The trick to running a gossip blog is to reject most of the rumors you get. Otherwise, no one believes anything. You quickly learn to spot the gullible chatter, the obvious attempts to plant a story, the too good to be true. Well, usually. We blew it big three times this year by trying too hard for the scoops.
Fake Steve Jobs is Wired's Leander Kahney. Former editor Nick Denton's meticulous analysis of FSJ's prose leads him to believe a fellow ex-Brit is the pseudonymous Steve Jobs blogger. It isn't just wrong, it's patently ridiculous to Kahney's colleagues — the guy's just not mean enough.
Drunk employee crashes 365 Main's colocation site. A tipster uses credible inside knowledge of 365 Main's operations to pass new editor Owen Thomas a timely, credible story that turns out to be completely wrong. The story delivers 145,000 pageviews worth of wrongness. Lesson: Even autistic sysadmins can be full of baloney.
Mark Zuckerberg cashes out. A rumor published at midnight on a weekend during the holiday season gets sprayed all over the Net inside of an hour. Wall Street Journal reporter Kara Swisher shows up at my door in person to tell Owen he's a frigtard.