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Neowin feel hard done by?

October 24th 2006 in Uncategorized

They say:

"Guys – let's be straight here: anyone who wants the new build will get it somehow. Be that on the day of release or prior to the official announcement. You cannot expect every news site on the internet looking for a scoop to sit back and make a decision based on morals and postpone the news. It ain't gonna happen."

http://www.neowin.net/index.php?act=view&id=35790

Actually, I *do* expect news sites to make a decision based on morals.  Those who have watched my Web site, www.ie-vista.com and my blog, will know that I specifically said I would not cover leaks.  Many times I have been 'beaten to the punch' by other sites leaking information that I already had because I was respecting a request to not go public, and yes it can get extremely frustrating when it happens, but in the end the level of trust I have built up with many people far over-rides the temporary frustration at being beaten to the punch by a leaker.  I know that they will (and have) drop everything when I need them, and that's a wonderful place to be in (mind you, keeping the Quick Tabs secret for two months… that was a trial… staying quiet about the new IE7 logo.. that was easier… but it was great when the news of both was finally out).

I know for a fact that some popular IT news sites will, in my direct experience, sit on "scoops" when requested to do so until a specific date and time, or somebody else leaks the news first, at which time they feel free to make announcements as well since the information is public anyway.  So why didn't they do this for Firefox?  Hopefully because they were not asked not to say anything. There is often a big, healthy dose of "what's in it for me" when news sites decide whether or not to release information.

Neowin didn't directly link to any complaining blogs, but some of their commentators did – I'll leave it to you to read the blogger's comments on why the leak was/is bad.
http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/preed/2006/10/the_antirelease.html
http://www.beltzner.ca/mike/archives/2006/10/23/its_not_like_were_ashamed.html
http://cbeard.typepad.com/mozilla/2006/10/quick_update.html

The excuse of "anyone who wants the new build will get it somehow" doesn't cut any ice with me.  There's an old saying that I try to live by, being "two wrongs don't make a right".  Is being "first" really so important that morals and "do no harm" can be thrown out the window and excuses made when those affected rightly complain?

To their credit, Neowin did replace the originally publicised direct FTP link "as it was hitting the servers pretty hard", but perhaps it would have been better to think through the implications of publicising that FTP link BEFORE going live instead of trying to shut the door after the horse has bolted.


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