Monday, August 13, 2007

Is Valleywag Our Version of The Daily Prophet?

I recently saw a comment about an insanely-unbelievable-Valleywag-post that struck me as funny, but surprisingly true. The comment compared the Valleywag Tech Gossip Blog to the "Daily Prophet" of Harry Potter fame. Valleywag for quite some time has entertained the geek masses with its rumor mill - gossip rag. To keep up the entertainment, Valleywag has specialized in throwing around rumors and complete lies. Nothing is below Valleywag. Hear a rumor, then publish it no matter how stupid or crazy it is.

I'll let you make the decision for yourself. Here's the Wiki article that describes the Daily Prophet:
The Daily Prophet is the most widely-read newspaper in Britain's wizard community.
Unfortunately, its journalistic integrity is somewhat lacking; it has been known
to be more concerned about sales than about factual accuracy and is often a
mouthpiece for the Ministry of Magic.

I don't know about you, but it sounds a lot like Valleywag to me.

Here are a few cases in point:
1. Angry Mob Gathers Outside San Francisco Data center - here Valleywag shows a picture of people waiting to enter a data center and put a story up that said a drunk employee set off the outage that shut down many major web sites back in July. The truth was a little less sensational: there was a power outage and the data center didn't have backups set up properly. But that wasn't exciting enough so Valleywag decided to make up a story that they "heard from an anonymous source" to get more page loads...

2. Robert Scoble is getting fired from Podtech - Another blatant lie from Valleywag that yet again makes a sensational story, but is entirely untrue. After continuing a rumor started as a "joke", Valleywag uses the remainder of the article to slander and diss on Scoble for an entire page. Scoble mentions this as one of the reasons he is taking a break from blogging for a while.

3. Who's Going to Chow Down on Zooomr? - Again an example of Valleywag making up a story and attributing it to a so-called anonymous tipster. They proclaimed that Zooomr was getting acquisition offers, but Thomas Hawk and Kris Tate didn't like the cut-rate prices offered. Untrue and unfounded. In the meantime Valleywag name-called Thomas Hawk a "bitchy" photographer and Kris Tate an "underage" entrepreneur.

Valleywag has pissed off Michael Arrington, Kevin Burton, Robert Scoble and Thomas Hawk among many other big-names in the blogosphere. I guess the important thing here is to understand that Valleywag is the Daily Prophet of our day. Let's face it - Valleywag is the National Enquirer of Geekdom. Bloggers and technology folks all around are parodied and thrown under the train for the common page view at Valleywag. As long as you take it for what it is - a totally untruthful, but once-in-a-while entertaining tabloid with a very little amount of truth to it.