Lolrus snafu as AP rejects I Can Has Cheeseburger offer

funny-pictures-cats-are-stuck-in-treesEarlier this week it was reported that the AP had turned down a purchase offer by Pet Holdings Inc., best known for the amazingly successful LOLCat’s site I Can Has Cheeseburger. Of all the efforts to Rescue The Future of Journalism™, this was by far the least expected and easily my favorite. As the LA Times put it:

The Associated Press finally axed the project on concerns over "journalistic integrity," Pet Holdings Chief Ben Huh said in an interview Monday. For the prestigious wire service to even consider associating itself with a business that makes a living from fan-made cat pictures may have seemed unthinkable a decade ago.

But if AP had started to consider it (or something like it) a decade ago they would have been a lot smarter about than anyone else in the news business. Today Pet Holdings makes money like newspapers used to. That’s because in addition to I Can Has Cheeseburger, they own a bunch of other equally serious sites, like the LOLDogs site I Has A Hotdog, and the LOLNews site Pundit Kitchen. (In the interests of full disclosure I must admit to regularly reading Cheeseburger and Hotdog.) Pet Holdings is able to make money the way it does because 99.9% of its content is generated by its readers, so all the company has to do is generate revenue from its amazing traffic numbers. I’ve been meaning to write about their marketing deal with the Seattle Mariners for far too long. They regularly sponsor lolcats nights at the ballpark which, I suspect, greatly increases attendance for the last-place Mariners.

Pet Holdings, like the newspapers of the past, has a virtual monopoly on its very loyal readership. The fact that that readership is idiots like me apparently hasn’t hurt them. While I totally respect the AP and their reasons for passing on this deal, this is the kind of totally unexpected move that will finally Rescue The Future Of Journalism™.


And now for the latest in Onanism — AP reports on AP not reporting on Paris Hilton

The actual lede to the alleged story:

So you may have heard: Paris Hilton was ticketed the other day for driving with a suspended license. Not huge news, even by celebrity-gossip standards. Here at The Associated Press, we put out an initial item of some 300 words. But it actually meant more to us than that. It meant the end of our experimental blackout on news about Paris Hilton.

While I applaud the blackout I am hard pressed to imagine any situation which made this follow-up to the non-story necessary.

Science wins a round in Kansas and loses one at the LA Zoo

While anyone smarter than Sam Brownback was glad that the state of Kansas has decided to base its school’s science curricula on actual science, this brief moment of joy was canceled out by the LA Zoo hiring a feng shui expert for its monkey display.

The Los Angeles Zoo paid $4,500 to an expert in the ancient Chinese art of feng shui to ensure three endangered golden monkeys on loan from China can have a strong life force.

Best quote comes from alleged feng shui expert Simona Mainini, “It’s very experimental. We don’t have any books on feng shui for monkeys. [note to self: write book called Feng Shui for Monkeys] We just have to assume that Darwin is correct and that there is a connection and what is good for humans is good for monkeys.”

Oh please leave poor Charles out of this. I could be wrong but I don’t think he had anything to say on the topic of assinine human superstitions being applied to enclosures for feces-throwing species.

Wait, I am wrong about one thing. Feng shui does actually prove one scientific law — the one about the velocity at which a fool is parted from his money.

BTW, shame on the AP for not including a single person mocking the idea that feng shui is anything but nonsense. If they ever need anyone I’m always available. And my credentials are every bit as good as Ms. Mainini.

They report, you decide

FTC Finds Gas Price Gouging After Katrina

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Trade Commission on Monday said it found 15 examples of gasoline price gouging after Hurricane Katrina, though the agency said it has not identified any widespread effort by the oil industry to illegally manipulate the marketplace.The agency sought to downplay the instances of price gouging by seven refiners, two wholesalers and six retailers, chalking up their soaring prices in September 2005 to "regional or local market trends."

For the purpose of the report, and as mandated by Congress, the FTC defined price gouging as "any finding" that the average price of gasoline in designated disaster areas in September 2005 was higher than in August 2005.

FTC sees no illegal gas price manipulation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An investigation by U.S. antitrust authorities found no evidence that oil companies illegally manipulated gasoline prices or constrained oil refining operations, the Federal Trade Commission said on Monday.

However, the agency said it had found 15 examples that fit lawmakers' definition of price-gouging at the "refining, wholesale, or retail level." It said factors like regional and local market trends appeared to explain the pricing in nearly all the cases.

Headline of the Day: Bausch & Lomb Stock Hit by Fungus Outbreak

fungusDon't they wash their hands down their at the NYSE? Isn't this the advantage of on-line trading?

And speaking of headlines … this was the AP's headline on the Enron trial from yesterday Skilling Tells Enron Jury He's 'Innocent' Why the quotes around innocent? Are they implying that he was being ironic? In which case italics and a big wink are the way to go.

Obvious headline of the day competition

Vote now and choose the er, um, winner?

From USA Today: Should business execs meet at strip clubs?
Congrats, though to the reporter for finding someone soused enough to answer in the affirmative: Attorney Rohit Sabharwal, a Rick’s Cabaret regular, says he often takes clients of his small law firm with him and such entertaining was common when he was at a large firm, too. “Nobody really objects,” Sabharwal says. “I think it’s a lot more civilized in the law profession. I don’t think women have a problem succeeding in law firms.” You wanna bet Rohit is regretting this?

From the Seattle PI: Marketers see TV ads as less effective
NO! Really?

The AP story doesn’t help much: Nearly four in five marketers surveyed believe that television advertising is less effective than it was just two years ago, according to a study released Wednesday.

A more insightful take on the same study can be found here at my day job and no I didn’t write it.

Is it just me or is it really easy to get 4/5ths of anyone to agree on something?