CNET insists Google ads are good for you - and fun!!!
Comment There are times when even the most optimistic pro-business American news organs realize they've gone too far.
CNET News.com, for example, published a story this week with the headline "YouTube tests viewer-friendly ad format." The piece - and we mean that literally - covered Google's decision to place ad pop-ups at the bottom of YouTube videos. You're told right away that "Google is finally rolling out an advertising format for YouTube that could succeed where many others have failed: it's not annoying."
Well, even though the entire premise of CNET's fluff piece is that the ads are not annoying, the publication thought its headline annoying enough for a quick rewrite. You'll now find the puffery located under the "YouTube tests 10-second ad format" banner.
CNET fits well into that broad list of American publications that feels a need to celebrate business at almost every turn. Champions of this format claim they're pursuing objectivity, although you'll notice that relentless optimism and an unwillingness to question big business - except through an occasional semi-feisty quotation from an analyst - is really rather subjective.
In recent weeks, CNET has ratcheted up the optimistic, business-will-solve-everything stance by getting rid of boring stories on servers, chips and enterprise software and replacing them with pieces on nifty gadgets, must have TVs, Second Life and the green technology revolution. It's techno utopianism at its worst. As a result, you find the publication championing the idea that consumers love ads, especially when the benevolent Google presents them.
"Is it viewer-friendly because it's arguably less annoying than having an ad run in advance of a video?," asks Nick Carr. "That's like saying that being hit on the head once with a hammer is a pleasant experience because it's not as bad as being hit on the head twice with a hammer."
In addition, we've found CNET hiring a horde of vendor bloggers to help it out with reporting. We understand this was a partial response to falling reader figures. CNET hoped to keep up with the times by using cheap labor to pump out largely worthless posts - the exception being Alfresco's Matt Asay. (Full disclosure: Your reporter is working on a project with Asay, which puts Asay's professional judgment in question. His open source judgment is unquestioned.)
If you look at the bog posts from, say, Peter Glaskowsky, you have to wonder what CNET is thinking. Here's a guy who works at a stealth chip start-up that's allegedly making products that will fit into mobile devices. He writes away on, well, chips and mobile devices, but you have no idea about Glaskowsky's real agenda because he refuses to reveal what his company actually does. (This problem may work itself out soon enough if the rumors we hear of Montalvo's demise are true.)
The CNET boggers have deep, corporate ties. These are the kinds of people that tell you ads are what consumers desire when the publication's reporters can't get there first.
And it's not so bad on the surface that CNET has these corporate boggers. We sometimes allow a vendor-type to pen a piece - with full disclosure - here and there too, if we feel they have something interesting to say. It's just that CNET has so many apparatchiks, and the average reader has no idea of the boggers' ulterior motives.
While CNET tries to sort out its place in the bogger kingdom, the rest of us may as well enjoy the ride. There's nothing like an optimistic identity crisis for a good laugh. ®
Yup, that was me
I also wrote this for eWeek after Apple's Intel announcement:
Recently, I described rumors that Apple would switch from PowerPC to x86 microprocessors as "a bunch of bull."
OK, I was wrong. I apologize to Don Clark and Nick Wingfield of the Wall Street Journal, David Utter of WebProNews, Paul Thurrott of winsupersite.com, and all the other journalists I called "dupes" for going along with what I thought was a tired, old, often-recycled rumor.
In my defense, I should say that the only thing these reporters got right was the bottom line: Apple is, indeed, switching to x86—Steve Jobs announced the details at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference on Monday—but all of the supporting arguments offered by the Apple-Intel rumormongers were indeed "bull."
And it goes on from there.
Anyway, it's nice to see a long-time fan posting here. Thanks!
Is this the same Peter that said this in June of 2005?
Regarding Apple's switch to Intel CPUs...
Peter Glaskowsky, analyst for The Envisioneering Group, in Seaford, N.Y.: "It's a bunch of bull...Firstly, Apple certainly pays much less for IBM and Freescale processors than Intel charges for comparable chips. Probably less than half as much on average. The G5 is a smaller, more efficient chip than the Pentium 4, and IBM has no other customers willing to buy large quantities."
Spot on as always!
Keep it up guys..
I feel like asking why anyone would keep their company's product secret if they really something that would sell for actual money. However there are a couple of good reasons for why you might be doing this.
Seriously hope yours is one of them, or for all that "Montalvo's doing fine, thanks", it won't be if the money finds out you don't have anything worth selling. Classic so-called dot.com stuff, idiots pour money into something that sounds whizzbang, without looking to see if what they are actually investing in is a really nice Malibu house full of flat-screen TVs, and a bunch of terrific-looking sports cars.
On the other hand if that's what you are doing, "hats off to you", because I feel like an opportunity was badly lost by missing out on that particular insanity.
Keep up the back and forth - its nearly as entertaining as one of Ashley's articles (which are usually top quality in of themselves and gave birth to the brilliant concept that Google murders penguins).