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CNET Buys Ziff-Davis 131

Pointwood writes "CNET buys rival Ziff-Davis for $1.6 billion. The story is here." Will the day come when there are just three major online news sources --,, and -- and all the rest (including Slashdot) are just barking dogs chasing their wheels? Or will enough new, independent sources spring up and gain enough readers (and credibility) to keep the biggies from getting too much power?
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CNET Buys Ziff-Davis

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  • ...unfortunately the BBC isn't a "free" as beer service to people residing in the UK. People here have to pay a TV license which all goes to the various BBC services. They also get a cut from the British government, which in turn comes from public taxes. The plus point is that there aren't any advertisements on the beeb, but I'm not really bothered about a banner which fills up the top 5% of my screen. The beeb is one of those "services" that you can't opt out...that's democracy for ya!
  • I'm almost 30. You mean I'm not hip any more? ;)

    The rest of the post: right on, man.
  • Aren't they all the same anyway? Corporate mindshare drones worshipping every piece of shovelware to come out of Redmond?

    Slashdot forever!!

  • Amen. ZDNet and c|Net are utter shit. Neither has any sort of journalistic integrity, and both make me feel vaguely nauseous, like a trip to South of the Border or Gatlinburg, Tennessee [].

    Let 'em buy each other. They can wallow in their collective filth. I don't give a damn.

  • A few years ago, I heard about the slaughter of nearly a million people in Rwanda over a few week period. I walked into a room where people were talking about the OJ Simpson trial, and brought it up. After a quick explaination of the details, and a few reactions of shock and disbelief, the people in the room slowly drifted back to discussing the OJ trial.

    It is highly insightful to state that Slashdot continues to post information about a selective subset of information, and that a small group of themes appear repeatedly in its headlines. Unfortunately, pointing this out isn't going to change what people enjoy chattering about.

    Mythological Beast

  • As long as Slashdot reflects the biased opinion (like MS sucks, everything about Linux is good, big buisness is bad) and that the story poster are only reflects the bias of ComdTaco and the like, Slashdot will never grow beyound its market of a few angry people.

    Just go to USENET and ask for their opinion on Slashdot, you'll discover your true self there.
  • "/. will be posting stories about how Windows edged out Linux in yet another benchmark"

    Hmm, isn't that what /. has been doing for the past two years?

  • by BitMan ( 15055 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @06:08AM (#922456)

    Seriously now, at least one good thing comes out of this if ZD adopts c|Net's attitude, the freak'n article titles aren't so "sensational". I am personally sick of seeing an article's title only to read it and come away feeling the exact opposite.

    From articles on Windows 2000 to Linux, it seems that the titles are for CIOs who don't bother to read the article. As such, they continue to use Microsoft and Microsoft partners' products.

    Sm@rtReseller used to be a tolerable ZD publication, but ever since they switched their name to Sm@rtPartner, they might as well have switched their name to MicrosoftPartner!

    -- Bryan "TheBS" Smith

  • I thought it had come, that was why slashdot ignored the fact that it has been proven Netscapes downloader loggs what you are doing?? Oh well :)

  • It has been well known for months now that Softbank was shopping ZD around. Softbank's fortunes had taken a turn for the worst, and management was selling some of its investments in internet properties.
    If you remember, for a short while Masayoshi Son, president of Softbank, was ranked as the second richest man in the world. But then the bottom dropped, and he lost over two thirds of his fortune. ( )


  • Slashdot isn't a news site and it's not independant. At best it's a weblog/BBS, but I personally wouldn't consider that memepool, for example, is doing the same thing as the BBC.
  • by IRNI ( 5906 )
    Were you saying slashdot was an independant site? Its apparently just like ZDnet now.
    Cept it doesn't really break news.
    But it is a buyout thing.
  • by jonnythan ( 79727 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @03:04AM (#922461)
    CNet is far from a "2 year old startup.."

    CNet is at least 5 years old (they recently had an anniversary, but I can't find their link to the story), and they are one of, if not the, the largest online tech sources around. They als have significant resources and revenue streams. Don't believe me? They own,,,, and You don't just happen on these domain names. And you know what? Each of those domains is among the largest in its respective field.

    CNet used to run these ads. the left hand side had a huge bodybuilder and it said "ZDNet in print." The right side had a skinny weakling and said "ZDNet online." They were right. The CNet site is larger, ahs more original content, and I believe has an order of magnitude greater page hits/day (I'm not so sure about that one, but I heard it somewhere). They just do it better online than ZDNet.

    Their TV shows are better than ZDNet's too. I've actually talked to people who have seen CNet's, but I have yet to meet one who has seen ZDTV. This is far from scientific, but it has been my experience.

    Anyway, I've been reading CNet for major tech news and to keep in touch with the "newbie"-er side of computers since it all started, about 4-5 years ago. They've come a long way, and have grown a tremendous amount.

