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I revised the lead to better convey the topic. -- Jreferee (talk) 16:01, 29 June 2013 (UTC)


I'm keeping a workspace here for new sources/updates as I see them. CorporateM (Talk) 12:49, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

  • In August 2013, SolarCity Corporation said it would buy Guthy-Renker's Paramount Solar for $120 million
Groom, Nichola (August 13, 2013). "SolarCity to pay $120 million for direct-marketing company". Reuters. Retrieved September 4, 2013. 

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Guthy-Renker/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Edge3 (talk · contribs) 04:25, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Good Article review progress box
Criteria: 1a. prose (Symbol support vote.svg) 1b. MoS (Symbol support vote.svg) 2a. ref layout (Symbol support vote.svg) 2b. cites WP:RS (Symbol support vote.svg) 2c. no WP:OR (Symbol support vote.svg) 3a. broadness (Symbol support vote.svg)
3b. focus (Symbol support vote.svg) 4. neutral (Symbol support vote.svg) 5. stable (Symbol support vote.svg) 6a. free or tagged images (Symbol support vote.svg) 6b. pics relevant (Symbol support vote.svg)
Note: this represents where the article stands relative to the Good Article criteria. Criteria marked Symbol comment.png are unassessed

I'm happy to review this article, given my familiarity with the topic from the Proactiv GAN. I expect to complete this review within one week, barring any unexpected major issues. Here are my preliminary, high-level remarks:

  • @CorporateM: If you have any COI declarations, please post them on the talk page.
Yes check.svg Done It looks like it got archived. The Connected Contributor tag is a good way to keep it on the Talk page
  • Please resolve all errors with the citation templates. It appears that they are related to missing URLs.
Yes check.svg Done Most of these are not available online, so I removed the accessdates that were causing the issue, but added a URL to one where I could find it. I have PDFs of some of these sources I can email you.
  • Is it necessary to include "LLC" in the first sentence? I have not found relevant guidance in WP:LEAD, and there appears to be no precedent in similar articles.
Yes check.svg Done I have no opinion on it and took it out
  • Please rewrite the lead section to give appropriate weight to each topic covered in the article. For example, the lead could focus more on their particular style of infomercials, and less on the financial value of the company. For example, the lead mentions $1.5 billion in sales revenue in 2009. This is meaningless without context; $1.5 billion in sales is a lot for some companies, and small for others. I think it would be better to discuss the financial details within the body of the article, and provide a high-level overview in the lead section.
Yes check.svg Done I will take another look at it later as well. Sometimes these articles get worse by time they obtain a GA reviewer. I'm pretty sure I didn't write "Lead by their marketing success" and some of the sentences were not very well put together.
  • The content is not clearly divided between sections. Please ensure that all content within each section relates to a common theme.
  • "Market research showed that 70 percent of Guthy-Renker's audience were women, so the company started hiring female celebrities to sell cosmetics and skin-care products" is in the "History" section, but it sounds like a marketing statement that might fit better with the "Infomercials" content. Other sentences within the same paragraph are discussing housewares and fitness products, and not the management or financial history of the company.
  • As for the "Infomercials" section, should this be named more broadly as a "Marketing" section? Also, this section discusses the company's revenues from Proactiv, but this sounds like a statement on the company's finances rather than its marketing strategy.
Let me think about the best way to handle this. We should definitely change it from "infomercials", since it's not just infomercials, but I don't know about "Marketing" because Marketing is the actual product or service they offer, as oppose to marketing for themselves and I usually include historic changes to the product under History. I'm thinking maybe something like "Products and services" but I don't know. CorporateM (Talk) 13:07, 21 October 2013 (UTC)
Actually, there is only really 1-1.5 sentences about marketing. Most of this is about the Products they sell. What about just "Products"? CorporateM (Talk) 18:53, 21 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I think "Products" would be a good title for this type of section. What about the "history" section? How will you address "historic changes to the product", as you describe them? Edge3 (talk) 03:43, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Either section would be ok I think. I'll defer to you if you have a preference. Though if we move that, we should really move all the historical products information to Products and we'd end up with a Products section that is longer than History. I don't see anything wrong with that though, as long as it's history and not promo. CorporateM (Talk) 12:13, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
I think it would fit better in the "Products" section. The "History" section would be reserved for the financial and strategic growth of the company. Edge3 (talk) 19:39, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Edge3 (talk) 04:25, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

