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Corporate Buyout Rumors are the Celebrity Gossip of the Web

Date/Time Permalink: 03/09/08 07:28:43 pm
Category: LINKS and Lists

Only a month ago, the entire blasted Internet lit up with the whole Microsoft-Yahoo acquisition attempt. After it went on for a solid week, I shut my RSS aggregator in disgust and turned to other media for my news for a while, only to see the same story hit the cover of half the paper news magazines at the newsstand and a good share of the daily newspapers as well. Even the TV news channels buzzed about it obsessively.

The next time the president wants to start a preemptive war, he should just wait until the next tech-company merger rumor. He could then nuke a couple of oil-bearing countries from orbit during the ensuing media white-out without anybody noticing. Meanwhile, Paris Hilton would grow so attention-starved that she'd fade away like a shadow.

Well, I repeat my prediction: Microsoft-Yahoo ain't happening. And this revelation has apparently dawned upon the Web 2.0 chicken coop, so they just have something new to cluck about: Buying Digg.

I just love how TechCrunch justifies its reporting: We have Very Good Sources. We can't tell you who they are or how we know or link to anything backing this up, and the CEO of Digg just posted to say we're full of baloney, so it appears as if we just pulled it out of our spring-loaded backside and hosed it off, but be that as it may, we have: Good. Sources.

Behold the web media echo chamber: search Google news for keyword Digg and get the same story on Reuters ("According to TechCrunch..."), Guardian UK ("...says Michael Arrington at TechCrunch."), ZDNet ("TechCrunch is reporting..."), and so on.

I find it disturbing that they refer to "somebody close to the deal" when as of yet, there isn't any "deal"! Has the money traded hands? Is the ink dry on the contract? Has the moving van pulled up in the driveway with the first load of furniture? If not, then it's not a deal. It is a "proposed future deal", and if you even slip up in your grammar and refer to it as anything but, you are no longer credible. Daily in conversation, I now have to correct somebody who thinks that Microsoft now owns Yahoo, because of this lousy standard of the media treating every acquisition rumor as a finished purchase.

On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if Digg did sell out to Microsoft. They kind of deserve each other, although not as badly as Reddit; I would laugh (with schadenfreude for both sides) to see Microsoft buy Reddit. I wouldn't even be too surprised if Google bought a social news site or two, although the money would be better spent in re-buying Blogger and this time actually doing something with it.

Anyway, the Digger's comments about this story are the usual frantic panic-attacks you'd expect. I don't know who they're kidding saying Digg users are anti-Microsoft. But then, most social news sites direly want to be known as anti-Microsoft, Apple+Linux-using hardcore ghetto rebels, until you post anything pro-FOSS at which point thousands of asstroturfers show up to troll your story to death.

Let 2008 be known as the year of the IT tabloid headline. Eat your heart out, Brittany Spears.

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