    Haven't you ever noticed that half the stories end with "[some major company such as intel] is an investor in CNet"? Seems lots of large companies have poured some cash into this "startup." Well, this startup has been doing it well since about '95 and has lots and lots of revenue and resources.
  • Power to the status quo! Anarchism on the internet stops here - the animals didn't see the difference between the pigs and humans anymore (Orwell).
    If you have an opinion, eWatch will fire their PR on you, merge of big news companies is: you can't have an opinion anymore.
    Where analysists in the pre-internet era prospected social division into information-haves and information-have-nots, somewhere in Y2K, it became clear everybody had to become an information-have-not, and consume well-prepared information and products.

    I don't like this :(

  • by jht ( 5006 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @03:10AM (#922463) Homepage Journal
    Until relatively recently, a buyout would be the other way around. Ziff-Davis was a large-scale cash machine, with print, web, and TV media, an educational presence, a successful trade show division (they put on N+I, Comdex, and Seybold among others). Not all the ventures were profitable, but they were an old-fashioned media conglomerate, with IDG their only serious competitor.

    Then Z-D started spinning out businesses and taking on outside dollars as the Ziff family all cashed out. Today, most of the above-mentioned businesses are separate, and a money-losing .com manages to buy up what's left of a formerly significant brand name for relatively short money. I assume it's mainly a stock deal, of course. It's remarkable (and not necessarily in a good way) how things have been distorted.

    - -Josh Turiel
  • They want to make money first. Wholesome (albeit a weird sort of wholesome) and amusing (if you can call it that) come second. I'm not sure if accuracy even enters the picture.


  • For a long time now, myself, and I know many others, have lost most(if not all respect) for ZD as far as their editorials, news, and reviews....usually being biased towards the highest bidder.

    On the other hand, CNET has typically had very good reviews and news, never catering to whomever seems to be buying the advertisements.

    So with this merger at hand, will that mean that ZD's publications such as PCmag will actually be worth reading again? Or does it mean that CNet will turn to biased reviews?

    (I hope the first thing that CNet does is fire Jesse Burst...his "Burst Alerts" have to be some of the biggest crap on the web)

    On another note...does this mean that John C. Dvorak is going to return to doing editorials for CNET? I remember he did some half interesting content for them years ago...but not in quite some time.

    --Bring back CNET Central!

    -Julius X
  • Ziff-Davis Inc. is ZDNet, Computer Shopper, and some odds and ends. The print magazines--PC Mag, eWeek, I@W, S@P etc., which also have an online presence on ZDNet, belong to Ziff Davis Media, an entirely different company. Same parents, different kids.

    Steven, Editor at Large, Sm@rt Partner
  • Well, Jakob Grimm is a much cooler name than Jon Katz. That name will carry you until around 35, then you'll have to find something else to make yourself look cool.
  • Where have you been? Jon Katz, interviews and numerous editorial pieces have appeared here over the years. That may not be the bulk of the stories, but still...

    While I acknowledge that Slashdot creates some of its contents (and its not most of it, in your own words) it never gathers news per se, that is, it never collects and reports info on current events, it just merely echoes them. There's a subtle difference in there. Of course, that can be said of most printed media which are increasingly becoming a relay of filtered info gathered by Reuters, Associated Press et alii.

    Uhm, no - that would be kuro5hin. With 200,000+ user accounts and hundreds of submissions in the bin at a time, I would hardly say that Joe reader has much influence. The editors filter the new items they think are worthy.

    To be quite honest, I've been to kuro5hin a few times and I wasn't impressed. The looks are better than Slashdot's (but so are Barrapunto's []) but its mostly "essays" (or rants, if one was feeling cynical) not news. And the name really sucks, but that's just MHO. The fact that the submissions are moderated by the audience is not that great, either: it's just Slashdot with a much larger staff (and a much more diminute audience). But the principle is still the same: echo news that may be relevant to nerds (and that is a filter in itself, which was my point), let nerds appraise them and then publish'em.

    I don't agree with the original poster that /. will become a Microsoft lap-dog, but you can't discount the possibility of them being bought out by a bigger news source. It has already happened - twice - and the /. editors have no say on whom they get sold to any more.

    Perhaps, but they have the proverbial right to vote with their feet, and any possible buyer would have to take into account the fact that Slashdot without the Slashdot crowd would most likely lose a lot of its appeal. Yes, that probably includes Katz too :-)

  • The beeb are in trouble over their online news service. While the govt. pays for them to put correspondednts all over the world, they have very strict rules on what they can do. The money is taxpayer's money. They got into some hot water with the regulators for doing a synication deal with yahoo, basically people were worried that their taxes were being used for a commercial venture. There's also a competition issue. The Register ran an article on it here [].
  • As long as people talk about independent news sources and continue to read they shouldn't be over taken. However, if false stories are frequently posted and the bigger sites get to them first then it will be difficult for independent places to keep their readership. Their other option is to view the news in a different way, such as for a different age or social group.

  • Will the day come when there are just three major online news sources --,, and -- and all the rest (including Slashdot) are just barking dogs chasing their wheels? Or will enough new, independent sources spring up and gain enough readers (and credibility) to keep the biggies from getting too much power?