I will now begin my review of the article body. For the first paragraph:

  • "Guthy-Renker's Co-Founders and Co-Chairman, Bill Guthy and Greg Renker, met at the Indian Wells Racquet Club and Resort. Guthy's family had a leased vacation home there and Renker worked for his father, who owned the resort."
  • Do we even know where this resort is located?
  • To make the sentences flow better, I suggest rewriting as: "Guthy-Renker was co-founded by Bill Guthy and Greg Renker, who met at <city, state>. Renker worked at his father's resort there, where Guthy's family also leased a vacation home." Feel free to modify my proposed text.
  • "After the Federal Communications Commission eliminated restrictions on the length of advertisements in 1984, Paul Simon created the first long-form infomercial to sell his real-estate investment courses."
  • Who is Paul Simon?
  • The transition is awkward. First you mention Guthy's and Renker's initial meeting at a resort, then you abruptly shift to a discussion of FCC regulations and real-estate investment courses.
  • "He ordered 50,000 cassette copies of his lectures from Guthy's audiocassette duplication company, Cassette Productions Unlimited."
  • This transition is also awkward. Why is Simon's transaction relevant to Guthy-Renker's Wikipedia article?
  • This is also the first time that we learn that Guthy had an audiocassette duplication company. I think you could introduce this company a bit more.
  • You could use this source or this source as a model for revising the sentences that I've quoted above.
  • "...with former football quarterback Fran Tarkenton"
  • You should clarify Tarkenton's role. Surely you mean to say that he was a celebrity endorser?

Edge3 (talk) 03:43, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done I trimmed quite a bit of it, being overly detailed and off-topic and re-wrote it. Let me know if that's ok. CorporateM (Talk) 11:58, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
That's fine. One more thing: "they aired their first infomercial for the book, which grossed $10 million". It was the infomercial that grossed $10 million, not the book. (This error is a dangling modifier.) Please consider fixing by rearrange the sentence. Edge3 (talk) 19:39, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Cool, you are a bit faster than me, but your GA comments remind me to come back to the article. Let me cull through it for copyedits, especially after the restructure. CorporateM (Talk) 21:04, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
No worries. Take your time. I'll resume the review when you're done with the copyedits. Edge3 (talk) 21:22, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done I was a little bolder than I usually am where I have a COI, but when this article came back on my radar for the GA review, I realized it needed a lot more work to be ready. Please continue! CorporateM (Talk) 21:40, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Great! I started working on the second paragraph, where I rearranged some content. I wanted to make it clear why the industry standards for infomercials were so important to Guthy-Renker's history. Feel free to revise it further. A few more comments:

  • "Guthy-Renker disclosed the infomercials were paid advertisements at the beginning of each program and made professional-quality infomercials when most had the appearance of a home-video."
  • I think you could do more to explain the contrast between Guthy-Renker's infomercials and other infomercials. The distinction between "professional-quality" and "home-video" quality is unclear, and it seems to be a WP:NPOV issue if it's not well sourced.
  • Referring to the other informercials as having "home-video" quality seems inconsistent with the rest of the paragraph, which implies that other infomercials were presented as professional talk shows or news specials.
  • Could you please direct me to the following source, if possible? Pederson, Jay (2000). International Directory of Company Histories 32. St. James Press. ISBN 1558623914.
It's an actual hard-copy text-book, but Funding Universe does re-print the text online
  • "The following year, news coverage of the Persian Gulf War drew television viewers away from infomercials and Guthy-Renker had to cut back operations."
  • Emphasis should be on Guthy-Renker, not the war. I recommend: "The following year, Guthy-Renker had to cut back operations because news coverage of the Persian Gulf War drew viewers away from infomercials."
Yes check.svg Done

Edge3 (talk) 02:47, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

Below is the content being sourced:

