Forbes Builds Online Subscription Base By Trashing Blogs

If there is one sure-fire way to get blog traffic it is to gush about blogs or be highly critical. Ergo the noise about the Forbes magazine article ‘Attack of the Blogs.’ A gem:

Blogs started a few years ago as a simple way for people to keep online diaries. Suddenly they are the ultimate vehicle for brand-bashing, personal attacks, political extremism and smear campaigns.

Suddenly? You’re joking right? The entire Internet is built on smear campaigns and flamewars (as well as the wish-fulfillment of the democratization of media and of course massive amount of pornography).

Added battery acid included that one had to register to read the article on the Forbes.com website (it has since been made publicly available). Perhaps this was a ploy to get more online subcribers. Basically like saying: "We’re all talking about how much you suck behind this locked door. Don’t you want a key?"

I love the advice on how to fight back which includes invoking the DCMA act or copyright law to restrict online speech, suing the blogger and digging up dirt on the attacking bloggers. Now that is sure to quell things.

If this is an effort to position Forbes firming in the John Houseman-era style of business thinking and not consort with those lowly blog-people then it worked. And it got them a ton of traffic.

Dear companies: You don’t own your brands. If you want to hypnotize customers into wearing your symbols on their clothing and goods then you have to accept they want to bring the brand into their own space – and that includes criticizing, remixing and mutiliating your precious brand as well. Put or shut up or stop making shoddy products. Whining will get you nowhere. The article is so fundamentally backwards-thinking that I’ll just let Dan Gillmor break it down.

Since the writer doesn’t spell out what he’s talking about, I can’t speak to several of these allegations. But of the ones I do know about: Microsoft has done plenty to earn attacks (and, partly by adopting blogging itself, has done a great deal to become more open and less feared). The maker of Kryptonite bike locks was selling a flagrantly defective product that could be broken by anyone armed with a Bic pen, a failing that was exposed by the online community. CBS and CNN were attacked for lousy journalism in the 60 Minutes affair and for the idiotic remarks of a senior executive in CNN’s case.

More analysis from Dave, Debbie, Tris and Steve.

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