Blog baiting.
September 10, 2002 12:55 PM   Subscribe

Blog baiting. This content-free Salon article is pointed to by News.com and chances are it will be picked up by tech weblogs within a couple of hours. Notice the presence of popular (in blogland) underdog in the title (Mozilla). The many blog references in the article body, including a gratuitious reference to the arch-tech-weblog that presumes knowledge of said blog's moderation system. The meta implications of web media composing content so that it may be picked up by weblogs are interesting --and yes, the irony of a MeFi FPP is painfully obvious. What next?
posted by costas (25 comments total)
 
Let me just point out that I found the /. link after the FPP...
posted by costas at 12:59 PM on September 10, 2002


While I agree that the article tells me very little I don't know, I'm a web developer, and have reason to know.

The article seems pretty legit to me as a decent overview of the current status of the Browser Wars. Including references to well-known resources such as SlashDot or Megnut is part of good reporting.
posted by o2b at 1:03 PM on September 10, 2002


...it's also part of getting your article referenced by other news organizations, which is good business.
posted by o2b at 1:04 PM on September 10, 2002


... I think it's a ruse: the people who will be interested by the headline (as I was, admittedly) are aware of everything in the article already. The only "new" content is a digest of blog posts and Megnut's opinion --again, blog-baiting, IMHO.

I guess what bothers me is not the article subject itself but how it appears designed to be blogged.
posted by costas at 1:08 PM on September 10, 2002


Hmn, but then there's the executives (like a sales manager I know) who read pretty much every article in Salon (he's a N-Y wannabe), and will definately read this and most likely ask me what we're doing about Netscape and Mozilla, and if he should switch.
posted by SpecialK at 1:13 PM on September 10, 2002


I don't think it's designed to be blogged any more than the typical Salon technology piece or Wired News article. Mozilla is a strong topic of interest among wonky webloggers.

Also, though a lot of the piece covered the basics, some of the material was new (to me, at least). I wasn't aware of the extent of third-party XUL development.

My only beef with the piece is the frequent use of "Netscape" as the name of the browser, which hasn't been true in more than five years.
posted by rcade at 1:17 PM on September 10, 2002


Oh boy! A Salon link!? I never read that site!
posted by McBain at 1:17 PM on September 10, 2002


Sorry Costas, I disagree. Where much of the article was known to me, I still found it usefully and interesting. I was not aware of Mozilla's XUL API and furthermore the story lead me to download and install the latest Mozilla build to give it all a try.
But as you said:
"I guess what bothers me is not the article subject itself but how it appears designed to be blogged."

Isn't one of the keys to journalism knowing who your audience is? Imagine the nerve the author must have had to assume that people who read online content on technical topics might also participate in online discussions of the same?
posted by dirtylittlemonkey at 1:17 PM on September 10, 2002


rcade: their references to Netscape and Mozilla seem correct to me. The heart of it being this statement on the first page:

"All of which is to say: Netscape is doomed. If there are good reasons for Internet Explorer users to switch to Netscape, there are better reasons to switch to Mozilla."
posted by o2b at 1:22 PM on September 10, 2002


I am constantly amazed at how little I know about the browser wars. I had always assumed that Netscape's downfall was almost entirely due to the simple fact that IE was free and Netscape originally wasn't.

Like many of the "who cares, Coke or Pepsi, whatever" crowd, I am usually accustomed to using, depending on if I'm at home, at work, at a friend's house, whatever browser is already there. The only time I ever downloaded a different browser to whatever was already on the hard drive was when I needed to make sure multiple browsers could read a computer project I had to make for a class a few years ago.

I am further confused as to why AOL, which owns Netscape, doesn't just stop including IE with the AOL software... wouldn't even a small fraction of AOL users not have the technical know-how to stop using a pre-included Netscape and still be a high enough percentage to affect the future market? With all these arguments about Microsoft forcibly including IE with Windows, shouldn't AOL be forcibly including Netscape with AOL and be getting away with it? Or are they already?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:27 PM on September 10, 2002


I guess what bothers me is not the article subject itself but how it appears designed to be blogged.

Blogging -- free, instant universal PR for your product. Just link in the right places, and your message will replayed everywhere for free. And they wonder why advertising is doomed?
posted by briank at 1:29 PM on September 10, 2002


AOL doesn't default to Netscape because they get so much exposure on the desktop by being bundled with Windows. If they were to make that move, Microsoft could pull AOL's promotions from Windows installs, and a large part of AOL's reach (as far as "the new customer" goes) would disappear.
posted by danwalker at 1:32 PM on September 10, 2002


Monkey: yes, but reading through the article. weren't you thinking "I wonder what MeFi/Slashdot/Kuro5hin/techblog-here has to say about this?"? Wasn't it obvious that the article was going to get picked up by at least a few major weblogs? Why? was it the subject matter? Or the pro-blog slant? Well, at least that's what I was thinking...

