Home > Idiots, Techcrunch, Videos > VIDEO: Embargoes are Stupid.

VIDEO: Embargoes are Stupid.

I’m Walt Mossberg; shut up!

Last weekend, there was a lot of goddamn shouting when people said I broke an embargo early to release my beautifully-written review for Tivo’s new internet-connected device called the Premiere, and those idiots who run Gizmodo and Engadget were telling anyone who’d listen that I was a horrible horrible man, and probably ought to be strung up somewhere for my crimes against humanity. For those of you who don’t know what an embargo is, it’s an agreement you sign not to talk about information given to you for a certain amount of time. You could call it a gentleman’s agreement, backed up by filthy lawyers.

Now, the simple truth of the matter is that I didn’t break the embargo, but so what if I HAD? You can all bite me, because I’m the goddamn kingmaker! What really happened was that I got special treatment. Yes, I admit it, I get special treatment, which for embargoes means I get to release my reviews at about 9pm the night before everyone else gets to launch their own reviews. This is in my contract because I’m an old man and I have to go to bed before my wife gets it in her head that we need to make nuptials together, and companies do it because I’m frigging awesome! Don’t complain to me because I’m better than you!

This whole thing wasn’t a problem with me, it was a problem with embargoes, which are stupid. They’re supposed to level the playing field so everyone can talk about Brand New Thing at the same time, but they don’t, because a person can break an embargo and leak a review early, effectively yelling “First!” in a crowded movie theatre.

Hey, tech journalists: if you don’t like embargoes, don’t SIGN the stupid things! Michael Arrrrington of Techcrunch decided they wouldn’t sign any more embargoes because they’re more trouble than they’re worth, and it’s not like his business collapsed because of it.

Sure, embargoes are stupid, but they’re the way this business works. Companies want all sorts of people talking about their products at the same time to build buzz, and the best way for them to achieve that is to get the press to agree to talk about it at the same time. But does an hour’s difference here or there matter? No, of course not, because the VAST majority of people who read your review will do so after these other reviews have come out. What matters is being the best, and I’m both best AND first, so if you’re not me, you’re screwed.

Sorry, every other person in the world.

Also, when it gets down to it, it’s not like we’re talking about news or other important things, crapdamn it, we’re talking about product reviews; none of this is earth-shattering, nobody lives or dies because somebody scooped you on your review of a USB humping dog with a plate-warmer up his ass. These are first-world problems, and when we complain about them, we look like shallow idiots.

This has been Walt Mossberg; shut up.

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  1. April 1, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Ooooh Snap! Nice Arrington burn.

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