Over on ZDNet, Donna Bogatin tried to be funny today. But she ended up getting basic facts wrong in her attempt to mock me (and/or Yahoo).

I don't run AdWords

This is a little hard to believe for someone writing at ZDNet, but she managed to accuse me of running AdWords. Except that I'm not. I'm using AdSense, the Google advertising system that random people can sign up for to stick ads on their web site. AdWords is where you pay Google to advertise. They're really two very different things.

To put this in plain English: AdSense is for publishers. AdWords is for advertisers.

I don't need YSM

Continuing her confusion about advertisers and publishers, she says:

But does Zawodny know HE can always advertise through Yahoo? Yahoo Search Marketing isn't that hard to find, is it?

Huh? Yahoo! Search Marketing (YSM) is our rough equivalent to AdWords. It's where people go to bid on keywords and submit their ads. I have nothing to advertise, so this is a bizarre accusation.

Perhaps she's thinking of the Yahoo! Publisher Network (YPN), our AdSense competitor that's in limited beta?

Yeah, I've tested that. I even mentioned that over a year ago. And, if you're curious, I'll likely have another test running soon.


I guess the lesson is that someone who writes about "digital micro-markets" can't tell the difference between products aimed at publishers and those aimed at advertisers. I guess the further lesson is that such a person, in their rush to publish, doesn’t examine my previous public statements on the matter (using this magic "search" technology).

Donna, you're not making ZDNet look very good. Please stop. You can do better than this (I hope).

Posted by jzawodn at October 26, 2006 05:31 PM

Reader Comments
# Bob Lee said:

Actually, she got it right: "Zawodny even has his own dedicated Google AdWords 'Advertise on Jeremy Zawodny’s Blog' solicitation page to recruit even more customers for Google."

And, it is pretty funny. Thanks for pointing it out. ;)

on October 26, 2006 06:35 PM
# anonymous said:

But, why would you still use Adsense and not YPN? People will infer that your test failed, at least for this site, and thus won't pester YPN as hard, under the logic of: "what is good for Zawodny is good for the blogosphere". What kind of Yahoo are you if you keep it on there, hmm?

on October 26, 2006 07:10 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

People will infer whatever they want to infer. That doesn't mean I need to explain the testing goals.

on October 26, 2006 07:15 PM
# Sumit Chachra said:

Seriously that was the worst article on ZDNet I ever read ... the worst I read anywhere for that matter!

The "advertise on this site" link on the adsense ad unit is for all publishers. Accusing you of promoting to advertise is ludicrous.

on October 26, 2006 08:04 PM
# ted said:

best post in a while. outstanding.

on October 26, 2006 08:06 PM
# ha said:

Donna, after peeing google for almost a year, time to pee here too? :)

on October 26, 2006 09:16 PM
# Cristian Mezei said:

LOL. She's totally out of this planet.

on October 26, 2006 09:58 PM
# Cipher said:

I have never been a fan of PC {Magazines | Worlds} and CNETs of the world (Have you ever noticed how out of whack the editor's ratings are from the ones of the users?). Most of the time these writers are clueless about technology, and the companies they write about.

Thanks to blogs one does not have to read the crap, and can keep at the cutting edge of technology.

Of the tech writers I like the most is Lee Gomes at WSJ.

on October 26, 2006 10:03 PM
# yoda said:

You guys are right... She is one of the dumbest tech reporters. Too bad, zdnet doesn't fire her. Another thing I have noticed is that she is always anti google....and comes up with conspiracy theories all time. She is obsessed with google and won't even leave JZ out of it.

Like someone said, she is as if from a another world :-D

on October 26, 2006 11:02 PM
# roopa said:

Your right, most people seem to have a problem understanding the difference between platforms for publishers from those of advertisers. That was a weird article.

on October 27, 2006 12:55 AM
# Donna Bogatin said:

you are a google whore.
Resign from that god damn company.

on October 27, 2006 01:16 AM
# Donna Bogatin said:

yoda. How dare you question my proffessionalism in journalism of tech reporting. IAM the BEst, Jeremy ..stop this slur..or else expect a call from my lawyers.

on October 27, 2006 04:16 AM
# said:

people say her articles are the worst, she always seems to get the wrong end of the stick. Inclined to agree.

on October 27, 2006 04:59 AM
# Donna Bogatin said:

Hey Nameless

How dare you say that!!

on October 27, 2006 06:04 AM
# Ryan said:

Jeremy, does Yahoo have some interenal policy preventing you from running YPN and making more than $X / month with it?

I hear that some Google employees are subject to those types of restrictions with adsense.

As for the 2, I've been thoroughly testing for the past year, alternating days, then weeks, then months, and YPN always makes me more than Adsense.

on October 27, 2006 06:14 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:


No, there's no policy I know of like that. I'mn not sure how preventing employees from using and knowing our own products would be helpful either.

on October 27, 2006 06:23 AM
# Melissa Della said:

I hope that's someone impersonating Donna in the comments. They're really not making things any better.

on October 27, 2006 07:12 AM
# Liana "Li" Evans said:


So you know if ZDNet has a policy that their writers know what they are talking about before they publish their articles that make an "arse" out of themselves?

And why didn't she contact you regarding what you use? Perhaps if she had done that, you wouldn't have had to correct her. :)

on October 27, 2006 07:14 AM
# Chris "Silver" Smith said:

I read that article yesterday and thought it was very erroneous before you mentioned it here.