    Just as there are three main TV networks, and three main print news sources (AP/UPI, Reuters, New York Times), there will probably be only the three main news sources on-line, because of economics. It takes a lot of money to keep reporters who actually go out and find a story, or follow up a tip and flesh it out into a story. If there end up being less than three sources, someone with other media experience will be able to buy their way in, but more than 4 or 5 will end up with such cutthroat competition that some will die or be absorbed.

    However, there will always be a place for specialists, whether under the control of the big 3 or not. Most "General Interest" magazines are owned by one of a few big publishers, but there are thousands of specialist magazines, both technical and non-technical. Many of them are owned by smaller publishers, because there is enough interest to support the expense of publishing a magazine, but not enough profit to interest the big guys.

    The web will see something similar. Specialist sites, including computer-geek sites, will survive, though some will be acquired by the big guys. Sites like Slashdot will survive, but not because they're good news sources. Slashdot (and technocrat and their imitators) will survive because they give people a place to intelligently discuss the news with people of similar interests. This is a different need than plain old news, and one which attracts different advertisers. It is possible to make money doing what Slashdot does, and the biggies are adding slashdot-like features to their news sites, but those won't work as well; the S-N ratio gets too low.

  • I thought ZDNet was a 10+ year old large media company putting out a dozen print magazines with significant online resources and ad revenue. And that CNET is a 2 year old startup trying to make money off web banners.

    How did this happen?
  • Anyone can start their own web site at anytime and make it look as professional as any of the big news outlets.

    The big boys are going to buy out all the little ones and find out that there is a new crop of little ones to buy out again.

    And the funny thing is that NPR is the only unbiased news outlet in America today. It only looks liberal because the rest of the media today is owned by rich ultraconservatives who bias all their news reports to the right.

    An example of this is when the regular new media covers a story where drugs were involved they might paint the person arrested as a "Alleged Major Drug Lord Arrested Today!" and go on and on how drug use is a major scourge of todays society, where NPR will report that Fred Rubble was arrested today and charged with drug possession.

    Then NPR might actually question whether or not the drug laws in the United States make sense.

    NPR might actually question that locking someone up for thirty years for doing what the Tobacco companies have been doing for the past 70 might be a little insane.

    But I guess looking at both sides of an issue is something that only liberals do... I mean, after all, us conservatives _already_ _know_ what is right, we don't need unbiased coverage, it'll only confuse us with the issues.
  • "Microsoft Employee GNUs Linus" would be more newsworthy, especially now we're working on the full human genome... can you imagine a cloneable, genetically customisable Linus Torvalds released under the GNU licence?

  • Ummmm... Doesnt this remove M$ fron the ZDNet fold??? M$ was(is) a partner/owner of ZDNet. This could be a good thing!
  • I'm still amazed AOL bought TimeWarner and not the other way around!
  • Ahem! It is not free.

    The BBC is funded by my television license, which costs around 100UKP per year. This pays for the majority of the BBCs output, 2 terrestial television channels, 3-4 additional digital channels, 5 national radio stations, regional radio for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and 30+ local radio stations for England. The world service is separatly funded.

    Not bad for around 2 pounds a week, is it?

  • ZD magazines have some credibility compared to some of the junk in the UK.

    Linux Format must be the most pathetic excuse for a magazine I've seen since the 8-bit explosion of 1983. Five pounds for lots of irrelevant pictures, large display fonts and inaccurate content.

    I've got a bet on that it won't last beyond the end of this year.

  • But I imagine that even if we had twelve papers, the front pages would be identical.

    It's true. While not "identical" they're very similar. Here, in NB, Canada, we have four newspapers for the province. Three are english, and one en francais. They're all owned by the same people.

    I don't even find it odd that there's rarely any negative publicity for JD Irving (the owner) in the paper(s).
  • I would guess that they would not consolidate the web sites. Each probably has loyal fans that would frown upon a change. Something similar happened to HotBot [] ( and Lycos [] ( They are both online search engines, but it is obvious that they are owned by the same company (Lycos), yet each has maintained their original look and feel.

  • Yes you can, dont use a TV. You can still access for free.

    I really dont mind paying a TV license, the BBC is the best news source I've ever seen (although admittedly the web site is quite short of detailed information), with it's impartial, quality professional style. The fact that there's no adverts is very good IMO too.

  • AOL, CNET & MSN? Nope AOL will eat CNET and MSN buys everyone else. Until both megamedias don't enter a 60-30% market relationship Justice Department will not bother them. Until then, we will read Bill's Quickies, Ask Microsoft, Redmond in OuterSpace, Voices from WindowsWorld at "IconClick" in (Linux??? What Linux????? Sorry but could you spell it? Quite a strange word)
  • Oh that's....oh good lord, why??? Cnet's writing has been going downhill for the last two years or so, get ready for some major SUCK... does Cnet have an IPO coming up? This might be worth investing in, for the first week at least : )
  • This is definitely one of the biggest stories to affect web users today, particularly those who rely on both Slashdot and mainstream tech news sites.

