CNet seems happy to blow bubbles

I don’t usually like to take shots at competing media (okay, that’s not really true — I kind of enjoy it), but the piece of “news analysis” over at CNet speculating about the value of YouTube has kind of gotten under my skin. I know it’s tempting to take the money that Sony paid for Grouper and divide it by the number of users and then multiply by YouTube’s user base, because I and many others in the blogosphere did exactly that when the news first came out earlier this week.

But at least TechCrunch threw in some caveats about the ComScore numbers for Grouper, and several other people — including Cynthia Brumfield at IPDemocracy and Rafat Ali at PaidContent — have mentioned that the Sony purchase had little to do with the number of users and everything to do with the company’s peer-to-peer technology. The CNet article has a somewhat skeptical comment from an analyst about whether YouTube is really worth $1-billion, but says nothing about how the figure was arrived at based on the Grouper deal, or why there would be any problem with doing simple multiplication based on dodgy traffic figures.

To make matters worse, the piece dredges up a piece in Business Week from March that said Facebook was looking to get bought for $2-billion — a piece that was also widely criticized for being based on little more than a rumour, and was subsequently denied by two Facebook founders. That’s not much depth from an article that goes under the heading of “news analysis.” It makes the bubblicious piece in Business Week about Kevin Rose of Digg look like investigative journalism (Business Week has also jumped into the YouTube valuation pool).

Oh, and one more thing (I can’t resist): the dollar values that have been paid for other companies do not “beg the question” of how much YouTube is worth. They raise the question — begging the question means something else entirely.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.