Hot on the heels of Neil French declaring his own “death by blog,” Forbes has published a not-too-flattering take on the blogosphere as its Nov. 14 issue’s cover story. Daniel Lyons, author of the piece, cuts to the chase in his lead: “Web logs are the prized platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective.” Yikes, I have a feeling this can’t end well for Lyons. He weaves together a portrait of bloggers not as pajama-clad socially awkward men living in their parents’ basements, but as cutthroat vigilantes, willing to stoop to any low to smear enemies, real and perceived. Lyons warns companies of the evils bloggers can perpetrate to their businesses, citing Kryptonite’s experience with bloggers’ role in exposing its faulty bike locks. (Interestingly, IntelliSeek’s Pete Blackshaw, one of the biggest proponents of consumer-generated media, pours fuel on Lyons’ fire, saying bloggers “are only going to get more toxic.”) Like most things in life, blogs and bloggers are a messy mix of quite good and quite bad, with big stretches of the aggressively mundane. My guess is Lyons has an axe to grind because he’s tangled often in the past with the passionate open-source world. Early reaction from bloggers has been rather negative,though no sign of the type of organized intimidation campaigns peppered throughout his article.
—Posted by Brian Morrissey