    I would have really thought it'd been the other way around, though. ZD always seemed to be the bigger property (they own nearly every print magazine involving computers on the planet). But then again, CNET always seemed to be rather silent, growing quietly with each passing year and seemingly saving it's money.

    This is big.

  • Hot news on slashdot today: Corporations trying to consolidate and micromanage internet! Discussion: When did this happen?!

    Come on... the entire landscape of the internet and networked communications has been struggling against a domineering corporate presence for about 5-6 years now.

    I'm personally interested in what we are going to do, rather than endlessly talking about every new consolidation story that comes down the pike.

    As engineers who build and maintain the corporate infrastructure, I find that we never lack direct action ideas and opportunities.

    Or are we just far more content hiding in the sysadmin cubicle, silently snickering as we catch up on the latest slashdot news?

  • different: some of the people on slashdot are experts in their fields, and the news happens to concern them. If an article is posted about, say, the Usenet Death Penalty, within a couple of hours there will be a whole bunch of links to UDP sites, people discussing the last time their was one, and what in particular some news-server admins did to prevent whatever abuse.

    This, although it's a bit roll-your-own, is basically everything you'd want in a well written article. The difference is you have to do the mind-work yourself.

    I agree that I'd never trust slashdot re: foreign policy or !news_for_nerds, and all of the posts about China are usually one sided, etc. but for techical stuff (i.e. the new MS buffer overflow) who better to ask then a bunch of admins and people who've written buffer overflow exploits before?


  • They make the software, zdnet reviews the software, you buy the software. Its a neat little circle.
  • This would be a valid comment if it was right. The Licence is ONLY for Terestial TV. I can look at the web site and listen to the radio and watch satalite TV without paying a licence.

    Erm, the TV licence is for the TV - it doesn't matter what you use the TV to view (Terrestrial, Digital Terrestrial, Analouge Cable, Digital Cable (the only digital platform not to work with widescreen TVs properly is ntl's - and guess who owns part of them? Microsoft :) Analouge Satalite or Digital Sattalite). I distinctly remember seeing the TV licence adverts which pointed this out.

    Of course the UK government own 3 out of 5 of the terrestrial TV stations, as they own Channel 4 as well, but thats advertising funded, and shows lots of the good American TV shows, and some good british ones as well.

    Don't worry though - both operate under Royal charters of something, so the government can't go and say what they put on...

  • Just a thought, the only time I ever check out the biggies is when slashdot, or sharkyextreme, artechnica, or a number of others point me there. Normally I can get a more detailed opinion [especially on /.] about the story. Thank god for people always willing to dig up more info and the moderation [when it works right].
  • And get rid of John Dvorak as well.

    Bill Gates has to have his panties in a snit about this. MSZDNet is the unofficial shill for Microsoft.

  • I fully agree on this while my first choice isn't BBC but public media in general. Like the BBC there are mulptiple media organizations, mostly in Europe, which are paid by tax-money rather than by commercial advertising. I'm not too sure how much public media are appreciated in the USA. I know who to trust here in Europe
  • Slashdot is not in any way a news source, big or small (it's audience with put it in the medium-sized category, I guess). Slashdot is just this big echoing chamber where news (or gossip) is spread from several, distributed sources that get it from elsewhere.

    Slashdot has no field reporters to gather (or fabricate) the news: it just relies on its immense pool of submitting contributors, who generally do no journalistic effort of their own, they just stumble upon interesting news from other sources.

    Now that is precisely what makes Slashdot interesting (despite what a vocal minority may think): the contributors filter the news that they think are worthy when submitting them, and since they're also part of Slashdot's audience, the chances of those news actually being of interest to the audience at large are much higher than with traditional media. That (together with the ensuing mass of comments) is the reason Slashdot remains popular and just keeps bulking up.

  • ... Slashdot/Andover/VA will just sell out as usual...
  • Will the day come when Linux news is domainated by just a few companies like VAndover and that crappy place? Oh wait. It is.
  • eriously, most mainstream media is owned by one of like three companies. Time-Warner, Sony, and whatever French company bought up Seagrams

    Bertelsmann (German) is pretty big too; IIRC they recently wanted to merge with Time Warner, but it was not allowed for antitrust reasons.

  • Not at all. Sm@rt Partner is essentially the same magazine as it was under Sm@rt Reseller. Same mission, same staff, same everything.

    Why the name change then? Because people who didn't read us, saw the title and thought, wow, a magazine just for people who build computers in the back half of a strip mall. That was never our mission. Instead, we were, and are, the magazine for people who take technology and turn it into something other people find useful in their businesses. And, we discovered along the way, that people in this business need to partner with each other to deliver the stuff that people really need to make a business go--thus Partner.

    Actually, the idea that we were thinking of a Microsoft partnering is worth a chuckle.

