Internet dogfight erupts over blog rights
By PATRICIA BEST
Wednesday, November 9, 2005 Posted at 9:15 AM EST
Globe and Mail Update
Late last month, on-line industry newspaper AdAge.com reported that
one in four people in the American labour force spent an average of 9
per cent of each workday reading blogs. And that was in addition to
time spent surfing the Internet in personal pursuits.
AdAge then posed this on-line survey question to readers: Should
employers allow their staff to read blogs in the workplace?
The results came out this week: An astonishing 85 per cent of voters
were in favour of employees having unrestrained reading of blogs on
employers' time. But the results of the survey aren't nearly as
fascinating as the story behind the poll.
Turns out, AdAge and its poll were "gawkered."
According to AdAge, shortly before the poll was to close on Nov. 3,
the website gawker.com plastered the top six inches of its home page
with a headline and graphic warning: "A Disaster Awaits at
AdAge.com." It included a "screen grab" of AdAge's voting page with
the poll's relevant question. Implying the poll posed a threat to all
of bloggerdom, gawker.com proclaimed: "You've got little more than
two hours, kids. Go vote, vote, vote, vote, vote before companies
take Krucoffing to the next level." That reference was to Andrew
Krucoff, a freelance research analyst at publishing company Conde
Nast who was fired last month for leaking an internal company
document to gawker.com.
AdAge says the response to gawker.com's call was as swift as it was
impressive. Before the exhortation to cast votes to flood out the
views of employers, the poll was running 58 per cent against
employees reading non-work-related blogs in the office. Within
minutes of gawker.com's rallying cry, the tide turned and the results
ended up 85 per cent in favour of unlimited reading time.
AdAge has had the last laugh, however, first by outing gawker.com and
second by posting comments from real employers on the subject on its
We like this guy: Tom Messner, a partner at Euro RSCG in New York,
wrote that "if employees don't read blogs, they might turn to Dante,
Dostoevsky, or Twain. Then the employers might really be in trouble."
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