∞ Nintendo and iPhones – tracking the evolution of a rumor

A headline on a Bloomberg story written specifically to garner page views offer a prime example of how sloppy reporting and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) manipulation can converge to generate a veritable rumor storm in the Mac blogosphere.

[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]In their Bloomberg article, Naoko Fujimura and Yoshinori Eki explain that fund manager Masamitsu Ohki suggested in a note sent to investors that Nintendo should consider bringing its popular games and properties to the smartphone market.

“Nintendo should try to either buy its way into this platform or develop something totally new,” Ohki is quoted as saying in the Bloomberg report.

“He declined to identify his holdings or to name any companies that Kyoto, Japan-based Nintendo should consider as acquisition targets,” notes the report.

Never once is Ohki quotes as saying that Nintendo should bring its software to the iPhone or iOS, but an overzealous headline exclaims, “Mario Shunning IPhones [sic] Leads to Growing Discontent by Nintendo’s Investors.”

The only other “investor” cited in the article is MF Global FXA Securities Ltd., which suggested to investors in July to sell stock in Nintendo after the company denied that it’s bringing software to the iPhone.

The Pokemon Co., a separately-held organization, is developing an iPhone rhythm game based on Pokemon – but Nintendo refuted suggestions that it is bringing its own properties to the iPhone or any other non-Nintendo platform. Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata has made it clear that’s not on his agenda for as long as he controls the business.

Make no mistake – Bloomberg’s headline for this article was carefully crafted to draw as many eyes to it as possible. Putting “Nintendo” and “iPhone” in the same headline is bound to draw a large number of eyes to the story.

But that’s apparently as far as some in the Mac blogosphere were willing to read.

The most egregious example of headline abuse is Cult of Mac, which screams, “We want Super Mario on the iPhone!” Nintendo Investors Riot [Report].

Investors pushing Nintendo to support Apple’s iPhone, iPad, says AppleInsider.

Nintendo investors want Mario & Co. on the iPhone, says Macgasm.

Nintendo Faces Investor Pressure to Bring Games to iPhone, according to MacRumors.

Investors To Nintendo: Let’s Make This iOS Thing Happen, says Mac|Life, which based its coverage off MacRumors.

I’m sure there will be more before the end of the day, but that’s all the effort I want to make for this. It’s been debunked. This is how rumors get started on the Web. It’s ugly, it’s sloppy, and it’s not news.

[Updated 12:50 PM Thursday ET with additional examples, after Peter recovered from another sobbing fit.]