    Steven, Editor at Large, Sm@rt Partner
  • Now, I really can't say this which much certainty, but aren't there quite alot of people who call it the petroleum broadcasting system? I thought that a lot of donations for PBS came from private businesses, especially large industry?
  • I hope that they bring back Computer Shopper. This phone-book sized tome composed almost entirely of ads (and some totally worthless reviews which I ignored) was actually very valuable -- and there really *isn't* anything on the Net that really replicates its breadth and depth. When you do product searches on any site, now all you get are the big suppliers, not the multitudes of small distributors specializing in one type of item (who, btw, often have better prices & service). How are you supposed to find them now? CS was convenient.
  • You mean there's a city in this country that isn't Southam (mediocre standards, editing, and integrity), or the Sun (tabloid sensationalism +80% adds)? I really thought the Globe & Mail was the only other choice. And since it's national, I stick with the Southam anyhow. Oh well, at least they just ignore stories that make Conrad Black look bad, rather than trying to spin it in his favour...
  • If we're all really cranky about a lack of independant news, why not beef up /. to fill the need? Secure some more funding, hire some full time professional reporters, corraspondants and editors and start a full-blown /. news service. We could even take an open-source approach to reporting - users volonteer some time as reporters, editors or where ever they have some skill, and they get called on to write stories, cover events, edit copy... If your work doesn't totaly suck and it doesn't take you too long to finish it, you get karma. (er, maybe it should be a different kind of karma - like in Battletech, you can have a Karma system and a MegaKarma system) We could keep it going by offering bounties for good, well written stories. (Free Tux to author of the best article of the day on The MS case!!!!)
  • Just to clarify, ZDTV is no longer owned by ZDnet. At the beginning of the year Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures bought ZDTV. As for viewers, I watch ZDTV every day. The only Cnet show I ever see anymore is one about investing. Do they still have a big block of shows on sci fi in on the weekends? Also remember that ZDTV is a network that has new shows daily while Cnet only does shows that are on once a week.
  • Foundations. Pew Charitable Trust, Rockerfeller Bros Fund, Ford Foundation, etc... Listen to the "these are not ads, they're sponsor's announcements" ads they run. Those foundations are NOT big business, but they are worth as much scrutiny in their own right.
  • One of the stations in this market (and incidentally, the one I work for :) runs C|net (interesting show, but it's aimed squarely at the typical user, they run NO tech-oriented stories on it).
    Scott Jones
    Newscast Director / ABC19 WKPT
    Commodore 64 Democoder
  • I really like the BBC World Service but I'm sick of hearing that the BBC is somehow more objective than CNN or ABC (or whatever evil American news source you dislike).

    The only difference between the BBC and CNN is that BBC is British-biased wheras CNN is American-biased. In fact, in the UK, the BBC is notorious for its rabidly pro-English bias; just ask anyone in Scotland or Wales.

    Now, I know this isn't going to win me any friends on Slashdot, which draws many of its stories from the BBC, but the BBC also has a real problem with publishing sensational stories. It's far worse than CNN.

    Take the NASA cyber attack [] story. The BBC publishes a story claiming that hackers/crackers endangered the lives of astronauts during a shuttle mission but it never properly bothered to interview any NASA officials until after the initial story hit the airwaves. Of course, Slashdot lapped the story right up and nary a soul was around when CNN published an article [] that set things straight.

    Frankly, I think there are a lot of people on /. who confuse their own anti-American and anti-Microsoft biases with objectivity.

    Good-bye karma...

  • clearly the onion [] wins outright for impartial news :-)
  • Think of them as dinosaurs, slow, lumbering, inefficient, and easy to dodge

    usually the rationale these big companies give for merging and becoming even bigger is that they need to do it so they can better adapt to the white hot speed of the net. yeah right.

  • Really... last I checked, Linux didn't START with press, it grew into the press because there was a demand for news.

    Also, meer NEWS sites aren't going to change that much! Since when do NEWS sites determine what the web looks like? Most of them are junk anyhow, they're just a front page of "news" consisting of blatant advertisments ("No! We really think that WinZip 13's new eight thousand, performance-sucking features are great!").
  • ZD magazines have some credibility compared to some of the junk in the UK. Linux Format must be the most pathetic excuse for a magazine I've seen since the 8-bit explosion of 1983. Five pounds for lots of irrelevant pictures, large display fonts and inaccurate content. I've got a bet on that it won't last beyond the end of this year.
    Now thanks to the overwhelming power of the internet you too can get irrelevant and inaccurate material for free!
  • any word on if any format changes will be comming up? like the terms journalistic integrity will be used around the office(not just in jokes), perhaps manditory fact checking?
  • Their TV shows are better than ZDNet's too. I've actually talked to people who have seen CNet's, but I have yet to meet one who has seen ZDTV. This is far from scientific, but it has been my experience.

    Just for reference, ZDTV [] can be found on Dish Network [] on channel 191. I'm the exact opposite: I used to watch their channel a lot of the time (freeking apartment complex [] .. just had to build that new hi-rise right there, eh?), but I've yet to see a C|Net (anyone besides me remember when the pipe symbol was part of their name?) program anywhere, even on (admittedly crappy) cable.


  • the BBC is run by communists!

    so i like it

  • I absolutely agree. Quality TV, radio and net services, for less than the price of a newspaper is well worth the reduction in 'freedom' some would say the licence fee brings.

