Tourists in Ocean City better watch out; there's crime afoot.
Ocean City, Maryland, is in the final months of preparation for the 2014 summer season, and recently rolled out its new marketing campaign. But the resort is now trying to debunk a story that wrongly named it the most dangerous place to live in Maryland.
Movoto.com is an online real estate firm that publishes popular and easily consumable top ten list stories to drive traffic to its website.
One of their recent lists named Ocean City as the most dangerous place to live in Maryland, citing FBI statistical data that ran the number of crimes committed against the town’s year-round population of a little more than 7,000.
But Movoto didn't factor in the 8 million people who visit Ocean City annually. And during the four summer months, when it becomes the state’s second largest city, more than 80 percent of Ocean City’s total yearly crime takes place.
“Something like 68,000 people have seen that and no doubt some of them believe it, but a little bit of research by Movoto would have gone along way to correct the misinformation they promulgated," says Dennis Dare, a city councilman in Ocean City.
Deserie Lawrence is a social media expert and the CEO of Get Noticed PR. She says the common practice is to post first and apologize later, because they know media outlets will run the story and will rarely run the correction.
“The thing that social media has done for practices like this is make the credibility process obsolete," Lawrence says.
But Lawrence says the silver lining in all of this is that there is so much content hitting internet users on an hourly basis, that Ocean City’s bruised image is already yesterday’s news and companies like Movoto, have already moved on to their next top ten list.
Movoto declined to comment and has since taken the story down.