From its inception, Guthy-Renker took a slightly different approach than most other infomercial producers. In an era when most such programs had a somewhat shoddy, home-video quality, Guthy and Renker strove for a professional look. They also avoided the practice used in many infomercials of making exaggerated claims about their products. Their integrity won them the notice of the federal government. In 1990, when the government began investigating consumer protection and infomercial advertising, Renker was called to testify before a Congressional subcommittee. The government investigation led Renker and other infomercial producers to form the National Infomercial Marketing Association to set industry standards.
Another thing that set Guthy-Renker apart from its competitors was its practice of identifying itself at the beginning of every infomercial. Starting each program with a notice that 'the following is a paid production of Guthy-Renker,' or a similarly worded caption, not only made the company appear more reputable, but it was also good advertising. Soon, people started calling Guthy and Renker to pitch ideas for new programs.

It's midnight in my time-zone, but I will take a look and compare to the article-text tomorrow. CorporateM (Talk) 03:37, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

No worries. It's also late in my time-zone, and I'll be reviewing at a slower pace than usual anyway because I'm busier. Thanks for posting the source text above. I think we should place less emphasis on what "most other infomercial producers" did, since the claims are broad and not backed up by strong evidence. Although it is useful to contrast Guthy-Renker from the others, our main focus is what Guthy-Renker did: avoid making exaggerated claims, identify itself at the beginning of every commercial, etc. As the source text noted, Guthy-Renker's integrity is important because it gave the company more recognition and an elevated role in policymaking. We point out the other examples primarily to demonstrate Guthy-Renker's integrity. Edge3 (talk) 04:20, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done CorporateM (Talk) 05:18, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
  • "Two years later, a stake in the company, estimated to be worth $3 billion, was sold to Goldman Sachs."
  • Was the company, and not the stake, valued at $3 billion? Could you please clarify this so that the readers don't confuse the company's valuation for the stake?
  • This sentence starts with "two years later" (after 1996), but the next sentence says "in 1998". Aren't they the same year?
  • "Guthy-Renker claimed National Media Corp. aired the infomercial excessively and started selling a knock-off of the original, while National claimed they were not provided with enough Fitness Flyers to meet demand."
  • This sentence is unclear. What does it mean to air the infomercial excessively?
  • "knock-off" is too informal. Maybe "imitation" or a similar word might work better?
  • "What are "Fitness Flyers"?

Edge3 (talk) 04:15, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done CorporateM (Talk) 13:08, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Again, could you please clarify what it means to "excessively" air the infomercial? Edge3 (talk) 17:57, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Below is what the Wall Street Journal said:

Guthy-Renker had claimed in state and federal courts in Los Angeles that National Media, of Philadelphia, aired the infomercial excessively and then advertised Strider, the alleged knockoff. National Media had filed suit in state court in Los Angeles claiming that Guthy-Renker didn't deliver enough Flyers to National Media.

I presume they are referring to why Renker could not meet demand, because the product was advertised so excessively that demand exceeded expectations, but the source is not entirely clear. CorporateM (Talk) 18:10, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Great! Now I'll move on to the "Products" section:

  • "The firm is known for high-production-value infomercials usually hosted by celebrity endorsers." Should we really be referring to the endorsers as "hosts"? They're celebrities who star in the infomercials, and their roles don't seem to fit the definition of a host.
Yes check.svg Done It looks like you already made the change? CorporateM (Talk) 21:38, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
I don't think so... The sentence is in the "Products" section. Edge3 (talk) 21:46, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Oh, oh I thought you were saying the opposite of what you meant for some reason... I'll get it CorporateM (Talk) 21:50, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
  • The sentence starting with "As of 2010, Guthy-Renker sold..." is followed by a sentence that starts with "As of 2013...". The "As of..." phrases seem repetitive, so I suggest reorganizing them.
    I shouldn't have given you conflicting advice, but it seems that you already knew what I meant. Striking this out. Edge3 (talk) 21:46, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Before you make the change I mentioned above, you should also consider removing the statement that there are "nine products under the categories Beauty, Wellness and Services". On the source, I counted only eight products, and no "Wellness" category. The source is also not a reliable, third-party source.
Yes check.svg Done