    I worry that in the future the current system will collapse and we'll be left getting news and entertainment from commercial organisations with interests other than service at heart.


  • <blockquote>
    Hope that this spells the start of fair reporting by ZDNet's publications. First out the door should be Jesse Berst and John
    Taschek ;)

    If anything it will mean more of the same. ZDNet and C-net both specialize in biased reporting. It's what their main customers want. They cater to the drooling masses who want reaffirmation that using Microsoft is the best solution.

    I'm not saying that the assertion is true or not, or sometimes true or sometimes not true. What I'm saying is that regardless of the preponderance of the evidence people like Jesse Berst will state that "Microsoft's product X is clearly better and more spongeworthy than the competitor's product Y"

  • by irix ( 22687 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @04:27AM (#922514) Journal
    Slashdot has no field reporters to gather (or fabricate) the news

    Where have you been? Jon Katz, interviews and numerous editorial pieces have appeared here over the years. That may not be the bulk of the stories, but still...

    the contributors filter the news that they think are worthy

    Uhm, no - that would be kuro5hin []. With 200,000+ user accounts and hundreds of submissions in the bin at a time, I would hardly say that Joe reader has much influence. The editors filter the new items they think are worthy.

    I don't agree with the original poster that /. will become a Microsoft lap-dog, but you can't discount the possibility of them being bought out by a bigger news source. It has already happened - twice - and the /. editors have no say on whom they get sold to any more.

  • As long as /. stays the way it is I'm satisfied.

    I've got some bad news for you. Have you noticed the increased traffic at /. in the last year? The increase in comments (and poor comments at that)? Slashdot can't stay the same, because (at this rate) soon it will become too big for its own briches. Somehow, either the moderation process or the posting process will have to change, otherwise the moderators won't stand a chance of catching the gems.

    Things change. And so will /.

  • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @04:32AM (#922516)
    Arguably, Slashdot is not the useful news source it once was. It is no longer News for Nerds, but a Weblog with a Repetitive Agenda. Every time Microsoft does *anything* it gets a Slashdot headline. I'm not sure what the intention is. To show how big and dumb Microsoft is? To make Linux zealots even more full infuriated? Maybe it's true after all that the best thing about Linux is that it's not from Microsoft...

    The other Slashdot favorite is "Misinterpreted Licenses and Other Knee-Jerk Responses to Corporate Moves." Lets see, we've had a mininterpretation of the Borland C++ license. Then there was the recent report of Corel selling off it's graphics assets, which turned out to be clip art libraries. Must I continue?

    Then there are the attempts to rile the masses by telling them their freedom of speech has been taken away, though we're almost always talking about dumb trivia: "Hustler will be placed on a rack behind the counter instead on the bottom shelf between Pokemon World and Ranger Rick.

    All in all, it's kind of silly.
  • Microsoft has a bulletin [] addressing this, but no patch yet. Apparently, newer versions of Internet Explorer already solve the problem. Sorry to participate in the offtopic thread, but it could be helpful to anyone that followed the link in the parent post.

    As an aside, Aleph1 and CERT have already questioned (in posts to Bugtraq) SANS' use of hyperbole in that report.

  • I've only read two articles since SmartReseller became SmartPartner and by the simpliest laws of statistics that's not being fair. My appologies as I do not read much ZD anymore.

    But when I did, SmartReseller (now SmartPartner) was the only ZD publication I could stand. Unlike other ZD publications who seemingly play politics, SmartReseller catered to the OEM, integrator or solution provider who needed the job done while keeping his margins in the profitable range.

    In such cases, SR did an excellent job (in most cases at least) of giving Linux a fair review.

    -- Bryan "TheBS" Smith

  • Hi. Read this: http://www.kuro5h []. Please don't b-slap me; this is important!

  • No, I'm surfing from my dorm room for a whoppin' USD 3 per month.
  • If you really want to, you will always be able to find the right information sources. Therefore the smarter folks will find the smaller sites and get smarter. The general public will get stuck with the large propaganda channels and get only as smart as they big corporations want them to be.

    Nothing new, really. There is a tremenodous amount of information and news available on the Net, in libraries, in newspapers, everywhere. Yet there is a large amount of people who depend on TV for their "information" and in some cases (even sadder) for their "eduction".

    The real question we should ask ourselves isn't whether independant sources of information will dissapear but whether the gap between well-informed human beings and brain-dead popcorn morons will grow big enough to create (even more) social (economical, environmental, political) problems.

  • Yeah, me too, but at least AOL has a lot of real, revenue-producing customers and makes a consistent profit. They may or may not be overvalued, but at least they have some real value.

    CNET is a pure .com, on the other hand, with minimal revenue and ample "upside". In other words, a company that has far too high a valuation.

    - -Josh Turiel
  • incredibly american-biased news sources...

    To anyone who _isn't_ in the US that might be a benefit: so long as non-US markets prefer non-US news, your big three news providers will hopefully maintain their virtual monopoly only in the US. As soon as they begin to target their international reporting properly to international people, they are likely to end up being a global monopoly, which sounds much worse!

