CNET’s editorial elitism evaporating? (or “My challenge to CNET: join the blogsphere”).

I’ve been giving CNET a hard time for stealing our stories without credit for a while now. It’s not just WIN either, bloggers like John Battelle, Rafat Ali, and Om Malik have caught CNET poaching red handed.

When I met CEO Shelby Bonnie at PC Forum I told him to his face that I was shocked by CNET’s lack of editorial honor. He said it was something he would look into and take care of. I then laid into my old friend Jai Singh at News.com (a site which for a time was the most read technology news souce in the world). At the WSJ’s amazing D3 conference Jai asked me to give him some time to work with his editors to get out the message that a) lifting stories from the blogosphere without credit was unethical and b) a wasted opportunity to join the discussion! (Note: Jai is not responsible for all the the other CNET sitesjust News.com. The ethics and linking policies at CNET seem to be by website, not company wide).

Recently CNET started a blog which was simply their bloggers linking to their own reviews! Hello!??!!? The idea of blogs is to LINK OUT to good things on the Internetnot just yourself (and that’s coming from a guy who has a network of sites)!

Anyway, on to the point:

I’m pleased to report that CNET is finallyyes finallydoing the right thing and bringing bloggers into their walled garden. I was thrilled to see a story by Anne Broache today that was entirely based on the blogosphere’s reaction to Google Talk. Not only did it included a bunch of quotes from our brilliant blogger Brad Hill, it also included links to his review of Google Talk on our Google blog. (Note: CNET has linked to the blogosphere from time to time, but today was a banner day, seeing them base an entire story on the blogosphere’s thoughts).

So, yes folks CNET linked to us. Was that so hard Shelby? Did your P&L just get crushed? Did your business go out the window because you shared some link love? I didn’t think so. 🙂

One small problem: the links are not direct. They go through some sort of wacky link tracker that basically strips out any value and knowledge the links have to Google, Technorati, Icerocket, etc. Clearly this is not under the control of the editors at CNET, but it is sort of underhanded (intentional or not). If you’re gonna link to someone give them the raw link the Google Juice that comes with it.

Here is what the link looks like:
http://dw.com.com/redir?destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fgoogle.weblogsinc.com%2Fentry%2F1234000400055722%2F&siteId=3&oId=2100-1032-5842511&ontId=1023&lop=nl.ex

Anyway, some props to the folks at CNET for joining the party. Now, if only their review sections would link out to blogs talking about products then we would have something!

Shelby: Join the blogosphere you’ll love it. Really, the blogosphere is unfiltered, raw and honest. It’s a lot of fun and we would love to have CNET be part of it (or at least get some of your traffic!). Seriously man I kid, I kid we would love to have you involved!

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