Bringing CNET into the tent… Step One: The Hat Tip

I spent some time with a bunch of CNET folks at the D conference and we’re trying to work towards an agreement of how to credit bloggers. Jai Singh who runs News.com is an old friend of mine and I talked to him about learning how to use the “hat tip” or “via” process.

He feels I’ve been beating up on CNET unfairly, I feel we’ve been ripped off by CNET’s various brands (which have different ethical standards btw) one too many times.

Here is an example of what I’m talking about.

A story about the French not wanting to use the word blog was on Loic’s blog:
http://www.loiclemeur.com/english/2005/05/want_to_say_web.ht

… then XeniCory picked it up and gave creditin form of the “Thanks!” hat tipto Loic : http://www.boingboing.net/2005/05/22/official_french_tran.ht

… and then CNET covers and gives nothing back to the people who came before them.
http://news.com.com/2061-10787_3-5716628.html?part=rss&t

This kind of stuff happens all the time with CNET, and it’s not just because of little stories like this, it happens on major scoopsor in our case with CNET just taking out images without credit (they did fix that).

Now, in this case maybe CNET found it on their own but I highly doubt it, so why not give some credit. Why not be part of the blog party and give credit to the bloggers. Why? I think the reason is that adding a non-paying link to the CNET page costs CNET money and it empowers other news sources. An editorial link giving credit would get a lot higher CTR then the CTR of the ads around it in fact. having no links leaves the user two choices: more CNET or advertising. Contrast that with blogs which offer you: more of the same blog, advertising, or another blog/news source.

Jai: Step one of changing the perception that CNET is not giving credit is to-ummmm-start giving credit. The etiquette today is to give a hat tip (i.e. “Thanks Loic!” or “via Loic” or “Hat tip Loic” or “found on Loic’s blog”)… why don’t you guys start doing it? Why not send all that CNET traffic to the blogosphere? One link on CNET might send 1,000 to 5,000 people to a small blog that normally gets 100 people a day. That feel nice to a blogger and makes them want to work harder.

Jai, you’re an honorable guy who I respect a lot and I’m looking forward to working with you and the various brands at CNET to raise the etiquette level. We want you guys in the conversation honestly, we do.

So, start with the Hat Tip. it will make you feel good, trust me we love it. Our blogs send millions of users to other bloggers every month millions! We’re happy about this our blogs are built in part by the great work of other bloggers who give us something to talk about. That hat tip is recognition of that fact.

Besides, we want your traffic. 🙂

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