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Google's hissy fit about CNET

hissyfit.jpgPerhaps you've seen the reports about the flap between Google and CNET, the result of which is that Google has decided not to talk with CNET for a year.

We are surprised that it came to this, because CNET has reported more closely -- and mostly accurately -- about Google over the past few years than just about any publication.

In case you missed it, the fuss stems from a CNET article that revealed a bunch of personal information about Google's chief executive, Eric Schmidt, based on what CNET could find from Google searches. This included the $1.5 billion value of his shares in Google, the name of his wife, his residence in Atherton, the fact that he is the host of a $10,000-a-plate fund-raiser for Al Gore's presidential campaign, and so on.

The article was written by Elinor Mills, a CNET staff writer, and several people (Battelle, Gillmor, TechDirt) have pointed out issues they've had with the article in other ways too.

David Krane, Google's director of public relations, called CNET editors to complain, according to a summary of the events in the NYT. Krane then called back to say that Google would not speak to any reporter from CNET for a year, according Jai Singh, the editor in chief of CNET News.com.

This is a shame because we've often been impressed by the dogged reporting by CNET reporter Stefanie Olsen, who almost always is among the first to report the company's latest offerings.

Update: Interesting perspective here from Dana Blankenhorn, arguing that it's time for Larry and Sergey to retake the helm.

Updated: Mercury News colleague Mike Langberg chimes in (free registration), saying this is a PR black-eye for Google.

Update: corrected typo.

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It is no surprise that the highly image conscious Mr. Schmidt would recoil at having his personal information emerge in the annals of media giant, CNET. That the information was gleaned from an engine of his own creation is secondary to this consistent display of patrician mores which pedantically excludes otherwise bright, inspiring and reknown results-producers from the hallowed halls of Google.
Do I have a personal ax to grind? You bet. After being recommended to the company by a highly placed executive, I received a boiler plate rejection notice simply because I don't bear the proper pedigree.
A tip for you, Mr. Schmidt, Google your appellation before you make a name for yourself. Even I, without benefit of the "right" education, knew to do that.
A Woman Scorned

Perri on August 8, 2005 10:06 PM
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The picture is too perfect!

Cathy Thompson on August 9, 2005 8:58 AM
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This goes beyond having a mere dotcom mentality. Experienced public relations professionals should know better than to acquiesce to management's desire to "cut off" a publication. Pushing back on this type of "cut off our nose to spite our face" thinking is what gains (or deprives) public relations executives from gaining a seat at the table.

Steve Cody on August 10, 2005 11:28 AM
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This is just too, too rich - Google upset over somebody using Google! and, yes, it's a major PR snafu to let this happen. Dr. Schmidt (no relation to me by the way) has excellent "suit" creds - maybe he needs to get a bit more "street" cred - so he'd know better.

Mary Schmidt on August 17, 2005 1:26 PM
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