Thursday, March 1, 2007

"we posted said email... and the internet imploded"

...Kotaku, on their posting an email from Sony's PR group, blacklisting them due to posting/commenting on rumors, and the subsequent fallout.

Sigh. Where to begin?

This post sums up the story from Kotaku's side. In short, Kotaku posted on a rumor of what may be in Phil Harrison's GDC keynote. Sony's PR freaked out, Kotaku stood their ground (way to go Brian C) and posted Sony's reaction to boot, and then the Internet imploded.

Presumably, at this point Howard Stringer got a call from Al Gore saying "leggo my Internet", and Sony backed off and apologized. The Internet is back up, and the various Brians and such at Kotaku can attend Sony's GDC functions and eat expensive puff pastries while getting dirty looks from PR guys in striped shirts.

OK, kids, what have we learned?

  • Refusing to comment on rumor is moderately effective. It's neutral. Reacting to rumor this way is essentially the equivalent of posting a rehearsal of the keynote on GooTube. If I didn't feel confident it was true before, I sure do now.
  • The internets & the press, *especially* the blogging press, love a good scandal. It's way bigger story than whatever your keynote is going to contain, and customers aren't going to like it.
  • People at a big company can get so wound up about self-importance that things get out of perspective. The keynote will still go fine, and even if you yourself leaked what was going to be in the keynote, people would still show up to see it. Perhaps more so. Don't kid yourself. I personally doubt the value of 'the reveal' in this case. I think the keynote would get 10x coverage if they put out a press release that was 7 words long: "avatars, acheivements, more. Show up and see"

Now, PR fustercluck aside, the rumored Sony offering of 'Gamerscore + achievements + Mii's + Habbo Hotel' sounds pretty compelling. I'm looking forward to seeing it... and competing against it.

As my friend Casey once put it... "Now the dancing turns German".