I was at Flickr’s fourth birthday party tonight in San Francisco with a few hundred Flickr fans, tech geeks, press and Yahoo/Flickr employees.
At some time around 8 pm Dan Farber, the new Editor in Chief of CNET, says, “huh, I just got an email that says, according to [blogger] Robert Scoble, we bought Revision3 for $58 million.” Uh-oh, I thought. I’m in San Francisco, an hour away from my computer. We’re going to be very late to this story.
I asked Farber if it was true. He said if it was this was the first he’d heard of it. A few moments later, after a couple of phone messages back and forth with his team, he said CNET had posted on the rumor (he was joking with me, but I couldn’t read him and thought he was serious). I emailed our team to look into it and cover the story, pulling Mark Hendrickson away from dinner and back to his computer.
I then called someone at Digg, who said something along the lines of “it’s complete bullshit.” After that call I did two things. I told our team to back off the story, and then promptly lied to Farber and said that Digg confirmed the rumor – Revision3 had definitely sold to CNET. Farber (damn him) didn’t bite – he typed a message or two on his phone, then looked at me and said “no, we didn’t.” At that point I laughed and told him what Kevin really said.
Scoble, meanwhile, sheepishly retracted his original Twitter message and the whole ordeal came to a end.
My guess is that 7 or 8 people between CNET and TechCrunch had their evenings at least partially throw into chaos over this. But my only disappointment was that I couldn’t trick Farber into writing a post on CNET that they had acquired Revision3, when it was nothing more than a figment of Robert Scoble’s imagination.
Update: Loic Le Meur gets Farber on video: