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Gizmodo Gives Bloggers a Black Eye

written by John Chow on January 12, 2008


2008 was suppose to be the year when blogging became legitimate. However, the prank Gizmodo pulled at the 2008 CES may have set blogging back a year or two in the eyes of major trade shows.

For those who don’t know, Gizmodo went around the show floor with a high power IR transmitter and proceeded to shut down a bunch of TV displays. They interrupted product demos from Motorola, Intel, my friend Fatal1ty and who know how many others. The end result: a ban for Gizmodo, a bunch of pissed off exhibitors and a black eye for blogging.

This year was the first time CES recognized bloggers as legitimate media and set up separate registrations for bloggers (they even had their own media room and workstations). Before then, Gizmodo and other big gadget blogs attended CES as press.

Many of the other press events at CES does not welcome bloggers. This is the notice found at the ShowStoppers event concerning blogs.

Anyone can post a blog. Anyone can post to a blog. That does not make you a reporter. Just like driving fast does not make you a professional driver of race cars.

Hopefully, CES won’t change their stance on bloggers after Gizmodogate.

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Daniel Scocco January 12, 2008 at 10:34 am

I think they crossed the line here as well.

I am all for pranks, but messing up with someone else’s presentation is too much. There is business in the middle here, and money.

1 Million in 365 Days January 12, 2008 at 12:20 pm

I guess people are updating dictionaries as we speak and inserting
the expression “You just pulled a Gizmodo!”

SEO Optimization January 12, 2008 at 4:17 pm

Well, at a certain point that line of ShowStoppers does make sense. But after all they can’t just generalize, some blogs have the audience to be considered as reporters.

ms danielle January 12, 2008 at 5:36 pm

wow this is the first i heard about this. that’s really messed up, i agree they crossed the line. i mean, it’s one thing to launch a mini foam missile across the expo hall :twisted: and another to shut down a major corporation’s means of presentation. it may be funny to some people but it doesn’t make gizmodo look good to a lot of companies now, including conference organizers, at least for the moment.

Blogging Experiment January 12, 2008 at 7:06 pm

I agree that they crossed the line but I don’t think that should reflect poorly on blogging as a whole. I mean it’s not like we judge all members of the press by the actions of the paparatzi do we?

Alan Johnson January 12, 2008 at 8:40 pm

I agree, just because they have chosen this “approach” doesn’t mean that all bloggers should be blamed. If a journalist were to have done this, would it have given journalists in general a bad name?

Alan Johnson

Carl - Thatblogsite.com January 12, 2008 at 10:43 am

Wow! They shouldn’t have done that.


justin January 12, 2008 at 10:45 am

I think they are right bloggers are not reporters in anyway. There is a difference between reading a news and reading blog which differentiate bloggers from reporters.

Matthew January 12, 2008 at 3:47 pm

A lot of what you read in the news is crap to be honest. The whole media thing puts a slight spin on what actually happened and blows it out of proportion. A lot of what you read on good legit news websites isnt really good at all to be honest. Yes, you get the message, but not the full truth all the time.

Blogging Experiment January 12, 2008 at 7:07 pm

There is definitely a difference between SOME bloggers and the press but I also would argue that there are definitely bloggers out there that should be considered members of the press.

j. noronha January 12, 2008 at 10:51 am

I wouln’t have done that if I were them.
But that was fun, I imagine what would be like if someone took one of these devices to some Microsoft (usually bugged) presentation :-D .

ms danielle January 12, 2008 at 5:38 pm

microsoft doesn’t need gizmodo to mess up their own presentations :D

Can't Get Rich January 12, 2008 at 11:03 am

Yeah, that was very childish of them. I can appreciate the humor in shutting off a wall of demo TVs, but interrupting a press event was uncalled for.

Tim Spangler January 12, 2008 at 11:07 am

What’s the difference between bloggers and reporters?

Bloggers write interesting stories.
And make more money. :wink:

dcr January 12, 2008 at 11:47 am

I thought the difference was that people actually read what bloggers write. :wink:

ms danielle January 12, 2008 at 5:39 pm

that deserved a drumroll ;)

Affiliate Unleashed January 12, 2008 at 11:11 am

Hey John, Did anyone ever win that TTZ Media Contest?! I never could find a post. :)

Jonathan Volk

John Chow January 12, 2008 at 11:14 am

I am waiting for BlueFur to draw the names of the winners.

Mr Munro January 12, 2008 at 11:12 am

It’s a shame that such a high profile brand can lower itself to such a low standard.

I have never been a great fan of Gizmodo myself but this has certainly lessened the chance of me ever changing my opinion.

Blogging Experiment January 12, 2008 at 7:09 pm

Yeah the big story here is the damage to their rep, not to blogging.

Alan Johnson January 12, 2008 at 8:42 pm

I honestly can’t understand why on Earth they would choose to act this way. How can anyone think that messing up other people’s presentations is in any way funny?

Alan Johnson

Ian Denny January 12, 2008 at 11:28 am

I think blogging is still in its infancy. Particularly because I feel small business hasn’t really bought in especially in the UK.

Heck, some still haven’t got a web-site. And even then, the quality is still poor.

It can be a business in itself (which I suspect this one is John?). It can be a social and fun thing. It can be both a business and a hobby.

But it can also be a medium to engage with your clients and feed stuff back to them. And widen that audience beyond your immediate clients.

Even when you can only deal with a local or regional market – and I mean within a city because you are geographically restricted in what you do, it certainly has a place.

I think it will gain increasing credence as blogs become the TV channels of the future.

KNau January 12, 2008 at 11:32 am

Reporters (especially print) are pissed because their medium is increasingly irrelevant. And television reporters are just shills for whatever sponsor is paying their salary this week.

Both print and broadcast journalists go to blogs for half of their info, anyways, because the real difference between reporters and bloggers is that bloggers break stories before the traditional media even knows a story exists.

Sorry but that notice pissed me off more than the Gizmodo prank.

Tim Spangler January 12, 2008 at 11:34 am

I couldn’t have put it better myself – and I went to journalism school!

Ninja Steve January 12, 2008 at 11:45 am

Perhaps it was bad what they did, but it is still funny.
I just think they could have toned it down a bit. That is, stop ruining so many people’s presentations.

Anonymous Coward January 12, 2008 at 11:46 am

All they did was turn off some monitors. It was not a big deal, no matter how I look at it. I think it was funny :mrgreen:

ATV Style January 12, 2008 at 11:53 am

Gizmodo didn’t just get a ban, they’re likely getting sued (by CES and/or motorola and others affected). Gizmodo staff is on BIG TIME kiss butt mode today sending out appologies profusely I’m sure. They don’t deserve one, that was just plain “Grade two” in my books.

I don’t even read Gizmodo (or Gawker Media blogs in general) because of the constant flow of “look at my cool speak” writing so it doesn’t surprise me that they pulled a “i’m an attention whore idiot” move. It’s going to take them pulling off a long string of inteligent things to remove that stigma now.

I hope they get sued HUGE, so that they never forget they are priveledged to be where they are (were) and not some 9 year old in a candy shop like they act all too often.

Blogging Experiment January 12, 2008 at 7:26 pm

Pranks that cost people money or public embarrassment are invitations to get sued. They should have thought about that before pulling this stupid stunt.

ATV Style January 12, 2008 at 11:59 am

On the media debate – things have changed during this decade.

No longer is it mega corporations alone who can hold the populations attention. No longer is it mega corporations alone who can build the best quality websites.

YOU can command more traffic than the big boys if you do it right and have something valuable to share (daily). traffic is paramount, not how big the company is, It’s traffic pure and simple, those who have it vs those who don’t. The money goes to those who do.

Affiliate Confession January 12, 2008 at 12:20 pm

Gizmodo, you are idiots for doing this. But CES should take it out on these idiots, bloggers in general.

Affiliate Confession January 12, 2008 at 12:39 pm

I meant to say, not bloggers in general.

Blogging Experiment January 12, 2008 at 7:28 pm

Agreed. You don’t judge a group by the actions of one of its members.

Fat Kid Unleashed January 12, 2008 at 12:39 pm

LOL what sneaky little devils :twisted:

Fat Kid Unleashed January 12, 2008 at 12:44 pm

Oh BTW John, you spelled fatal1ty wrong when you linked the URL, you have it as “fatail1ty”.

Michael January 12, 2008 at 1:20 pm

I’m not saying that what they did was ok but I do think that the real mistake was bragging about it on Gizmodo. It’s one thing to do it and joke about it with other Gizmodo employees it’s another thing to do it and brag about it on your website for everyone to see.

Alan Johnson January 12, 2008 at 8:45 pm

Personally, I’m fairly sure that the same thing would have happened even if they hadn’t bragged about it on their blog, it is the gesture in itself which is just plain foolish.

Alan Johnson

Zee January 12, 2008 at 1:45 pm

What the heck where they trying to do?

mariam January 12, 2008 at 1:48 pm

So does this mean that any publicity is still good publicity? :evil:

Jason Landals January 12, 2008 at 3:39 pm

that much I doubt, at least in this scenario

Jonathan January 12, 2008 at 2:39 pm

I think you’re trying to inflate this entire story a bit too much. The video *was* funny, and yes – I agree with others – they over-stepped the mark.

