— John Herrman (@jwherrman) January 7, 2014
Oh look, it’s former NYT techie and current Yahoo Hater of Buzzwords David Pogue making fun of tech blogs’ names and calling out their writers’ headlines as prime offenders in the “meaningless jargon” category. Are you shocked to learn that they weren’t too impressed with his presentation yesterday?
Marissa Mayer clearly wants to reinvent Yahoo as a tech news company for the average browser, what with the elaborate roll-out and the middle-of-the-road Katie Couric appointment, but so far the established tech world is dubious.
Let’s check out Pogue’s introductory Yahoo Tech post to see what this is all about.
“Online customer reviews are fantastic, but there’s still something to be said for reading a critic you know.”
OK, good start. Now why should we read your Yahoo Tech stuff?
“I’m not a gearhead.”
Meaning you use common English. Cool.
“I’m not a PR person.”
That’s your cue to mock PR for using all those buzzwords you hate so much and claim that you approach each product as a “normal” would. That’s cool, but you know what, Dave? No one expects you to reprint pitches or press releases.
“If you’re a tech writer, you can’t say anything good about Apple, Google, Microsoft, or Samsung without hate mail hot enough to singe your eyebrows.”
So Pogue claims to feel no particular attachment to or hatred of any brand. In other words, he’s an objective critic who values “elegance, simplicity, and efficiency” above all else, which is a different way of saying “you can trust me because I’m not a geek.”
Dwight Silverman of the Houston Chronicle further questions Yahoo Tech’s potential, writing that tech sections in traditional newspapers never really worked because advertisers want their spots to appear on the most-read pages and tech audiences are limited; most people only read about gadgets when their own toys break. To Pogue’s chagrin, they’re also more likely to browse user reviews or use the “call a friend” option than to seek out traditional long-form reviews.
At the same time, while Yahoo may not be hip, it’s still the first site your aunt visits when she “signs on” every day. So would you pitch your most important clients to Yahoo Tech over, say, TechCrunch or The Verge?
Here’s what we know: if we want real insight on things that buzz and transmit data, Yahoo will not be our first destination—no matter how many Pogues they hire.
(H/T to Houston Chronicle)