A lynch mob of 20 million?

Technorati recently announced that they are now tracking some 20 million bloggers and the number of bloggers is doubling every 5 months!

Now Forbes Magazine has a cover story titled “Attack of the Blogs” (registration required but thanks to Steve Rubel’s article I found that the bugmenot login/password “forbesdontbug” worked for me).

The article almost comes across as a spoof – indeed if it were not in Forbes magazine, I would have assumed it was a spoof, so outlandish are some of the claims in it. For instance it says:

Web logs are the prized platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective. Their potent allies in this pursuit include Google and Yahoo.

And it goes on to elaborate:

Google and other services operate with government-sanctioned impunity, protected from any liability for anything posted on the blogs they host. Thus they serve up vitriolic “content” without bearing any legal responsibility for ensuring it is fair or accurate; at times they even sell ads alongside the diatribes.

The article’s main thesis seems to hang off the case of one Gregory Halpern who was hounded by a blogger called Timothy Miles. Mr Miles wrote some allegedly defamatory posts about Mr Halpern under a pseudonym and has now fled legal proceedings against him to Slovenia. The salient point here is that the blog was seen as libellous and was taken down and the author had legal proceedings taken against him (from which he fled!).

Dan Gillmor says it best when he says:

Do bloggers sometimes go too far? Of course. But if the best-read bloggers typically did work of the lousy quality shown in the Forbes stories, they’d be pilloried — appropriately so.

As the article itself points out, Microsoft has 2,000 bloggers – does Forbes really believe that Microsoft is partaking in a lynch mob? And what about the other 20 million bloggers? Are we all part of this lynch mob “spewing lies, libel and invective.” to which Forbes refers?

I think Forbes owes bloggers an apology for this lazy reporting and these sweeping generalisations.

9 thoughts on “A lynch mob of 20 million?”

  1. Pingback: Don Singleton
  2. Michele,

    I think the majority of those 20m are genuine – Technorati seems to go a long way to getting rid of splogs from its index – splogs rarely last long there.

  3. Personally, I’m more shocked by PubSub’s statistic of “2,307 new items per minute (average over the past two hours)”.

  4. And, now that I think about it, how many of these 20 million bloggers are subscribed to Forbes magazine? And, how many of them will choose to continue their subscriptions after reading this article?

  5. I wonder how many blogs send traffic to a Forbes online article — and its advertising? They should be thankful and stop moaning about the decline of print media, as well as the end of major media outlet’s control of being sole editor / brand name front door portal. They should be happy with their new roles as, generally, content providers.

  6. What does one call an irresponsible report about an irresponsible report? Before you claim I “fled” from litigation, perhaps you should check the facts. I am personally defending the litigation filed against me by Halpern with the next court date November 15th. I have never fled from anything and never will. Dan Lyons picked a poor example for his article and time will prove this so. Those in the industry know my reputation for extensively documenting every report I published and my results are a living testament to that effort. http://www.our-street.com/archive.htm. There too you can read many other reports and see for yourself my commitement to accuracy.

    As interesting is the fact that I have not received a single inquiry about the true facts behind this dispute. Just wanted to set the record straight.

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