  • DDJ is one of the magazines I still subscribe to - quite a lot of Linux focus these days, and still some good technical information! While they seem to be trying to attract attention from the non-specalist (like their X-Box article), the article itself (by X-Box guru Micael Abrash) was quite filled with technical details (like the juicy tidbit that it will be a 733 mHz PIII, not a 600 as previously indicated!) (I gotta get my hands on one of those programmible SIMD controllers... mmm... 9 instructions per pixel)
  • I think many independant news sites will continue to thrive as long as they continue to focus on thier core and don't go too mainstream (where huge rules). For example, there is a few sites that cater primarily to overclockers, they will continue to thrive as long as they continue to keep up on overclocking news. I
  • by java_sucks ( 197921 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @04:06AM (#922531)
    Amen to that my brother. Back in the day (okay.. a few years ago) I thought slashdot was cool because they seemed to be aimed towards the hard core techy crowd. But now it seems just the opposite, you see a lot of stories linked to that vast wasteland know as ZDnet. Crap... pure crap. I'm not saying that everything on ZDnet is crap.... but they have no credibility as far as I'm concerned because of the almighty Jesse Burst moron. How can you classify them as a "news site" anyways... mostly dribble and hype which will be contradicted next week by the same moronic "writers"... crap .. pure crap....

    So yeah.. (slashdot != independent) && (slashdot == entertaining) what the hell
  • Journalism to me indicates doing some actual reporting, not just linking to other people's stories and saying "So, uh, what do youa ll think about this?"
  • Remember when the auto industry began in the US there was over 300 different manufactors and now only a handful. So yes this is going to happen where there are just a few big dogs around and everyone else nipping at their ankles.
  • What if there are five-six big news sites. It doesn't have to mean bad service. As long as /. stays the way it is I'm satisfied.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    With the number of Slashdot stories that link to cnet and ZD, and I find it hard to think of this site as an independent news source.
  • by carlhirsch ( 87880 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @02:43AM (#922543) Homepage
    Consolidation in the media sector has been churning like a freight train for quite some time now. Seriously, most mainstream media is owned by one of like three companies. Time-Warner, Sony, and whatever French company bought up Seagrams.

    Think of them as dinosaurs, slow, lumbering, inefficient, and easy to dodge.

  • by substrate ( 2628 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @02:45AM (#922546)
    Neither Ziff-Davis or C-Net has any credibility to speak of if you really look at what they say and there motives behind it. Either company will jump on whatever bandwagon is most convenient so the result of this merger really won't be a dilution of credible news on the internet.

    I can't think of a mainstream computer rag that really has any credibility, online or in dead tree format. There are some decent specialist publications such as Dr. Jobb's Journal (or it was decent last time I checked, maybe its pulled a Byte and catered to the lowest common denominator).

    Sites like slashdot are not in the same league as even Ziff-Davis or C-net however. Slashdot compiles stories from other companies, such as C-net or Ziff-Davis, and provides a forum for people to respond to.

    If slashdot really wants to compete in that arena they would have to do a lot more mainstream journalism: more interviews, write-ups on new technology, product reviews etc. User comments would have to be secondary to the news.

    There are some sites that do this fairly well within the narrow scope that they're interested in. It doesn't mean that slashdot needs to do this however, it really would no longer be slashdot. I've always viewed slashdot as a BBS more than a news source. There is occasionaly something to be learned but usually its from the commentary and not the 'news'.
  • by jbrw ( 520 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @04:10AM (#922547) Homepage
    Last I heard, they were trying to figure out how to get ads to display on the site - but only for people accessing the site from outside of the UK (and, therefore, not license fee payers).

    Ofcourse, that's kinda tricky to do, and, as yet, they haven't found a solution (or have given up).

    The BBC is getting in a lot of heat over here about them supplying news feeds for free to external sites (Yahoo, etc). ITN has taken them to the Office of Fair Trading. We'll see what happens...

    FWIW, is the most popular non-banner ad supported site in the world, or so I read.

  • I only need to avoid one!!!! Woooohooo, productivity here I come!!!!!!!!

  • Exactly my sentiments. It seems that the most important news (ie companies routing [] others into /dev/null) is spread around in the comments in articles. Those comments are, of course, moderated immediately to -1 by the moderation militia. A while ago when the tech stocks started dying off, it was only mentioned after weeks of complaining by the readers. Rob said it as off topic and uninteresting. Techs losing their jobs and half of their personal wealth is off topic and uninteresting?

    Jon Katz. Why? He's proven himself to be completely disconnected from what he writes about, his articles are mindless drivel, and he annoys half the crowd. Isn't this a place for nerds, not for men around 30 trying to look hip?

    Why isn't slashdot more responsive to the readership? How long have people been asking to be able to moderate the submission queue or even simply view the rejects? Does Andover want to keep some things out of the public spotlight?

    Not to mention that half the news that gets posted (between the release announcements of Jayueiima Queeheez Gold Edition Volume 3 and such) is so late these days? Before, slashdot would be on the scene before most of the big organizations.

