Over the past couple of days, Gizmodo – a reputable tech blog on gadgets – has been on a tear trying to rip apart the new iPhone 4 during its initial release. This all stems back to the prototype iPhone 4 leak and Apple not inviting them to the iPhone 4 release or making a review unit available for their site. Now…while that is the bare bones of the history between Apple and Gizmodo over the previous weeks, what has happened over the last couple of days is something that you need to pay close attention to as a blogger. Gizmodo has decided to take their fight with Apple public and go on a tear trying to discredit the iPhone 4 and…by doing so…has sacrificed some of their credibility in the industry.
Unfair Bias Leads To Credibility Decrease
No one will ever really know what goes on behind closed doors, but during the span of your blogging, there are going to be times that you get into disagreements with other bloggers and companies. The initial ego reaction is to use your spread online to bash and attempt to bring down the other participant in your disagreement because you feel you are right and other people should know. However, by doing this, you are destroying your credibility and losing subscribers by showing an unfair bias and prejudice against one individual or firm.
The first couple of articles that Gizmodo published on the new iPhone 4 (I have 2 of them by the way!) addressed some issues with the initial release. Now, they were not the only ones covering this part of the story as other Apple related blogs were also following suit. At this point in time, it was more of a reporting atmosphere on the initial units and not an online bashing argument. Like most gadget/electronic redesigns, there are going to be those that love it and those that hate it. With a couple of small issues being reported amongst early adopters (specifically the signal and screen issues…both of which do not affect my 2 units), Gizmodo used this opportunity to publish content that was being searched for on a second by second basis.
Then something changed…
All of the sudden, the Gizmodo articles moved from reporting issues to multiple articles in succession that were pure flame war styled publications. Whether it was an attempt at humor or getting their feelings hurt over the past couple of months, Gizmodo decided that this would be a good time to stretch their jaw bones and try to take their chunk out of the Apple. Take a look at some of the responses…
Gizmodo is becoming the Apple bashing site- how many people are reporting this- everyone I know, including me, with iPhone 4s has not experienced any problems…. It’s not good journalism to create inflammatory headlines when the real story is much simpler.
giz is so noob. they are just apple haters. remember, they didnt get ticks for othe last keynote? anyway, intelligent people dont get convinced about this noobish site, which isnt credible!
Alright, I get it. Gizmodo hates apple and has a big axe to grind.
Giz calling apple users a cult is going a little far me thinks. Especially after being kicked out of the cult so recently. Have you no class?
Used to love gizmodo. But ever since they were raped over the iPhone all they do is bash apple.
Of course…the flipside to these comments are the readers that get entrenched in online drama and love to get in on the bashing ring. But, the reality is that Gizmodo has not shown this much negative attention to anything else in the past.
Gizmodo Forgot The #1 Rule In Marketing
While Gizmodo may have thought they were being funny or “revealing the truth” as they say it, they forgot the #1 rule in marketing that will actually get you the opposite result you are looking for if you go down this same road.
Even bad press is good press.
By going on this tear online, Gizmodo is not achieving the goal they have set out. They are…in reality…actually selling more iPhone 4’s for Apple than they are hurting sales. If there is one true thing in marketing, it that even bad press is good press. Now, even people who had no interest in the new iPhone 4 are wanting to check it out to see if Gizmodo’s articles are true…and this comes at the expense of some of Gizmodo’s credibility.
When you start to jump into EGO blogging, you might feel good for a split second, but you are sacrificing all of the hard work you have put forth to try to win an online argument. And guess what…no one wins online arguments.
How To Avoid The Negative Blogging Trap
Feeling like you need to vent online? Here are some tips to bring you back down to reality.
Remember You Are Running A Business
Are you willing to throw all of your credibility on the line and possibly lose everything? By taking the flaming path, you have to be ready for backlash that will inevitably ensue afterward. Personally, I am not ready to throw away years of hard work to try to show how cool I think I am online. I run online businesses and I treat them that way. When was the last time you saw Coke make a political like flaming to Pepsi? You don’t…why?…because that would actually make Coke look bad instead of bringing Pepsi down.
Honesty Does Not Mean Flaming
Blogging is built upon the principle of honest opinions. But there is a difference between your honest opinion and biased flaming. It is all in the delivery, so even as you have negative things to say about a product or service, deliver that message in a respectful, fact based manner and you should keep your integrity/reputation in tact while not pissing off the company and your readers at the same time.
Think Past Today
Do you actually think Gizmodo is going to have a good working relationship with Apple after this incident? Even if they do, it is going to take a lot of work to get that trust built back up again. As you look at the temptation to flame online, take a serious look at how it will affect tomorrow and not just today.
Take A Deep Breath
Draft up your article and then walk away for awhile. After you have had some time to calm down, go back a re-edit the article. You might be surprised what kind of perspective you will have after you get out of the heat of the moment.
What Kind Of Readers Do You Want?
Do you really want the kind of readers that feed off of that kind of controversy. As you look at the most successful blogs online, can you count on more than one hand the ones that take that tactic? I can’t. Controversy blog readers are typically the least profitable. They are more interested in controversy and online arguments than they are with value and consuming your products, services and content. When you are trying to make an income online, you need readers that will value your content and products to make money online.
The Gizmodo Aftermath
Will Gizmodo lose all of their readers and fall off the face of the Internet. No…probably not. With a blog that large, things will appear to go on as normal even if they do see a small subscriber decrease. In the world of blogging, it is much easier to weather those types of storms the larger you become and they are probably justifying any decrease with ego.
However, as you look at your blog with 100 to 1,000 subscribers or even up into the 25k range, are you willing to throw it all on the line by taking a similar stance on an issue in your niche?