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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

11-2-2005

Forbes Magazine has as it's cover article on the Nov. 14 issue "The Attack of the Blogs". To make sure you don't miss the bias of this "balanced" view, the introductory sub-headline reads "Web logs are the prized platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies , libel, and invective. Their potent allies in this pursuit include Google and Yahoo."

The poster child that Daniel Lyons uses for "victim" in his article is Gregory Halpern, whose company, Circle Group Holdings, was hyped from $2 to $8.50 per share.
Halpern did this by posting pictures of himself online with famous people , including Steve Forbes. He was then "victimized" by a blogger who, with some allies, attacked Circle Group with a mixture of accurate and inaccurate "information" , resulting in the stock dropping below $1 per share and wiping out Halpern's instant $90 million dollar fortune. I could sympathize with his plight, except that (1) it seems unlikely that if the company had any real, measurable value sophisticated investors would not recognize it and run the stock back up after the false blogs were exposed and (2)Halpern's response to the attack was to hire "Financial Wire"(Gayle Essary) to blog back, not on facts but on a very personal level. So much for the high road.

The article contained several interesting tidbits, however. Steven Downs, an executive at Ingersoll-Rand, complained,"A blogger can make any statement, about anybody, and you can't control it". Downs found this to be a "difficult thing". I think it's the whole point of a democratic system. You're living in America, Downs.

Lyons, the article's writer, has a slew of suggestions for fighting back against bloggers. These iclude "build a blog swarm", "bash back", "attack the host (service provider)", and "sue the blogger". Don't you just love it when a idealist takes the high road?

The following piece of information is in the article: "The anonymous assault has a long tradition in American political discourse, recognized by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission in 1995 and in a recent decision by the Delaware Supreme Court refusing to force an Internet service provider to disclose who called a small-town politician inept" (aren't they all?) None of the hyperbolic examples of abuse of this right given by Lyons would make any thinking person doubt these decisions.

Google says it's real aim is to "let users embrace the Web as a medium of self-expression". Good for Google, except I wish that precept were a little less self-serving.

On the last page of the article is a short chronology of blogs. I found fascinating thefact that there were only 23 "Web logs" in Dec. 1998 and 20 million now ,according to Technorati. The more I read this article , the further right it slants, and the more flaws I see in Lyons' reasoning. I hate this work, but we really need to talk about it.

I can't find the article at the Forbes website or anywhere online. If anybody can, please post a comment. I'll bring it to class.

Later.

24 Comments:

Blogger Nile said...

I don't have it, but it sure sounds like Forbes, or at least the author, is running scared. Me thinks they dost protest too much?

8:58 PM  
Blogger coturnix said...

Search it in Technorati (or Google Blogsearch) for bloggers' furious responses. Some of them have the link so you can post it.

You may start your exploration here:
http://radio.weblogs.com/0107946/2005/10/29.html#a5391

9:21 PM  
Blogger Brett said...

Bill, you are so on the pulse of the blog world. Nice work. Bora, you could have just given him the link rather than being condescending and sending us on a wild goose chase. Here it is:
http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2005/1114/128_print.html

7:23 AM  
Blogger Aldon Hynes said...

I really like the entry that B.L.Ochman posted on her blog about the Forbes article:

Forbes Story Bashes Bloggers As Lynch Mobs

(She describes herself as 'Blogger and corporate blog strategist, Internet and Outernet marketing conduit, and sought-after corporate speaker'. Her blog has a lot of good commentary on blogs in the corporate space.)

8:27 AM  
Blogger coturnix said...

Sorry - only after I posted I realized that the EdCone post actually contained the real link to Forbes and not only to a few bloggers' responses.

8:36 PM  
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