Guys, Henry Blodget is mad entertaining. He is especially entertaining when he gets going on the subject of new media and its best/worst practices. The man charged into his mid-morning TechCrunch Disrupt panel on the matter with guns blazing, apparently ready to defend to the death “linkbait” and whatever else you might want to take issue with, by God.
Of course, he had reason to come ready to rumble. Joining Mr. Blodget on the stage were TechCrunch’s Alexia Tsotsis, BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti, and Techmeme founder Gabe Rivera. An illustrative moment: Ms. Tsotsis asked the panelists what they see as new media worst practices; Mr. Peretti offered up, for one thing, sites that arrange headlines and bylines to “look like it came from writers at that site who actually don’t write for that site.” “Any specific examples?” Ms. Tsotsis asked rather pointedly. Business Insider’s name slipped out into the conversation (though we didn’t quite catch who said it.) Also, note the lede on the TechCrunch coverage of the panel.
Mr. Blodget responded with a barrage that made us very thankful he was not, let’s say, our Little League coach.
1. “I assumed, when I read the title of the panel, it was obviously a joke. The new media hasn’t won squat.” Right out of the gate, he was disagreeing with the thesis of the panel. And lo, we were suddenly awake. Sure, old media has taken a couple of body blows, but even the Times is still valued around a billion. TechCrunch was reportedly sold for “30 million? Maybe 10 million in revenue?” His voice fairly dripped with skepticism.
2. “You know Fox News generated $500 million in operating income last year. OPERATING INCOME!” Yes, he yelled it. We’re pulling this one out all on its lonesome because ouch, Fox News.
3. “I still hear people in old media sometimes start saying [and here imagine an “old coot shaking cane at teenagers” voice] ‘Hm, aggregation, hm, so bad.’ I’m sorry, but there are five million sources of information out there. In a world like that, aggregation is immensely valuable.” Well that’s a pretty clear message re: their aggregation practices.
4. “This word ‘linkbait’ that people occasionally throw around, like [imagine some faux-outraged flailing] OH! LINKBAIT! You know what ‘linkbait’ means? It’s a story that people want to read and share and link to. You know what? We will produce news like that all day long. And if somebody else wants to produce all the stories that nobody wants to read, fine.”
5. “You can say to Jonah [Peretti], ‘Oh, yeah, you would be a good site if only you didn’t have an entire section devoted to “cute.”‘ That’s what people want to pass around all day. Jonah’s smart to take advantage of that.