Fifteen Most Useless Internet Jargon

From the good people at Gawker.

  • Unpublished: Blacklisted. Made famous by Boing Boing, who insists that they didn't violate their standards of openness by hushing someone up.

  • Brand advertising: Bad clickthroughs. "We have a clickthrough rate of one in ten thousand, but we're more of a brand destination."

  • Influential: Unread. If a site isn't popular, it insists its small audience is made of "influentials" or "early adopters."

  • Update: Fix. On a blog or in a program, an update means something was broken.

  • Experimental: Failed. Everyone secretly hopes their projects take off, so they can say "Oh, it was just a fun little project!" More often, the project gets just the attention it deserved: none.

  • long_tail_graph.jpgLong tail: Obscure. Because it's a book title, "long tail" has a cache that hides its actual meaning: things that get very little attention and only matter in aggregate.

  • Stealth marketing: Hoax. "Viral campaigns" like the dubious ad for headsets that showed phones popping popcorn (a scientific impossibility) are just fraudulent hoaxes. Putting them on YouTube doesn't change that.

  • Platform: Vague idea. Instead of a useful tool, a tool for other people to make useful tools. Possibly a cash cow, but boring. (For a geekier set, a platform is for those too lazy to code; an API is for those too lazy to write a platform.)

  • Pile-on: Unanimous criticism we're ignoring. Used by Boing Boing to imply that the lucrative commercial six-person blog had no chance to defend themselves from the masses of powerful, uh, blog commenters.

  • Stepping up: Stepping down. Used when a CEO is pushed out and exiled to the board or made "president."

  • Beta: Broken. For some web services, "beta" is as regular as PMS until Google buys the company.

  • Viral: Cheap. Of course, sometimes that's the kind of ad a brand deserves. Note which brand was faster to jump on viral videos: Not Coke, but Mentos.

  • Restructuring: Mass layoffs. Even shiftier than "downsizing."

  • User-generated: Quality-deprived. Or "can't afford an NBC deal." Except for a few impressive exceptions, user-generated content is a swamp not worth slogging through, which is why sites like YouTube set up a partner program for "better" producers.

  • contextual-ads.pngContextual advertising: Bottom-of-the-barrel ads. What's left over after "brand advertising" and served with "user-generated" content.

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