Weblogs are supposed to pick up articles because of original news and/or commentary, in other words quality. I think this blog-baiting business (trolling for page-views, whatever you want to call it) is a slippery slope.
posted by costas at 1:33 PM on September 10, 2002


XQUZYPHYR: No, AOL still includes IE as the HTML renderer in their proprietry browserapp thing on Windows. It uses the Gecko rendering engine on AOL for Mac OSX and Compuserve though. And yes the fact that they don't push Netscape through their client is a bit of a mystery. At least they're telling NS4 users to upgrade now.
posted by nedrichards at 1:40 PM on September 10, 2002


it will be picked up by tech weblogs within a couple of hours

Let me just point out that I found the /. link after the FPP...

For what it's worth, TechDirt has had this up since 1AM.

I really don't get what's wrong with reporting on blogs or assuming they exist in general. It's sort of like assuming people use web browsers at this point. Do you think you're some kind unique, savvy insider because you know what a blog is?

"I am not a beautiful and unique snowflake!"
posted by badstone at 1:58 PM on September 10, 2002


PS - XUL rules, and if you're not using Mozilla - especially as of 1.1b - you are like so totally 6 months ago.
posted by badstone at 2:09 PM on September 10, 2002


PPS -
I am further confused as to why AOL, which owns Netscape, doesn't just stop including IE with the AOL software...

What about using ICQ instead of AIM for that matter?
posted by badstone at 2:11 PM on September 10, 2002


Badstone: that's the exact opposite of what I am saying: articles like this are betting that 'insiders' will propagate the link and get the site pageviews. That's what bothers me, not that I cannot keep cool links to myself...
posted by costas at 2:18 PM on September 10, 2002


er - maybe you're getting my point backwards. my point was everyone and their grandma knows what a blog is, so its time for bloggers to get over themselves. it's sorta like when your favorite local/indie/whatever band from high school all the sudden showed up on MTV one day. that day has come and gone for blogging, except instead of MTV it was Newsweek. so don't get all weepy when advertising cretins start preying on their newly discovered "market."

and honestly, if you were that worried about Salon's getting page views on your nickel, you would've posted the print link instead, like a responsible blogger. ;)
posted by badstone at 2:34 PM on September 10, 2002


This isn't baiting, this is a good article and deserves to be linked. Baiting is a lot like trolling, the editors decide to go with a controversial opinion and run it, usually, as a headline. For instance you could bait slashdot with some like:

"Linux DOA on desktop and dying in server market as MS improves XP," says tech insider.
posted by skallas at 4:56 PM on September 10, 2002


I am further confused as to why AOL, which owns Netscape, doesn't just stop including IE with the AOL software

I believe there was a contract involved. It has apparently expired, as the latest AOL for Mac OS X uses Gecko.
posted by kindall at 5:12 PM on September 10, 2002


ok, this is a self link (partly because someone doesn't have an email on their profile) - if anyone has experience of xul (good or bad), i'd like to details (see first link for details). thanks.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:37 PM on September 10, 2002


their references to Netscape and Mozilla seem correct to me. ...

For years, Netscape Navigator was the name of the browser that was included with Netscape Communicator, and Netscape was the name of the company. However, I revised Netscape's Web site that they have changed this again, and are calling this new version "Netscape 7.0." Thanks for the correction.
posted by rcade at 7:25 PM on September 10, 2002


Since I'm using it right now, I can also confirm that the title bar says "Netscape" and the Help menu has items named "Register Netscape", "What's New in Netscape 7.0?" and "About Netscape".

XQ: AOL's beta-testing program for AOL 8.0 includes a version that bundles Netscape. This isn't quite the same thing as ditching IE as the in-client browser (though they did test a client with Gecko imbedded back for 7.0), but it's a step toward getting it much more widely propagated if nothing else.
posted by dhartung at 10:52 PM on September 10, 2002


I'd doubt that Salon is deliberately looking for blog links. There's probably no more than 10 weblogs in the world with enough traffic to even be noticed on their referrer logs. Even collectively, a Daypop or Blogdex #1 link only moves a small fraction of the traffic that any given page on Salon gets daily, unless one of the links that moves it to #1 is from those top 10 blogs.
posted by anildash at 4:09 AM on September 11, 2002


« Older Troubled Bridge over Water   |   "Moon opens for business" Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments