Ed Bott Tears Boing Boing A New One Over MSFT/Claria Story

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Ed Bott does an excellent job calling out Boing Boing on their half-assed attempt at issuing a correction to their rumors-cited-as-facts post about Microsoft and Claria last week.

To recap: Microsoft, back on March 31, downgraded the severity of Claria’s spyware apps, a major mistake in my opinion. C|Net then reports on June 20 that Microsoft is in talks to aquire Claria. Then, ten days ago, Sunbelt reports that one of their researchers, Eric Howes, discovered the March change in status to Claria apps.

So, Boing Boing reports that Microsoft has already bought Claria, and has proceeded to downgrade Claria’s apps. Problems? Lets count them:

  1. Microsoft didn’t buy Claria. Still hasn’t.
  2. Microsoft didn’t just downgrade the apps. It was months ago.
  3. Microsoft didn’t downgrade just Claria’s apps. Sunbelt reported on Friday
    that downgrades were issued to apps like WhenU, WebHancer and Ezula
    Toptext. So, it has nothing to do with Claria, and everything to do
    with a strange (and probably innacurate) grading system.

Boing Boing did not issue a correction. They issued what passes for an “edit” at Boing Boing, which is reposting the article with an update that says “MSFT acquiring spyware firm”, which is still inaccurate (its still “in talks”, according to The New York Times), and they don’t mention that the changes occured months ago. They had to be aware that the changes happened a while ago, after all, I emailed a correction to them!

Worse, because instead of correcting the article, Boing Boing reposted a version of it, the original version is still there, holding more backlinks than the correction because it was first. Bloglines reports 21 citations for the original, 9 for the slightly corrected but still incorrect version.

Boing Boing appears to have a very irresponsible and inactive corrections policy, refusing to remove incorrect stories and not seeking out the facts when it has gotten them wrong. Based on reports in various places in the media, I easily knew the story well before Boing Boing reported it, so why didn’t Boing Boing get the message. It is things like this that make Boing Boing look more like a “fun blog” and ineffective as a news source.

Does Boing Boing have fact checker, or an experienced news editor on staff? I realize it is a blog, but as one of the top blogs in the world, pulling in 2-3 million hits a day and earning a lot in ad dollars, they have a responsibility to hire someone to catch stuff like this and fix it before they embarrass themselves.

(via The Blog Herald > Findory)

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Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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Ed Bott Tears Boing Boing A New One Over MSFT/Claria Story
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