Edge3 (talk) 21:31, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Could you please expand the lead section in include some information on the corporate history? Edge3 (talk) 21:48, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done CorporateM (Talk) 21:58, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

I made a few revisions, including adding a new photo. Please check them and feel free to revise even further. Following up on your previous edits:

  • In the lead's second paragraph, three sentences begin with the word "it". This sounds repetitive, so please reorganize this paragraph to make it flow better.
Yes check.svg Done
  • "...which would become responsible for more than half its revenues" Please specify the year. I believe this was in 2005.
Yes check.svg Done
  • What is "GRTV"? You mention this in the lead, but you don't explain what it is. The reader is left wondering until he or she finds an explanation later in the article.
Yes check.svg Done
I'll take a look. This is what the sources says: “Guthy-Renker is famous for their lavish, half-hour productions, which cost a million or more and are jam-packed with celebrities"
"With its A-list celebrities and high production values, the Proactiv infomercial is light years from the industry's barking pitchman roots."
Thanks. One of the main issues is that the article claims that Guthy-Renker "is known for" something, but this seems to be a WP:PEACOCK term. The "fame" is not sufficiently recognized by the sources, in my opinion. "High-production-value" is also vague. Maybe you could say, "Guthy-Renker's infomercials have production values exceeding $1 million and usually feature celebrity endorsers."
  • The second paragraph of the "Products" section is not consistently formatted. It's a list of products and their associated celebrities, and I'll break down the list below. :
  • "Meaningful Beauty cosmetics line endorsed by Cindy Crawford"
  • "mineral makeup brand Sheer Cover by Leeza Gibbons"
  • "the Chaz Dean's Wen hair Care line"
  • It doesn't make sense to place "the" before "Chaz Dean's". Also, why is "hair" not capitalized, but "Care" is?
  • "Principal Secret beauty brand by Victoria Principal'
  • "Heidi Klum-endorsed, In an Instant, skin care line"
  • "Malibu Pilates, endorsed by Susan Lucci"
  • "Natural Advantage Cosmetics, endorsed by Jane Seymour"
As you can see above, there is no parallelism. Most of your entries either follow the format "(product) by (endorser)" or "(product) endorsed by (endorser)". However, a few entries don't follow this, and the inconsistencies are quite noticeable. You should also use punctuation consistently throughout the list. I personally favor using "(product) endorsed by (endorser)" as the common format. It makes it clear that the celebrity endorses, and not owns or manages, the product.
This would also be a good time for you to carefully think about whether this paragraph's contents are sufficiently noteworthy. The list of celebrity endorsements seems rather long, so you should consider trimming it or formatting the paragraph more appropriately. See WP:EMBED for more guidance.
Yes check.svg Done
  • Victoria Principal and her endorsement of Principal Secret are mentioned twice in the "Products" section. Please remove the redundancy.
Yes check.svg Done
  • In the last paragraph of the "Products" section, you mention cosmetics and skin-care products. At the end of the paragraph, you discuss fitness products. There isn't much transition, so I recommend combining the info on cosmetics/skin-care and splitting off the other products.

?? I'm not sure what you mean. It looks ok to me. It started skincare/cosmetics in 1991. Fitness products and other items in the 1990s. The reference to the large female audience only applies to cosmetics and skin-care, so combining them might mislead the reader to suggest it applies to both... CorporateM (Talk) 12:37, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

So maybe the issue is with the way the first sentence is constructed? You begin with saying "When market research showed that 70 percent of Guthy-Renker's audience were women...", so that suggests that the rest of the paragraph will discuss the company's efforts to cater to women. But it doesn't. The end of the paragraph discusses fitness products, which aren't necessarily related to their female audience.
Here's my suggestion: "The company started to sell cosmetics and skin-care products in 1991. They hired female celebrities when market research showed that 70 percent of Guthy-Renker's audience were women." Feel free to modify this, but make sure you revise the rest of the paragraph accordingly. Edge3 (talk) 15:36, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

Edge3 (talk) 03:41, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done How's that? CorporateM (Talk) 16:03, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Great! I also posted another suggestion above, but you must have missed it. What do you think of this edit? Edge3 (talk) 17:05, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Meh, I thought the commentary had more to do with the quality of the production, than its cost, but I trust your judgement. Sometimes Wikipedians are really adverse to evaluative statements, even when sourced and pointing to the cost is one way to turn it into a factoid. CorporateM (Talk) 19:30, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for your contributions. I find that this article meets the GA criteria, and I pass the nomination. Edge3 (talk) 20:23, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

Recent edit[edit]

Requesting a second opinion regarding the "Reads like a News Release" tag added here by @DGG: (see discussion here). This is a GA article and the reviewer @Edge3: is one of our better reviewers. This looks like drive-by tagging to me.

