Talking tech since 2003

We have a problem.  That problem is the current state of our blogosphere.  It’s in complete shambles.  Unfortunately, I’m well aware of what causes this problem and it’s not easily fixable.  The cause of the problem is the need for visitors and pageviews, which both translate into money.  Don’t get me wrong – making money is great, I’m all for it.  I’m just not for making money off of a garbage product or service.  Let me explain.

There are several blogs (large or small) out there that just will post anything, especially on days some would call a “slow news day.”  I have a suggestion to those blogs.  Have you ever tried not posting if you have nothing to say?  It works for me.  The result?  More high quality (and better) content.  It’s really unfortunate that these blogs have to resort to posting such posts just to meet their visitor and pageview quotas for the day.  But it’s not just the posts that should never see the light of day that bothers me.

There is one blog which is supposedly the largest blog on the web, Mashable, which constantly amuses me.  Not because of their stellar content or great reporting.  In fact, it’s the exact opposite.  As the largest blog on the web, you would think they would be somewhat credible.  But they’re not.  Often times they are completely wrong with their claims.  While other times they are careless.  The carelessness seems to be a result of wanting to be #1 to a story.  Don’t worry, I have some examples coming.

I know I’m not alone with these beliefs either, especially when it comes to Mashable.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this blog, Shamable.  It’s like Mashable (not as big unfortunately), but they try to be respectable.  Nonetheless, here are some examples from Mashable.

Example 1 (my personal favorite):  About 4 months ago when Blippy had that issue with credit card numbers appearing in search results, guess who was first on the scene?  Right.  Mashable.  The problem?  As far as I know they didn’t contact Blippy until after they made the post (even if they did, they still posted it before hearing back).  As the largest blog on the web you would think you have some social responsibility.  Nope.  Not only did Mashable make the post telling the masses about it before it was fixed, they posted a screenshot with the exact search query to perform so anyone could access the information.  But wait.  It gets worse.  They were in such a rush to get this post up, they missed blacking out one of the victims credit card numbers.  Careless much?  Here’s one of their writers responses when told about it:

I’m sorry, but if that was her credit card number I’m sure she would be a bit freaked out.  Additionally, did it ever occur to any of these people that the victims here probably read Mashable?  If I was them, I’d be pissed.

Example 2: Mashable is a social media blog, so while I’m not completely shocked that they would post this article, the fact they make such unsubstantiated claims is just laughable.  The article I’m referring to is the one where Mashable goes on and on about the Old Spice marketing campaign with the guy who made custom YouTube videos, etc and how it increased the sales of Old Spice.  If you want correct analysis on the Old Spice campaign, check out Shamable’s article.  The bottom line is Mashable was too quick to jump to conclusions.  There is no way to know if the online campaign was the reason for the increase in sales, they won’t know until the campaign is over.  It’s also worth mentioning the campaign took place in the dead of summer when people sweat more and probably use more deodorant.  And let’s not forget that Old Spice isn’t new to marketing – they took full advantage of IMC (integrated marketing communications).  What’s that mean?  It means they also had print ads and TV ads going at the same time as the online campaign.

Example 3: Recently Mashable reported that the HTC Droid Incredible would be receiving the latest Android release (Froyo) on August 18th.  Did it happen?  Nope.  I understand sometimes things don’t go as planned and there can be delays, but they updated the post saying they were further investigating the situation and I have yet to see anything about it.  While I haven’t seen anything on Mashable, I have seen that Verizon Support on Twitter doesn’t seem to know anything about when Froyo is coming to the Incredible.  Which leads me to question Mashable’s unidentified source.

Those are 3 of my favorite examples from Mashable.  But it’s not just Mashable lately.  Today, I was disappointed by two TechCrunch posts.  The first being the non-story on how you can’t block Zuckerberg on Facebook.  You all realize that he probably wrote that line of code during the early days of Facebook.  I’d bet he forgot it was even there.  Will it be removed now?  Most likely.  Did it warrant a post on TechCrunch (Mashable also covered it too by the way)?  I don’t think so.

The second post that disappointed me was the one which simply stated that ChatRoulette V. 2 is coming.  That’s literally all it said with a screenshot from the site.  I was expecting some insight and information on what to expect.  Don’t waste my time.  I could have gotten the same information if I went to the site myself.  Later on some more information was added, just another line, though.  Which simply stated that the site lost one of its advisors (supposedly – they heard it somewhere.  Where?  Your guess is as good as mine).

All of those posts are meaningless.  They are quick traffic generators – nothing more.  I hate to pick on only two blogs, because it’s not just them.  It’s everyone.  I’ve found myself doing it too occasionally, but I’m trying to change that.  The mainstream media does it too, I’ve seen plenty of stupid stories on TV, but at least they seem more responsible most of the time.  We all need to take some time to sit down and truly re-evaluate our content and focus on making a better product/service, because you can always strive to be better.  The meaningless filler needs to stop.

I’m going to quote Jason Calacanis again as I did in my post on how to build and maintain an audience, “second to quality is quality.”  These sites may be doing well right now, but their low quality content will eventually be forgotten and lost in their thousands of pages.  They will continue to have keep producing these sub par posts just to stay afloat.  It’s a vicious cycle and while it needs to stop I don’t think it will.  I just hope I’m wrong.


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