crossed it comes soon—I’m hanging tight.
What we can say with certainty right now is that throughout the seemingly endless process, Amazon has earned an incredible amount of free advertising. You know this already because you’re on the internet a lot and see the stories (you should probably get back to work, btw). I got curious about just how much. So I did something extremely scientific. I went to a few of the world wide websites of Dallas’ major media players and searched for the term “HQ2.” And you will not believe what I found.
An incredible amount of free advertising, man! At the Dallas Morning News, we have 265 stories that mention “HQ2.” That’s more than one every other day. The Dallas Business Journal has 315 stories with that phrase inside. At the Star-Telegram, which seems to have stopped writing about its chances after Amazon’s top 20 contenders list named Dallas—not really specifying whether that meant the whole region or just the city—we still have 43 mentions. If you’re wondering, we’ve chimed in 21—check that, 22—times.
It’s an imperfect measure, to be sure. A few of these mentions are one-offs in stories about other things. And not all of them required in-house resources to produce: Some of the DMN’s results are letters to the editor and some of the DBJ’s come from other newsrooms within its national network of business journals. That doesn’t matter when it comes to air-time.
The sheer number of mentions is telling of the kind of attention rooted out by this corporate clown show, which experts have suggested might be at least part of the point. And it’s not just here. You go to the Chicago Tribune, you find 212 references. Check in with the Columbus Dispatch, of top-20er Columbus, Ohio (did we believe these techies were going to sit it down in Columbus?), and you get 51. The Washington Post has fired up the phrase 115 times.
The winner will get 50,000 jobs, or half that if it’s a split, and Amazon promises that the average salary will weigh-in at six figures. It’s the kind of thing that will transform a city, in plenty of ways good and bad. I’m sorry to say, you’ll get hundreds of more stories about that.