The remaining arguments from DGG for the tag are:

  1. That it is promotional to refer to the article-subject (Guthy-Renker) by name. This is just silly - I shared several examples on DGG's Talk page of FA articles that refer to the company by name 100+ times.
  2. That including celebrity endorsements of products is promotional. While typically this is the case, in this case the article is about a marketing company whose primary activity/claim to notability is using celebrity endorsements and infomercials to market other peoples' products.

If I saw any remote way I could accommodate this feedback without botching the article I would, however how would the article look without referring to the article-subject by name or without mentioning the company's primary activity/claim to notability (promoting products through celebrity endorsements).

CorporateM (Talk) 19:08, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

I never said not to refer to the company by name--I said not to refer to the company by name as many times as it is being done in the article. Thefirm, the company, it, or they are all good substitutes. Using the name once per section is usually enough, unless more is needed for clarity.
Celebrity endorsements are intended as promotional. What else are they used for? That's their very purposes, their usefulness, their role. The question is to what extent we should repeat them here. I think if the fact of the endorsement is itself a matter of outside commentary--by which I mean widespread outside commentary outside the context of mere mentions or Press releases, then it can be mentioned, especially if it is in some way related to the notability of the subject . In this article "the company any also manages the "In an Instant" line of skin care products endorsed by Heidi Klum and the "Malibu Pilates" exercise equipment endorsed by Susan Lucci. " the endorsement by Klum might be relevant , since she is best known as a model. It would belong in an article on the product line if the product line merited an article. It might conceivably belong in an article on her. It does not belong in an article on the company that makes the product line. Lucci is irrelevant in all respects--she is an actress, not a sports figure, and I think it relevant neither to an article on the product nor to her bio,and certainly not tho the company. In the case of " Guthy-Renker’s Proactiv line is endorsed by celebrities, including Jessica Simpson and Kelly Clarkson. " They are both singers, and there's enough relationship of makeup to stage performers that it might belong in an article on the product, but not to an article on the company. Book Shields ditto. Such endorsements are just the publicity technique of getting a famous face for an advertisement. An example of what I think would be relevant is endorsement of a brand of running hoes by famous runners. DGG ( talk ) 03:05, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
I do not believe there is community consensus that articles should be tagged if they refer to the article-subject by name more than once per section. On the contrary, under that logic, almost all our FA company pages would need to be tagged and de-listed. The same would go with almost all of our articles about any subject; our article on walking refers to the article-subject (not vaguer words like "the exercise") more than 150 times. This is not promotional, it's only natural.
I do see a couple more products have been added since I wrote the article (at least 1 with a primary source that should be trimmed) - you could debate the nuances of exactly how many products should be mentioned (I have no interest in such a petty debate), but the celebrity endorsements are the only information of significance about these products in this case; For example, Britney spears is mentioned 18 times at Britney Spears products, because the only significant thing about these products is that she produces them. Guthy-Renker is not an inventor or manufacturer - the products themselves are not relevant to them - their primary product is celebrity endorsements and producing ads that use them. CorporateM (Talk) 04:55, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
As a previously uninvolved editor who just removed the tag from the article, I don't really see any news release-like text in here. Certainly, the mention of celebrities is not too newspaper-like. In this context, an endorsement is just stating a fact about who supported what, but does not necessarily slant the points of view regarding the subject. If, on the other hand, there is a list of 20 products and the name of every single celebrity that endorsed these products is listed in the article, the article can most certainly be tagged. Only three or four very notable products need be mentioned as having endorsements. Epic Genius (talk) ± 03:07, 29 May 2015 (UTC)