Forbes Goes After the Blog-o-sphere

Forbes magazine has an over-heated cover story this week nominally telling businesses how to fight back against blogs. Fight back against blogs? The examples — l’affaire Radicati, the Kyptonite Incident — are more appropriately read as human, and, yes, sometimes clumsy and error-prone, attempts to make companies more responsive to legitimate consumer complaints.

Getting minor details wrong while getting the main story right is hardly a hanging offense. Even when bloggers do get things wrong (which happens regularly), the pig-headedness of readers in setting blogs straight is awe-inspiring. I can hardly set a foot awry here without someone noisily setting me straight within hours, unlike some magazines that must be dragged into London’s High Court before backing away from unsupported accusations. .

Forbes, however, insists on taking the most negative view possible. Writer Daniel Lyons says that the Radicati episode was all about disgruntled Notes consultants sniping at an anti-Notes report; the Kryptonite episode was about bloggers exaggerating the number of Kryptonite locks at risk of being picked with pens. After exaggerating so desperately to make this point, Lyons goes on to accuse bloggers of agenda-driven reporting. Pot. Kettle. Black.

Publisher Rich Karlgaard is smarter than this. Why did this stretched piece ever see the light of day? And at least as bad, how did it ever see print in tech-friendly Forbes with its exhortation to file libel suits against bloggers, and with its “blame Google” rhetoric? While bloggers are far from blameless, they are worlds away from the business bogeymen that this dopey Forbes cover piece makes them out to be.

C’mon Rich, you know better.

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Comments

  1. Richard Cats says:

    Hate to break it to you, but this is PRIMO Forbes content. Remember, Forbes is a “capitalist tool”, and stuff like blogs and open source software have put too much power into INDIVIDUAL hands for their liking. Lyons is their resident anti-blog, anti-OSS attack dog, and the questionable content of this article is nothing new for him.

  2. Pot. Kettle. Black.

    Bloggers haven’t been shy about pointing out the flaws of traditional print and broadcast journalism – what they often call the “mainstream media.” Up until now, the criticism has been mostly a one-way street. The articles about blogging in traditional…

  3. dano says:

    It’s too bad that he went so extreme with the article. The mob mentality effect is a strong one. When you have anonymity there are few repercussions and this enforces the mob mechanism. His examples as you point out are not effective. But your ‘self-correcting’ comment isn’t always true. When a major blogger who garners an adoring audience makes false statements, the ‘corrections’ don’t transmit as loudly.
    I’ve seen Boing Boing make scapegoats out of a few innocent people who went on to get terrible phone and email abuse. Unless another big Boing Boing-like blogger posts a correction it can go unnoticed.

  4. Rusty Hodge says:

    I recently let my subscription to Forbes expire because so many of their articles are full of folly. I was a devout Forbes reader under Malcolm Forbes, but Steve Forbes is hard to take seriously: Forbes now seems so agenda-driven that I can’t count on it to be factually correct.
    At least in Boing Boing I can add a comment to an article. In Forbes, I can’t do that.

  5. I had an interesting discussion recently with some of my ex colleagues at Gartner. If Google or Yahoo are becoming the universal search tools, us bloggers, followed by print media, followed by analyst firms are getting more hits and getting our perspectives read. The ratio from what I can tell is almost 7 to 2 to 1 for tech topics. So from the Google channel, many of us have more of a following than a Forbes journalist or an industry analyst. Of course, they have their own proprietary channels where their visibility is much much higher than the average blogger’s. But whose channel is growing quantum times quicker? If they are not worried, they should be. Of course, per written word the price paid is in reverse and they can afford to keep their journalists and analysts focused full time (though an analyst only spends 10-15% of his/her time writing) – most of us do it as a hobby, but with economics changing, who knows?
    As for personal attacks, smear campaigns etc – let’s see now – how many times has that printed paper – the National Inquirer been sued? Sure we have plenty of idiots in blogsphere, but print, radio and TV have their own share…

  6. dano says:

    Boing Boing has comments now? I guess it’s been a while since I went there. That certainly helps.

  7. Revenge of the blog-o-sphere

    If Forbes magazine was looking for some attention from the Internet, they certainly got what they were asking for. Unfortunately, it isn’t coming because of some fine-quality, well-written journalism, but because of what bloggers are taking as a…

  8. Rich just launched his own blog Digital Rules, and while defending Dan does a nice job of acknowleding that blogging is a potent force and not all hateful

  9. Pot. Kettle. Black.

    Bloggers haven’t been shy about pointing out the flaws of traditional print and broadcast journalism – what they often call the “mainstream media.” Up until now, the criticism has been mostly a one-way street. The articles about blogging in traditional…

  10. Pot. Kettle. Black.

    Bloggers haven’t been shy about pointing out the flaws of traditional print and broadcast journalism – what they often call the “mainstream media.” Up until now, the criticism has been mostly a one-way street. The articles about blogging in traditional…

  11. Pot. Kettle. Black.

    Bloggers haven’t been shy about pointing out the flaws of traditional print and broadcast journalism – what they often call the “mainstream media.” Up until now, the criticism has been mostly a one-way street. The articles about blogging in traditional…