February 16, 2007 — Leave a comment

Is it just me or is ZDNET one of the most superficial, rote tech sites on the web? For some reason they pop up in the RSS reader in my Google Sidebar and I am consistently disappointed. Not only are they regularly dead, dead wrong on almost every topic you can imagine, but they rarely break past 500 words.

Today they did a post they called: Google due for a fall? Donna Bogatin debates Danny Sullivan. I figured that as a stock holder and a guy with a ton of respect for Google innovation, I better check it out. I think I could have learned more falling out of my chair. The article makes Fox News Talking Points look like beautiful, original prose.

“Bogatin: Google’s ambitions are unrealizable, but dangerous. People may “trust Google” now, but “Google 2084″ is close at hand.”

Supported? Of course not. It’s just rhetoric from some tech dweeb who wishes she worked for Google but got stuck at along the way

Sullivan: Google’s the lifeblood of many sites, sending them huge amounts of traffic at no cost. Google’s an Internet billboard company, a pretty efficient one.

I’m so glad we got both sides to weigh in on the issue. Google sends traffic to websites for free? Really? Wow. Tell us more. This is exactly the kind of high quality, deeply technical analysis I read ZDNET for.

If you run a website, tech or otherwise, give ZDNET a look over and do the exact opposite. It embodies the attitude that infects most old media companies and mediocre blogs. They think that a catchy title is enough, or that an interesting concept will be all a reader needs. No. It doesn’t matter how much potential your story has, if you don’t deliver 100% every time, people will go elsewhere. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been disappointed by ZDNET, but it’s pretty damn regularly. Their writers drop the ball nearly every time, and yet, they have no problem rushing it to print and forcing it on the masses. The quickest way to earn ill-will as a content producer is to promise more than you can supply. Forget headlines, forget hooks, forget pictures, focus on quality articles. Until you can do that with your eyes closed, nothing else matters.

Ryan Holiday

I'm a strategist for bestselling authors and billion dollar brands like American Apparel, Tucker Max and Robert Greene. My work has been used as case studies by Twitter, YouTube and Google and has been written about in AdAge, the New York Times, Gawker and Fast Company.

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