Thomas Crampton, a former International Herald Tribune reporter turned extremely amateur videoblogger, cornered spunky Boing Boing editor Cory Doctorow to discuss how to be a better blogger at a conference in China. Doctorow's advice was rather straightforward: Write headlines as if you work for a newswire so search engines can figure out what you're writing about. (We wish he had offered Crampton advice on shooting video interviews instead — or rather, how to pick up a laptop and type notes for a written blog entry, so search engines can figure out what your interviewee is talking about.) But Doctorow couldn't resist a competitive swipe at Gizmodo, the gadgets blog Boing Boing is now taking on.
Gizmodo, we'll gladly disclose, is owned by Gawker Media, Valleywag's publisher. Doctorow, however, did not disclose that Boing Boing had just launched Boing Boing Gadgets, a blog written by former Gizmodo editor Joel Johnson. Doctorow's advice to Crampton is to avoid hiding necessary information behind page jumps:
Don't make your blog suck to increase your page views. 'Click here to read more important information about this,' because we think about you as a sticky eyeball, as an ambulatory wallet, as someone who's attention is to be bought and sold opposed to a reader.
Doctorow goes on to describe Gizmodo as "sleazy" because readers have to click to continue reading an item, which doubles page views and ad impressions.
True enough, about having to click through. One could have a debate on whether it's more useful to have the complete item on a blog's homepage, or to just excerpt items, as Valleywag and a host of other blogs do, so that readers can get more items at a glance without having to click "Next" to get to a new page of older items. But what we really think is sleazy is taking a swipe at a competitor and not disclosing your vested interest in talking trash about them.