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More blog panic

October 28th, 2005

The mainstream media panic about blogs reaches new heights with a piece by Daniel Lyons in Forbes (free registration required). Thanks to David Heidelberg for the alert.

The title Attack of the blogs is about the most level-headed sentence in the whole piece. The author’s main concern is “attack blogs” that have the temerity to criticise corporations. Bloggers are variously described as “online haters”, “evil” and “an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective”. He suggests using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (which requires hosts to take down copyrighted material used without permission) as a way of silencing critics.

Interestingly, Lyons suggests that “50% to 60% of attacks are sponsored by competitors”, which rather suggests that the appropriate target of his ire should be the corporate sector rather than the blogosphere.

There’s a lengthy critique at Americablog.

Risking the DMCA, I’ll just quote one sentence which seems to refer back to some of the discussion we’ve had here recently “Dry treatises on patent law and trade policy don’t drive traffic (or ad sales) for bloggers and hosts; blood sport does”

After adding the link (a republication of an AFR), I notice that it contains a hostile reference to the SCO group, which gets its own breakout box as a victim of evil bloggers. Surely Lyons could have found a more appealing poster child than this corporation based entirely on predatory lawsuits.

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  1. Ugly Dave
    October 28th, 2005 at 17:10 | #1

    A client of ours was the victim of a scurrilous attack on a blog by a indigent US resident who claimed to be a purchaser but who wasn’t. Their product was villified and denigrated in copious detail. The blogger was attempting to create a basis to sue our client for product liability for injuries she claimed had been caused to her baby by use of the product.

    The attack blog was referred to and linked from other blogs – some were authoritative “mom” blogs.

    Soon the attack blog was #1 on Google SERPs for our client’s primary search terms.

    Eventually our client was successful in having the attack blog taken down (having paid out blogmail of $US30k) BUT the referrers who often quoted slabs from the attack blog are still there. There is no way that these can be forced to be taken down without the expenditure of great energy, time and even more money which our client is loathe to do as they are a very small business and can’t really afford the distraction.

    It’s an issue.

  2. Factory
    October 28th, 2005 at 21:50 | #2

    “Dry treatises on patent law and trade policy don’t drive traffic (or ad sales) for bloggers and hosts; blood sport does”
    Erm, I don’t think this guy knows about Slashdot, there is a patent law article on the front page as I speak.

  3. October 28th, 2005 at 22:41 | #3

    SCO was once more directly constructive, via such things as Xenix. Or was that some other SCO?

  4. Kieran Bennett
    October 29th, 2005 at 00:24 | #4

    I have a degree of trouble taking such rants with anything resembling seriousness. Sounds more like the sort of illogical ravings I’d expect to see on a friend’s blog…

  5. euan
    October 29th, 2005 at 07:51 | #5

    That was some other SCO. The current SCO is The SCO Group Inc. The original was The Santa Cruz Operation. New SCO is deliberately trying to confuse itself with the old SCO (now called Tarantella) to help with a $50,000,000,000 lawsuit against IBM’s Linux business. The gory details are on Groklaw which no doubt is one of the blogs Dan Lyons has in his sights, since it does a much better job of reporting the lawsuit than he does.

  6. Terje Petersen
    October 30th, 2005 at 22:57 | #6

    QUOTE:Interestingly, Lyons suggests that “50% to 60% of attacks are sponsored by competitors�, which rather suggests that the appropriate target of his ire should be the corporate sector rather than the blogosphere.

    RESPONSE: Which is a lot like saying guns don’t kill, people do. However given the way in which guns have been succesfully demonised, why should we be surprised if blogs go the same way. It seems freedom is never a welcome idea.

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