Let’s talk it to pieces. When Steve Jobs was alive, every tech blog on Earth covered his sweater changes. If not for stories of Facebook, Twitter, and 5,000 mobile apps the youngest demographic is starved for, TechCrunch and Mashable would be reduced to digital rags. There’s one thing for sure in tech land, the media is not fashioning the trend – or is it?
Jumping right off into a huge rabbit hole, if you ever wondered about how some brands get so famous, how gadgets go viral, the hard part is figuring out whether the chicken comes before the egg. Tech outlets that used to support the whole industry, now seem hyper focused on a small segment.
A Focus You Never Dreamed
The fire that Amazon and Kindle lit under TechCrunch and other tech outlets over their Kindle Fire reader began for TC on September 26th with MG Seigler’s announcement & Matt Burns’ comparative. Then Kindle Fire by John Biggs September 28th along with Chris Velanzco, Kindle Fire by Eric Schonfeld the same day September 28th – with an added one of video of Jeff Bezos, Kindle Fire again on September 28th by Matt Burns, Kindle Fire by Devin Coldewey October 4th, Kindle Fire continues its walk of fame on TC with Steve Rosenbaum expounding upon it November 1st, then Kindle Fire by Devin Coldewey on November 9th (and another Chris Velanzco one) and 15th, then Robin Wauters on the same day, then Matt Burns the next day, Kindle Fire twice more by Kevin Coldewey on the 16th & 17th, then Kindle Fire by Eric Scofeld again on November 17th, followed by John Briggs on the 18th, Briggs once more on the 20th, then Kindle Fire by Sarah Perez November 21st, Kindle Fire by Eric Schonfeld November 25th. If my ability to count is correct, since the first mention of the launch of Amazon’s Kindle Fire, TechCrunch has used fairly massive resources to talk about it. Whew!
I actually ran out of juice trying to trace back all the TechCrunch madness over Amazon’s Kindle Fire. I must say, the enormity stunned even me. Maybe the most fascinating TC post during this period though, came from an old familiar, Robin Wauters on September 30th. 164 words and 10 links. 73 of those words are a quote from Appsfire co-founder Ouriel Ohayon. WTF is this? Michael Arrington leaves TC at as September opens, and Amazon goes on fire at TC? Well, at least there’s some correlation, just what is unclear. Wired’s Felix Salmon opened the “talent” door, and I am short of time and inclination to close it. The old Profy mashup I made (above) back in 2007 of the most prominent tech bloggers – well, the focus shifted, the pole dancer of the bunch came to the forefront. Let’s move on.
Now Hear This: Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire
Over at CNET, everyone from Marguerite Reardon to his highness Rafe Needleman himself lost their marbles over Kindle Fire as well. The CNET madness was far less ravenous than TC, but none the less, an issue someone at CNET will have to sluff off as “giving the public what they want.” As good old Pete Cashmore’s Mashable (where is he anyway?) – Kindle Fire got about as many 250 word rethinks as anything in history. A bit of credit to some Mashable authors, posts like Lance Ulanoff wrote, actually favor news journalism more than most TC fodder from September to this month. Still, dozens upon dozens of posts? It’s a Kindle! Read your books. Okay, read your books with a couple of cool features.
Kindle Fire cases, Kindle Fire the Movie, Kindle Fire my —. From a writer’s perspective, these tech sites are sellouts. From a PR person’s perspective, I cannot imagine how many good stories went unnoticed, how many entrepreneurs were shunned, so the top blogs could pimp Amazon wares. As someone who respected, and in a small way helped the tech blog gain prominence, I am saddened by how mercenary and cheap some have become. Arrington founded TechCrunch with a passion for entreprenueral spirit and innovation – now popular culture and AOL politics appear to be eroding any value. And if you were thinking only some tech blogs overbalance the Kindle (or other) branding frenzy, take a look at the New York Times’ article list for the wondrous reader that can.
ReadWriteWeb, VentureBeat, and GigaOM offer a scattering of reporting on the tablet (at least in as far as I can see). Even so, I wouldn’t personally hand out any awards for overall coverage of tech. It has all become a hunt for the trend, a traffic machine. I won’t go into what I know of the real sentiments behind these blogs – the competition. Of all the tech news sites out there, an argument for The Next Web offering the best overall cover, with maybe the least resource, could be valid. Kindle Fire hardly raised an eyebrow there. Anna Heim, over there, does a nice job of offering up nice alternatives actually.
I did a post the other day about rude people. The PR – Media dynamic that causes so much friction. PR peeps being accused of Spamming journalists and bloggers (which they do of course), bloggers and journalists being nasty – once they get so prominent and powerful they can afford (or so they think) to play superior. All the while, every one of us, falls victim to the things we hate most. In the case of publishing stories one-right-after-the-other just to get some traffic – isn’t this the worst kind of SPAM? Regurgitation for a few bucks pay, short changing the reader at every turn, dumbing down the already terminally dumbstruck. Good lord.
This CNET Webware search ended up looking like an announcement, of Webware announcing, the announcement, that Amazon was and has announced the Kindle Fire. All I can figure is, CNET is paying so little (maybe TC and the others too) that authors simply have to paraphrase other posts to get by. Making ends meet in the high paid tech blogging sphere. I hate to sound cynical, but this little excursion has just about sickened me. I did not start out writing this as some sort of comparative of publications. The fact is, Arrington, Wauters, Needleman, all the writers and editors mentioned herein are superb talents. But, something has gone wrong.
Back in 2007 the Apple iPhone was all the rage. Can you guess what the landing to TechCrunch carried back on June 28, 2007? I insert the look from the Wayback machine below. The screen does not show Michael Arrington’s Swapster post, his Feedster one, not even his HotorNot CEO interview, let along Monster Dare by Nick Gonzalez. Back then, TechCrunch covered startups, lots and lots and lots of startups. Today, AOL has transformed the leading tech outlet in the world into something, I know not what.
TC and Others – On Their Way to the Long Home
Not many people ever really assumed MySpace would just fade by the wayside. The battle for supremecy of the social networks, Facebook vs MySpace, never really seemed to be about eradicating the competition. I cannot tell you (well, I could, but won’t) about late evenings on the phone with MySpace’s Brad Greenspan, a lot more than miffed over his downfall. I mention Brad only to point to how the high and mighty can fall from grace. One minute Greenspan was a Wall Street/Silicon phenom, the next? The next moment, he and Arrington are having at it. Now AOL and others (like Yahoo!) have all but shot holes in-every-single-one-of-their-toes making bad decision after bad decision. The Huffington Post is now more rag than rampage – Perez Hilton could take over as editor. Webware is just hanging about, well suited to its 18-34, male, Asian audience.
It’s a real shame when superb innovation, hard work, and the competitive edge are wasted. Who knows why companies shift their focus. Does money enter the equation, and ruin everything? Does the corporate dogma take over, as Arrington suggested in criticisms of AOL, the expense account idiocy, and so on. The screen below shows the full weight of AOL and other tech malfeasance. Sound bit tech talk, Mashable, overtakes TechCrunch and passes on by. Pete Cashmore’s dream of “cashing in” gets ever closer. The only rub there being; “Who is left to buy?” From my perspective, I remember Cashmore, Arrington, MacManus, Scoble, actually testing new innovations – back before they too grew too busy and important. The little guy has long since been forgotten by you guys – who yourselves were little once.