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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Web 2.0 and new age spamming and ethics

This is going to be a short post; at least I intend to keep it as short as possible. I just have a few things to say about this recent Web 2.0 phenomenon with all kinds of social networks, communities, blog networks, niche blogs, AJAX scripts in news and info aggregators, publishing platforms etc, etc.

In the last two years we saw dozens of blog networks like Weblogs Inc., Gawker Media, B5 Media, Creative Weblogging springing up. We even have one from India called Instablogs. These networks have a large number of blogs catering to ‘niche’ audience. However, none of the blog networks including Weblogs Inc. that runs the famous Engadget blog is above spamming. All the above mentioned networks have spam content in their blogs. Simply stupid and plain spam.

Typically, they have an army of rewriters of news stories and while some do it with finesse, some are downright unprofessional. Also, some do it with impunity and some on the sly. More often than not, most of these networks pay people who can rewrite stories, and not necessarily anyone who has any knowledge of the domain he/she is writing upon. In time, they start gaining some knowledge on the subject and at best they become pundits with half-baked knowledge.

Then comes the point of being ethical in the business. No matter however critical these networks are of mainstream media (MSM), especially print media (read newspapers) they still want the old media to give them publicity whenever they are doing something ‘different’. In one hand they would loathe MSM to be in the league of blogging brothers, but on the other hand, they would even lick the anuses of the old media for publicity. This is duplicity; hypocrisy at its best.

Whatever the case is, a few blogs have indeed become a part of my life and for the last 2 years or so hardly any day passed when I didn’t read blogs such as Techcrunch, GigaOm, Mashable, Engadget, Robert Scoble, Read/Write Web to name a few.

I am afraid to say that given the very personal blogs such as Read/Write Web, Scobleizer, and to a great extent Mashable, every other blog mentioned either stooped to rewriting or yellow journalism like the recent GigaOm post by Shailaja Neelakantan that incidentally didn’t escape the notice of perhaps the best writer of Indian origin and most ‘commented’ blogger in the blogosphere today – Arnab Ray a.k.a. Great Bong.

The venerable Michael Arrington also didn’t prove to be above unethical practices with his recent sacking of Sam Sethi from the helm of affairs at Techcrunch UK over what I would term as a clash of egos. This is despite his pathetic attempt to justify his act following the expected outcry.

Pramit Singh in MediaVidea has written a must read article titled - ‘Ethics 101 for blog network owners - part 1’. I shall be looking forward to the rest of the ‘series’ if he continues this from where he ended.

The point is that when the only objective is to earn money through online ads, why take the pain of employing high profile editors, writers etc, etc for your blog-based magazine or blog or blog network? It can be done in a much simpler way. What are you folks trying to prove?

It is such a shame isn’t it? At least the Clue Chick is original and for news, we have online editions of the BBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Hindu, The Times of India etc, etc, etc…

Alas! This post hasn’t remained a short post as I intended to keep it. Sorry folks.

2 Comments:

Blogger It's Me, Maven... said...

A friend sent me this, and since I do not have an email address for you, I'm posting it here. Not knowing if you're Hindu, Muslim or Christian et al, I figure there's something for us to laugh at in this clip from YouTube, which I refer to as, 12 Days of Christmas, Desi Style.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but, but...blogging isn't journalism!

9:40 AM  

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