CNet - What's their $@!#'ing Problem Anyway?

Thread Title:
CNET: All Glory No Guts
Thread Description:

There's a small amount of buzz about CNet "launching" trackback support today. Well, firstly: Wakey wakey boys and girls, TW was talking about this back in November heh..

Secondly, Jason Dowdell raises a good point when he highlights the fact that CNet do not link out! I remember a well known webmaster forum owner bitching about one of their reporters, Stephanie Olsen, always pinching stuff from his website and never linking back or crediting but it actually goes much, much further than that.

The thing is, many of CNet's stories are really rather useless - better suited to print than the web - Really, reading your average Cnet story can be quite a painful experience, a typical read will involve (for me):

  • Seeing cited article titles that are not linked
  • Seeing brands, companies and people mentioned that are not linked
  • Seeing other news sources cited and not linked
  • Having to do advanced searches on various engines to find the unlinked material

What is it with these muppets? Don't they get it, or are they just greedy bastards who don't need to care about the user experience due to their size and influence?



Yep - had one of their staff follow a trackback from CNet in December and politely asked me not to use their screenshot of the latest AOL browser when I covered it.

Can't say I really care one way or the other about trackback from Cnet - they are active links, but from a little subdomain tacked on, like SEW does, so in SEO terms it's not a great value link (IMO). But I can't say I'm really interested in collecting trackbacks anyway, so I find it a non-issue*.

Interesting that Jason Dowell complains about it in his Marketing Shift blog - which doesn't seem to accept trackbacks on his site. :)

* waits for a SEO-slapping.

CNET is not in it for SEO

What is it with these muppets? Don't they get it, or are they just greedy bastards who don't need to care about the user experience due to their size and influence?

You hit in on the nail here...I subscribe to CNET alerts, but these damn guys seem to be more of a professional corporate spammer than anything else. And they get away with it because of their I guess size does matter afterall eh...


SEO was never my thought here - i just mean purely from the user experience - just because i, to some extent, need CNet, does not mean i should blindly accept a shitty user experience right?

Really, reading the full report there sometimes and trying to guess what they should be linking too is just too painful.


...and welcome to Threadwatch mugshot! do go and introduce yourself here - very nice to see you in here mate :)

Very true...

I absotively agree Nick. CNET reports are not the most user-centric reporting out there...I find myself wasting too much time trying to decipher some of their reports, just to find out its all junk...maybe they should start labeling the "Junk" sections and the "Real Reports" :)

... is owned by CNet - they link out to TONS of web sites. Including one of my own :) And I just checked the source, its plain HTML.


I'm actually impressed they even set up the trackback system. Think about it - a major website decides it will set up links to all those little sites pinging it - I'd call that progress, and even more so at a time when the nofollow tag means that lots of small sites will be purposefully crippling connectivity.

Maybe the arrangement isn't perfect, and the fact they don't even jumpscript links out does make research awkward - but surely anything that works to help aid internet connectivity can surely only be a step int the right direction? Just 2c.

Yes, no, maybe...

It's impressive that they did it, just not real impressive...

Their stated objective was to "help readers follow the flow of interactive content", but the way they implemented it doesn't even do that -- how many people reading an article there are going to click the "trackback" link, let alone know what it is?

If they really intended to do what they claimed, they'd include the trackbacks with the comments at the bottom of the page, or at least a link from the comments that said something marginally explanatory like "more comments from other sites"

Since most bloggers probably won't track them back without placing a link, this accomplishes nothing but get them some nice fuzzy "blog-aware" buzz, and another source of traffic for their site -- not only doesn't it return PageRank in kind, it isn't likely to even send a clickthrough (nor does it, the few times I've tried it.)

Maybe after all of the hype washes off, another news service will be interested enough to try doing it for real...


The developer is a member here, he posted in the original report back in november, maybe he'll see this - he seemed like a nice chap..

It may be that they simply "dont get it" and there's nothing more to it than that, but it's no real excuse is it?

Welcome to Threadwatch by the way meta4ic, please introduce yourself here...

Getting it

Well, they recently hired the lead developer of WordPress ("Photo Matt" Mullenweg) hopefully he can inject some cluefullness as to "how things are done" :-)

Thanks for the welcome, Nick (longtime lurker, first time poster, and all that) -- I'll go write an intro...

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