April 08, 2006

Report First, Ask Questions Later

It seems that maybe I should create a new category beyond "Ramblings" focusing on "Media", given all the news shenanigans we've seen of late. As referenced last month in a piece I called "Launching Products In the Age of Instant Analysis", it seems there is a race on the Web and in traditional media to declare products unworthy, even if the reporter hasn't done the due diligence required to make such a judgement call. Yesterday, in an interesting turn of events, we saw this play out on one of my more-frequented sites, TechCrunch.

Reporter Michael Arrington, covering online photo services, in a piece titled "The Flickr Gunners", rated an array of offerings, from BubbleShare to Ookies, Smugmug and Zooomr. (I can't make these names up) Yet, if you look at the story today, his coverage of Smugmug is missing. Why? Because his analysis was clearly wrong, and when called on it by the site's owner, he deleted it - as if it were never there - without leaving the original text up to show where he made mistakes, or even showing a correction. While it's easy to do this on the Web, it's not best practices by any means.

He had written, "All I am going to say about Smugmug is that it isn't very web 2.0, but it is adored by lots of loyal users for having the best (and most customizable) layout for pictures. It also allows full quality archiving of pictures, and is the choice of many photo professionals for that reason. I am urging them to add the obvious web 2.0 features to round this out, starting with RSS feeds for photos and tagging." This review is nowhere on his site. That's because Smugmug actually has had the features he demanded they add, and they've been active for more than a year.

Smugmug's owner - smart enough to respond on the Web, as he should have, pointed out TechCrunch's failings, in a post called "TechCrunch says we're not 'Web 2.0'" Hours later, that part of the story went poof. Gone. In traditional media, the best practice is to issue a retraction or a correction, but note the mistake - and they are lucky TechCrunch isn't in print, for their readers wouldn't have had the chance to respond so quickly, and would have come away with a horrible review from someone who clearly hadn't done a thorough investigation. We're not impressed with the response.

Listening to ''Essential Hard Trance Vol. 3'', by DJ Irish (Play Count: 3)

No comments:

Post a Comment