When it comes to the media, nobody’s more cynical than I am. It’s all about getting folks to click and generate advertising revenue, right? Well, yes and no. There’s definitely one big exception.

Some of us, albeit a small and probably shrinking number, are neither motivated nor compensated by page views. We actually have something called self-respect, not to mention a responsibility to stand behind what we write, whether it’s presented as fact or opinion.

Whenever I publish a column, a book, or a blog post, I’m putting my credibility and reputation on the line, and that’s a pretty big deal, at least it is to me. Which is why, when someone calls something I wrote “clickbait,” it sort of gets my attention, as you can see from this Twitter exchange relating to a recent Fox Business column, Why I Hate Apps:

Just to be clear, I’ve got no problem with those who disagree with me. If anything I’m more surprised when folks actually support my position. After all, my views on business, leadership, technology, and culture do tend to be controversial and contrarian, if not downright unpopular.

And when you grow up on the streets of New York and spend decades in the hallowed halls and boardrooms of the highly competitive tech industry, you can’t help but develop a thick skin. Besides, I’m a big believer in constructive conflict as the cornerstone of effective decision-making.

But the fatal mistake this twit — I mean this guy made, is assuming that I’m like him. Specifically, he seems to think that I make a living off ads just as he does. Not only does that reveal what motivates him, it also goes a long way toward supporting my original argument, that the app craze is not nearly as beneficial as it appears to be.

While the column in question did not actually mention his wine app, Hello Vino, maybe it should have. I’ve since checked it out and, lo and behold, it recommends specific brands. What a shocker. So instead of seeing the nearly limitless choices the wine world offers in an unbiased format, users appear to be getting an infinitesimally narrow sliver. Fair enough, it’s perfectly legal, but user beware.

The point is this. The one thing you’re sure to find if you spend any time with wine makers or in wine country is that everyone you meet has a passion for wine. If you want to learn about wine; that’s a good place to start. And if you want to understand wine, the best way to do that is by trial and error – by experiencing it first-hand.

Since I’ve spent a good many years doing just that, wine is more than just a hobby for me. It’s a real passion. In contrast, you can scan hundreds of this app developer’s tweets over a period of months before finding one that’s even related to wine. No surprise there.

Look, the only way to make good decisions is through personal experience and unbiased knowledge. And since free apps are often monetized through ad revenue, users sacrifice both when they try to learn about something as experiential as wine through an app developed by a guy with a passion for marketing.

Besides, it’s wine. You drink it. You enjoy it with friends. And while some apps are essential and many offer great benefits, substituting for real life experience is definitely not one of them. One more thing. Don’t assume other people’s motives are the same as yours. That’s just obnoxious. Image

Flickr user Robert Wallace