Y'know, besides the names of who owns, writes and edits their site?
Actually, it's no mystery: Naked Philly (ironic slogan: We've Got Nothing To Hide!) is owned and operated by Ori Feibush of OCF Realty (Ironic bio note: "Transparency is a word you hear a lot these days. And at OCF, it really means something.")
From my understanding of the conversation Feibush and I had today, the site serves two purposes. First, the Naked Philly blog is supposed to build buzz for the neighborhoods in which OCF Realty does business, which sounds a bit like the Philebrity/Blatstein model of early-days covert advertorial blogging. Second, Feibush told me, the Naked Philly site was launched in advance of some crazyass mapping tool he's almost ready to launch and which actually sounds pretty cool.
The idea, he told me, was for the mapping tool to be ready to go around the same time as the Naked Philly site. It hasn't happened that way.
What has happened instead? Since the demise of the much-beloved but short-lived Brownstoner Philly site in December, there's been a bit of a rush to fill the void in covering the city's land use/building/development/real estate scene -- an area of activity so ripe with news it practically falls from the trees. The site I work for, Plan Philly, is part of that world, though the mission there is a legitimately journalistic one.
The way Feibush explained it, the Naked Philly site has sort of taken on a life of its own in the meantime, as people are genuinely interested in what's happening in the city's built environment. "The idea is to showcase properties in areas that otherwise wouldn't get noticed," he said. Fair enough.
Problem is, the folks "writing" the site (more on that in a second) have spent so much time reprinting press releases, running unsourced information and borrowing from others, they're building much more suspicion than credibility. Some of their posts are really good, but lacking essential information like where the information comes from or why anyone should believe it.
Earlier this week I called them out on lifting ideas and specific words from two of my stories. To his credit, Feibush responded promptly, appropriately and professionally to my concerns, telling me today it was "blatantly apparent" that his writer had used my work. It was a difficult conversation and I give him credit for it.
As for the writer, I agreed not to out her (though I do know who she is) because her name hadn't been on the original posts. That's called professional courtesy -- much like the practice of linking and crediting others' work when you reference it in your blog posts. See what I did there?
Anyway, I'm over it and willing to take Feibush at his word when he says the site never intended to come off as some sketchy cloak-and-dagger thing. And because I have seen some genuinely useful posts on Naked Philly, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and will keep reading. Perhaps you will, too.