Gizmodo Pulls Prank at CES

Posted on January 11, 2008

Gizmodo bloggers pulled a stunt at CES where they used a device to turn off many of the tvs and displays at the electronics show. The stunt has perturbed some tech bloggers, including David Pogue. Some bloggers are also concerned that the stunt could cause a backlash against bloggers attending electronics shows. But not everyone feels the stunt is a serious problem. Mathew Ingram asks What's the Big Deal?.

Puh-leeze. Not surprisingly, Denton is unapologetic (although Lam says he's sorry about disrupting the poor Motorola guy so many times during his presentation). Most of the events in the video are completely harmless, with TVs winking out as people are staring at them in the big hall - so what? I find it hard to get too excited about the whole thing, and much like Nick I find it refreshing that someone is standing apart from the slack-jawed and drooling coverage that CES gets in other places.
ZDNet's Between the Lines also thinks the Gizmodogate outrage is overblown. The prank itself is clever and the video is funny but the Gizmodo bloggers may have taken the stunt too far when they repeatedly turned off some of the same TVs disrupting CES presentations. In a business situation a funny prank can very quickly become annoying. As Zoli notes these people "worked hard to prepare, stage and deliver" their presentations. This is unlikely to have any impact at all on tech blogging in general as some are suggesting. If any bloggers are barred from future tech shows it will probably just be the Gizmodo bloggers and not all tech bloggers. At any rate the video sure shows that the TV-B-Gone devices that Gizmodo used at CES are very effective at turning off TVs. Maybe it is these disruptive devices that should be banned from tech conferences. CyberNet says everyone will be covering up the infrared ports on their displays at next year's CES -- probably a good idea.

Update: Portfolio reports that the Gizmodo blogger has been barred from any future CES events. They are also reviewing possible sanctions against Gizmodo and Gawker.

"The Gizmodo staffer interfered with the exhibitor booth operations of numerous companies, including disrupting at least one press event," the C.E.S. said in a statement. "The Gizmodo staffer violated the terms of C.E.S. media credentials and caused harm to C.E.S. exhibitors. This Gizmodo staffer has been identified and will be barred from attending any future C.E.S. events. Additional sanctions against Gizmodo and Gawker are being reviewed."

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