What Zune Tells Us About Blogs

15 Sep ’06

I’m sure this phenomenon is visible in Apple product releases as well, but for some reason I’m really only noticing it today with the Zune announcement: many of the visible geek toy blogs build their traffic by shamelessly shilling for the next new new thing that comes along. They’re purveying info-porn perhaps, but not information. Which is to say that in this new new market, no one has apparently yet carved out a brand built on a reputation for honest assessment; so far, the stampede for advertising revenue is instead encouraging much breathless repetition of press releases, “interviews” with product managers and content-lite recitations of feature lists.

The thought occurred to me as I read Michael Gartenberg’s post on the Zune today, a post that struck me as quite fair. From this perch at Jupiter Michael is presumably already well versed in the value of even-tempered analysis. Ditto David Pogue of the NYT, who always impresses with his commonsensical approach to product review.

But the main gadgetporn blogs haven’t yet learned that lesson, or haven’t had to, relying instead on brand built on fast updates with geeky appeal, informal style and lots of attitude. OK fine, but at the end of the day, it strikes me that it’s not going to be just about entertainment; I actually want to know something, too – something reliable. I’m not sure, but I think all of this breathless, quivering excitement over the recent Apple and Zune announcements signals a lack of depth to these brands, and a need to get on with growing up.

Update: BW’s Jay Greene has obviously been listening to Gartenberg

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