I’d like to revisit a post from last year, entitled “Three Little Words“, where I tried desperately to shake people from the cocaine-style addiction the Apple faithful have to rumor sites.
The trajectory of rumor sites is simple: first, they get a handful of successful predictions while they have a source. They get linked, often by the blogs I referenced above, for somehow nailing their predictions. Their traffic spikes, ad revenues go through the roof. Apple Legal C&D’s them (or sometimes sues), and the legal fight becomes the news for a while.
While the fight is going on, the accuracy of the site starts dropping. Rumored products never appear. Keynote predictions go under 50% accuracy. Wrong information is attributed to “last minute decisions” or sometimes just edited down the memory hole.
Eventually, the traffic drifts to another site, because they’ve started the same trajectory.
Think Secret is on the downward part of this trajectory.
I would give admonitions at this point, warning people away from there, but really, I would rather people stopped putting their faith in any rumor sites.
Think Secret’s trajectory has finished fifteen months after I wrote this, and not with a poor Ryan Meader-esqe whimper, but with a settlement.
Apple and Think Secret have settled their lawsuit, reaching an agreement that results in a positive solution for both sides. As part of the confidential settlement, no sources were revealed and Think Secret will no longer be published. Nick Ciarelli, Think Secret’s publisher, said “I’m pleased to have reached this amicable settlement, and will now be able to move forward with my college studies and broader journalistic pursuits.”
Now, given that Apple fans seemingly know everything, you would think they’d know that a “settlement” is an agreement that both sides reach. As in, Ciarelli has agreed to shut the site down. As in, Apple did not “win” any legal action to force it closed. They proposed a settlement, and Nick took it.
TUAW, how you doin’?
> And how stupid is Apple by forcing this through, killing their most ardent fans? This company is more and more acting like Microsoft. A new Evil Empire. Call them the Evil Twins from now on…! The suits and lawyers has taken over.
TechCrunch, how about you guys?
> This is really disgusting that a company who claims to be the morally right choice(I think there was some advert they released ages ago about being different) Is actually far more evil than microsoft chooses to be. Seeing the way that they are behaving regarding shutting down this site and the way they act to restrict competition on the iphone and itunes, makes me glad that they are not the dominant player in the market. Microsoft may be bad, but they are definitely less evil than Apple.
Slashdot, what’s up?
> So now corporations will determine what independent press is able to say or shut them down? Our news is already skewed enough as it is by the various corporate news outlets who cater to this and that political party.
Macworld, let me hear you!
> How cool is it to bash a college kid? His site has to come down because Steve Jobs is mad? How is it that corporate secrecy is more important than this kid’s first amendment rights? I hope this gets a lot of press.
For a more analytic, less finger-pointing overview, try The Shape Of Day’s ‘Think Secret Is Dead’.