Phil Sim

Web, media, PR and… footy

Trashing TechCrunch

Squash has never needed a reason to unload bile on somebody, but when we literally get invited to stick the steel-capped Docs (that’s Doc Martens, not Google Docs, you Web 2.0 freaks) into somebody’s rib cage AND THEN get the lure of $1500 worth of lucre as incentive, well all I can say is line up them shoeshine boys because there’s going to be some scrubbin’ tonight to get the evidence off of this pair of ball busters. So Arrington in writing up this kick-me-in-the-balls competition suggests that potential-trashers start at the site’s Company Index page. TechCrunch is so bad, I don’t even need to go past this page to prove what an amateurish joke this poor excuse for a media-wannabe really is. I will give it this much. TechCrunch’s Companies page is a very accurate reflection of the state of Web 2.0. That is, pitiful. This page is based on tags, yeh? You know, what I’m talking about. Tags. We used to call them categories, before someone put some thought and a bit of effort into the concept and developed them into taxonomies. But then along came “folksonomy” and the business of categorising content was plunged back a decade because it became all-too-difficult to categorise the great wonder that is supposedly Web 2.0. Well, guess what folksonomists, a bunch of four-eyed librarians worked out a far more useful and sophisticated system 130-odd years ago called the Dewey system. And anyone who has built a real content system knows the first-place you start is with a really strong taxonomy. It’s not that hard. But I guess when you cobble together something that’s such a mish-mashed and muddled mess as TechCrunch is then you’ve hardly got time to bother to properly organise your information do you? 

(But please, go ahead, rename something that’s existed for eons, bundle it up with a god-awful buzzword that makes no sense and call it progress. That’s the whole idea behind Web 2.0, after all, isn’t it?)

 Why do tags suck? Well, unless you actually care about what you’re doing, they get stuffed up. As TechCrunch so kindly assists us in demonstrating. Start scanning your eyes down the list of companies and products (TechCrunch was just kidding when they called it a Companies Index – there’s products in there too – because it’s based on tags remember and tags can’t distinguish between such things). You only have to get seven entries down before you hit 30 Boxes. Oh wait, perhaps they mean 30Boxes. TechCrunch doesn’t know which is correct? So don’t ask me. We suspect that if a tag has a space left in, it means it’s the collection of really sucky ‘oh-what-a-great-start-up-can-you-let-me-in-early-on-the-friends-and-family-offering’ style of stories , whereas if the space is missing it’s a ‘pull-together of the oh-shit-my-readers-are-seeing-through-all-the-kiss-arse-content-I-better-pick-on-a-couple-of-easy-marks-my-buddies-don’t-operate’ style of piece. Think 30Boxes is a misnomer? Well, keep scanning. Don’t go too far down, you only need to reach the A’s before you’re hit with another howler. Is it Azureus or is Azeurus? Apparently, little stuff that happens in a real newsroom like checking company names is optional when you’re a blogger.  

(And if you live outside of the US and are prone-to-wonder why Web 2.0 never seems to happen anywhere but in the land-of-stars-and-stripes then consider this piece of jingoistic claptrap from Arrington on one of the Azureus, or was that Azeurus’ posts:

 It is a tragedy that they didn’t include the only BBC show worth watching, The Office”.

 Squash wonders if The Office was any good before the Americans managed to rip it off. Message to all Britains. Turn off the BBC immediately – your YouTube is waiting…. And while, I’m hanging around this dreadful piece of faux-journalism is anyone else sick of Arrington writing lines like this:  “This spells trouble for Pando and Red Swoosh, which offer competing products to publishers”.  

It appears a hell of a lot lot of big-funded projects spell trouble for a lot of well-established start-up these days, probably in the same manner that TechCrunch spells Az-whateva. Success is not always measured by the size-of-your-VC-slush-fund, Michael)

 Anyway, the disaster that is TechCrunch tags goes on unbounded. Is it Moveable Type or is MoveableType? Should you look under Universal Music or Universal Music Group? Do you crack open a VideoEgg or a Video Egg? Pfft. Such details. Throw me another $10k for one of those tile ads, will ya? And can someone please remind me as to what advantages these tags have over doing a simple keyword search? It’s not as if any useful thought has been put into them, like actually using tags to group similar companies or particular markets together. I’m pretty sure if I wanted to find all the Google stories then typing Google into the search bar is going to work just as well as linking to these inane tags. But damned if TechCrunch is going to offer me much help me to find all the stories it’s written about Ajax desktops. Oh, that’s where I’m supposed to use a keyword search? I see the logic. Not. Thanks very much TechCrunch. Or is Tech Crunch? Oh hang on, they got they one right. And they got CrunchGear, CrunchBoard, MobileCrunch and edgeio all correct. Funny about that, hey? What was that? Yes, that was the sound of a rib breaking. Except, this is the problem living in Australia. We get way too much BBC television and you can never find anyone to shine your shoes. Dammit, Micky, sounds like I need to get myself over to the Good-ol-US-of-A for a Web conference. I’ve clearly got a bunch to learn. Like learning how to generate trackbacks!

Filed under: Self-indulgent wanking, Tech Crunch, TechCrunch

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