a lot of it comes down to how the book is described, if its just labeled as a first appearance with no caveats or explanations, thats definitely a pump and dump if all it is is an advertisement with that character. in this particular case due to the labeling of the article…it is pretty blatantly false info…“true first” would require that it conform to some agreed upon and universally applied rules.
there are people who choose to collect the first time a character appears anywhere (advertisements, previews…ya the big catalog…,the smaller marvel/dc previews, etc.). if the description of the book specifically says (or better yet shows) that its just an advertisement, as much as many people will justifiably say its not a 1st app…to that small group of people…it is…and for those people…getting 1st app books can be much cheaper.
as fair as it is to blame sites for bad spec, or pump and dump, its basically the hobby as a whole thats at fault for never deciding (as a whole) on what exactly is a 1st app…does a body part count…does the face have to be shown (i.e. not under a mask)…does the character have to be named or have dialog…how many cameos can there be before a first full…do cover only appearances count…if writers retcon unnamed characters in old books does that count…what about 2nd or later printings do they count…what happens when a character is in 2 books that release the same day…how about if a book was supposed to release first, but doesn’t due to delays…how about ashcans and self published books that later get picked up and released through diamond…or what about massive events like secret wars where nearly everyone is killed and then recreated (including the universes) do those count…
in particular cgc…they really should have decided on some clear guidelines the moment they started printing “first appearance” (or any variation of it) on their slabs…same would be true of cbcs and pgx but to a lesser extent.
if the only rule is “whatever book the market decides on”…then anyone trying to influence the market is only false spec/pump and dump if the market doesn’t follow.