    Yes, I could stop reading slashdot and go elsewhere [], but I'd rather see slashdot go back more how it was in the old days. I've been reading slashdot for 2 years now and I don't want to see it go down like this.
  • I respect CNet just slightly more than ZDNet. I'm glad ZDNet, at least under that name, is disappearing. It makes sense after all. Their publications are virtually identical. GameSpot/GameCenter, etc.
  • I'd very much like to subscribe to it, but instead of USD 25 per year (as in the US) it would cost me USD 70 []! Sorry folks, can't afford that. Isn't there a way to find a publisher in Europe / wherever else people want to read that magazine, send the digital version of the issue to them and have the thing printed here without huge airmail costs?
  • Wow! I wonder how/when they're going to consolidate all their corresponding websites that ZDNet and C|Net have. Like ZDNet has GameSpot [] and C|Net has GameCenter []. Under which domain name will they merge? WILL they merge? When will this all happen? How will the content be merged?

    And so on...

  • by stab ( 26928 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @02:48AM (#922562) Homepage
    The big three you mentioned up there are also incredibly american-biased news sources; something else that is of concern to those interested in independent news reporting.

    Rock on the BBC Website [] and the BBC World Service []!

    Not perfect, but imho a slightly less skewed view of the world than most other reports.
  • by A Big Gnu Thrush ( 12795 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @02:48AM (#922563)

    In television, there are only a handful of news sources, and if you take the time to watch the evening broadcasts from the Big 3, they are spooky similar.

    Here in Atlanta, we only have one newspaper. We've tried to get rid of it, but without success. I'll keep trying.

    But I imagine that even if we had twelve papers, the front pages would be identical.

    Digression: did anyone else notice that with OJ, JonBenet, and Monica Lewinski network news and Weekly World News were finally reporting the same story.

    I don't think this is anything to worry about. Those who want to be fed approved information will stick with the major sites. Those who want more will go to specialty sites. The internet excels in this area, because it allows a website to operate at low or no cost. You couldn't put out a well-circulated newspaper or magazine as a hobby, but it's been proved repeatedly that any numb-nut can make a website.

    As for me, I'm part of the herd, so I'll stick with /. for all of my news needs.

  • Even ZD and CNET together don't have as much raw clout as Slashdot. I wouldn't worry.
  • Well, as long as you take the bother to read stuff in any language other than English, of course, there is quite a good selection of active independent online news sources besides the ones you Americans tend to stick to; for instance, the Heise newsletter [], the Spiegel [] or TAZ [] online magazines or the [] service in German or, for example, iltalehti [] in Finnish, even though that one's fairly yellow press.

    Even though some of us don't like it, this is an increasingly globalizing world where being able to understand others is a bit of an advantage.

  • /. will get sucked in when MS buys I could see it happening.
  • by kmcardle ( 24757 ) <> on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @02:52AM (#922574)
    and all the rest (including Slashdot) are just barking dogs chasing their wheels?
    I've always viewed /. as the dog that stops, smells the fire hydrant, and then tries to port Linux to it.
    then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel is just a freight train coming your way
  • DDJ is still decent. It is one of the few print magazines I still subscribe to. Hard to find, well-written articles on software development on the internet. It's nice to have editors to sift through the quacks on my behalf.
  • our attention. Media companies have always competed for it and always will. If this deal means the merged entity will get more of our attention, it will work. Otherwise it won't.

  • by Spudley ( 171066 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @02:56AM (#922578) Homepage Journal
    The comment in the article about the only real players being AOL, MSN and managed to ignore the gool 'ol BBC, which is always my first choice for news.

    Okay, I know that sounds like flame bait, but hear me out:
    Of the above three names, the only one I visit ever, except when referred to an article by someone else, is The others are simply too tacky to be taken seriously (IMHO, of course!). (I would have mentioned CNN, but they fall into the same trap too)

    The point is that if I'm looking for news, I'll go to a news site, not a portal, and if I go to a news site, I'll chose one that looks professional, has good quality writing, and which I trust. The BBC is the only source which really fulfills those criteria for me.
  • As graphic as it may sound, it seems like the online scene is basically one big orgy. The big strong companies are in bed with each other, and then they team up to brutually rape the little guy. No doubt Slashdot has its own little role in bed with all the big online news sites, seeing as how much of the news articles are sucked up out of Zdnet/Cnet and then spit back out at all the site's readers.

    I know this is only the news industry, but judging by the current way the big press companies twist the news, I hate to see when these huge media corporations force the smaller, growing news sources to pull out of the scene. It's not too unlikely that this will happen at some point. I'm just afraid that all our news will be deflowered of its meaning and skewed to hell without any alternate perspectives presented. Paranoia perhaps, but not impossible.

    At least I take some level of self pleasure in the fact that both Zdnet and Cnet, at least for now, consistently spurt out news that I am actually willing to swallow. I just pray the day doesn't come when every news story I read is so unpleasant that I have to gag and spit it out.

    "The most fortunate of persons is he who has the most means to satisfy his vagaries."

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky