PC World Headline Fail

by on April 20, 2010 · 3 comments

Stephen Lawson reports here on BitTorrent CEO Eric Klinker’s comments about net neutrality regulation at the eComm conference yesterday. Klinker used the word “regulation” to mean a couple different things in his remarks, but nothing he said justifies the headline PC World gave the story.

Here’s Lawson reporting Klinker’s comments:

“There is no ambiguity. There is not going to be, at least in the near term, a strong regulator for broadband,” Klinker told the eComm conference in Burlingame, California.

Instead, it is the public that will pass judgment on how service and application providers behave, Klinker said. “The public is our regulator.”

“The public is our regulator.” But PC World ran the story under this headline:

“Broadband Has No Regulator, BitTorrent CEO Says.”

It will not be a government regulator; it will be the public. Perhaps Klinker regards the public as a weak regulator, but PC World takes the public to be no regulator at all. Stupendous.

Even the strongest skeptic of markets believes that the public has some influence on businesses’ decisions and actions. With inaccurate headlines like this, PC World could stand to learn what market regulation is like when readers stop reading and advertisers stop advertising.

It’s worth noting that Klinker almost certainly helped incite and organize public reaction to the Comcast Kerfuffle, enjoying a PR coup that is still paying his company dividends. Klinker knows a little bit about how markets regulate.

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