It hasn’t effected the perception or viability of blogging at all though. Outside of a very narrow niche, this story has not been reported at all. It was a prank too – go read about some of the things Woz did back in the day – following your reasoning, the entire industry should have been set back several years as a result…

Blogging Experiment January 12, 2008 at 8:04 pm

I agree. It’s not as big of a deal as it’s being made out to be. Even if Gizmodo gets sued, that’s hardly setting blogging back a few years. If anything it could legitimize blogging as a business.

Jason Landals January 12, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Turning off the demo wall TVs was entertaining. Turning off the TV used for a presentation by a guy who probably has the success of their first quarter as well as his job riding on it has crossed the line in the sand.

Seopher January 12, 2008 at 3:49 pm

While it shouldn’t make any difference to how CES sees blogging it’s certainly done nothing for it’s reputation either. Gizmodo should know better and I hope the powers that be make an example of them.

Seriously, stuff like this was funny once in 1998, to go around and disrupt one of the highest profile events is just stupid. Companies like Motorola will put a lot of resources into their presentations, to be interupted like this is infantile irresponsibility. Shame on you Gizmodo.

Matthew January 12, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Maybe it was for the environment ;) All this green speak over the last few years made Gizmodo listen and try to conserve some energy by switching off a wall of 20+ LCD’s :)

G Smith January 12, 2008 at 6:00 pm

I can see this maybe being funny at Best Buy etc; but not at a major trade show like CES. They definitely crossed the line.

nickycakes January 12, 2008 at 6:59 pm

Totally hilarious. And blogging isn’t legitimate press and shouldn’t be treated as such.

Marc January 12, 2008 at 7:09 pm

If a blog has a greater reach than established media, it’s press.

Unless you think a newspaper with a circulation of 50,000 somehow deserves more credibility than a blog with an audience of say, 750,000.

Marc January 12, 2008 at 7:05 pm

I trust most bloggers, something I can’t say about the professional hacks that attend certain anti-blogger events.

“Your blog has a greater reach than most small city newspapers, but I’m sorry. You’re not a real reporter. Besides, we’re far too intimidated by you. Your efforts are destroying the top-down business model that we thrive on, and encouraging people to express themselves. We can never forgive you for participating in the democratization of the media. We want a dictatorship. Come back when you have the same contempt for democracy that we do.”

Tym Barker January 12, 2008 at 7:12 pm

No need to get excited. Everything of any importance will be forgotten a month from now.

Alan Johnson January 12, 2008 at 8:48 pm

I agree, it’s just something which people talk about for a short while and after a few days, they forget about it, blogging in general will definitely not have to suffer as a result of their childish prank.

Alan Johnson

ATV Style January 12, 2008 at 9:28 pm

Tell that to the CES staffer next year when they turn down your press request.

Alan Johnson January 13, 2008 at 2:53 pm

I highly doubt that they will make a decision which affects all bloggers based on this incident, that would be plain foolish. Ok, they can ban bloggers now, and, if a journalist does something similar next year they can ban them as well.

It will be interesting to see who will be covering the event under such circumstances :)

Alan Johnson

Contest Beat January 12, 2008 at 8:40 pm

Um, WTF were they thinking?

HDTV January 13, 2008 at 7:08 am

damn..it is not fun..it was very mean, childish, and stupid. They better hire big time lawyers..bad press help traffics but not this..

Nicholas James January 13, 2008 at 8:51 am

Thinks someone in their team will be fired especially, when they told someone to release that comment.
What the hell were they thinking :?:

Liviu Pantea January 13, 2008 at 10:25 am

That was really unpleasant :(

Rekzai January 14, 2008 at 1:00 am

Big mistake gizmodo..

Jose January 14, 2008 at 5:55 am

Not nice.

JoeTech.com January 14, 2008 at 9:03 am

I couldn’t agree more. It’s unbelievable to me that an organized and successful blog like Gizmodo could be that stupid. As I said in my blog, I would have liked to see an open letter to CES, Motorola, any other companies affected, CES visitors affected, and the bloggers of the world. Instead, they would like to just pretend it was no big deal and hope it goes away.

Knuckles10 January 13, 2008 at 10:58 pm

Im glad they are getting sued. Its an appropriate action.

I mean, think about it. Lets say you were some big company and you had invested millions into the research, development and production of your new product (and all the money for the jobs that go into the whole process). Then of course you have the cost of the expo space. The cost of the expo is worth it because of all the press about the product.

So lets say we’re demo’ing your new 150 inch TV, you’ve got the press eating out of your hands and its costed millions to get up to this point. Then, some little shit comes along and turns off your demo screen. It hurts the businesses reputation by giving all watchers “well, if their demo screen broke… must be crap build quality” and all the press are present to pass on the message. All that free press is now gone and it’ll cost even more millions just to get the same value out of it. Good on you Gizmodo.