It seemed quite likely to me that you had signed up for an account in order to kick the tires on a competitor's product. Surprised this possibility didn't seem to occur to her. Likewise funny that a reporter wouldn't check with the subject prior to publishing. Blogging has perhaps made some reporters feel that they can loosen the processes of good journalism.

on October 27, 2006 07:39 AM
# Ahem said:

Donna is the Bill O'Reilly of Silicon Valley.

on October 27, 2006 08:21 AM
# Ryan said:

I can see how she can make that confusion though. Most people can't tell the difference between Google sponsored ads and organic results in search, how can you expect them to get the difference between 2 services they don't use?

As a tech industry writer though, she has no excuse. She should be fired. You should sue her for slander, isn't that what everybody does now? (i'm being facetious)

As a sometimes freelance writer, I've dealt with many journalists... including some prominently known ones... and a lot of them are complete idiots when it comes to technology.

on October 27, 2006 08:42 AM
# Naughty Neighbour said:

In a press Q&A with Eric Schmidt, I casually explained to Bogotan that I was not a journalist per se, just a part-time blogger who actually is an expert on paid search advertising. "I'm really a marketer, but I also write," I said.

Her reply, no fooling: "Then what are you doing in here?"

Given the quality of her writing I was tempted to respond "I should be asking you that question," but I was feeling polite so I clammed up and let her get psyched up for her overblown rhetorical questions to Eric.

on October 27, 2006 09:14 AM
# Raffy said:

Wake up and smell the dogfood! /sarcasm

ps> You pwned.

on October 27, 2006 10:08 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Mmmm. Dog food.

on October 27, 2006 10:10 AM
# Sheela Kapre said:

This is not the first time Donna got the facts totally wrong. If I were her, I would have written the story, asked Jeremy to comment on it, then decided what to publish (including his comments).

on October 27, 2006 10:45 AM
# ZiffDavisImNot said:

You're still using a Google product. Bwah!

on October 27, 2006 11:13 AM
# An amused Googler said:

I'd say I'm shocked at how clueless Ms. Bogatin is, but -- given her writing history -- nothing should surprise me. Aside from the already-pointed-out errors, did she not stop to consider the value in getting to know a competitor's products?!

I work for Google, but use Flickr. I think PicasaWeb is pretty neat, but I already have a large collection (and many friends) on Flickr and I also find interesting UI and community-oriented insights there. I know this is crazy, but I sometimes use other non-Google products, too, even when we have existing Google alternatives.

Her editorial's implication that geeks should blindly use only the products of their employer is laughable at best, harmful at worst.

My goodness, when will ZDNet finally (strongly) encourage her to "spend more time with her family" or "pursue new and exciting other endeavors"?

on October 27, 2006 01:52 PM
# Steve Mertz said:

Donna...you ignorant s**t

on October 27, 2006 02:10 PM
# said:

If you try "yahoo ad system" from google news search, the first result will be "Jeremy Zawodny loves Google (AdWords)".

on October 27, 2006 02:22 PM
# Mike said:

Hi amused Googler,

Since you are google employee, your post certainly make me feel Flickr is better than Picasa.


on October 27, 2006 02:35 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

And, for those of you not playing along at home, "Mike" is a Yahoo employee who chose not to mention that.

on October 27, 2006 02:42 PM
# Kevin Burton said:

Adwords vs Adsense or Yahoo Search Marketing vs Yahoo Publisher Network

I can't see HOW she could have become confused!!! (sarcasm)

Seriously. You guys sucks at naming your advertising products. :)

on October 27, 2006 04:32 PM
# seo'brien said:

Great response Jeremy and thanks for following up on the story.

on October 27, 2006 04:55 PM
# IncrediBILL said:

Reporters are kind of like teachers, if they could actually do something they would be doing it instead of trying to report or teach about things they only know academically.

It would appears in Donna's case she missed even knowing about the topic from a purely academic perspective.

Ya know Donna, if your boss hasn't taken your keyboard away and bashed it into itty bitty pieces over this latest show of ineptitude, then he's dumber than you are.

on October 27, 2006 08:01 PM
# Duncan said:

> Donna is the Bill O'Reilly of Silicon Valley.

More like the Keith Olberman.

on October 28, 2006 12:08 AM
# Philipp Lenssen said:

> Jeremy Zawodny's blog is described at
> Google.com as "The journal of an employee
> of Yahoo, which includes news of the search engine
> and the company."

Donna doesn't really seem to know this quote originates on DMOZ.org, not Google (Google just pulls DMOZ descriptions).

On the other hand, though I agree she confuses AdSense with AdWords (and their respective Yahoo counterparts), we have to give it to her that AdSense and AdWords are not necessarily "two very different things" but, by and large, two different perspectives on the same thing (you use AdWords to push ads into AdSense, among others, and clicking on your AdSense "advertise here" button takes you to an AdWords-branded page).

But yeah, if you're gonna attack someone better make sure your arguments are waterproof... only when you praise someone can you get away with making errors :)

on October 28, 2006 11:58 AM
# Ferg said:

lol at Donna!

on October 29, 2006 06:19 AM
# Monia said:

Are you Pole? :)

on October 29, 2006 06:43 AM
# Christian Cadeo said:

Bottom line is I have removed her from my RSS feed as if she cannot get her story right, it is a waste of time for me to read it.

on October 29, 2006 09:50 AM
# Embarrassed SEO said:

You all are bickering on like a bunch of six year olds beating on their chests blurting out who knows more about Yu-Gi-Oh. Pathetic.

Move on. Nothing to see hear.

(Yes, "hear" as I am sure many of you will want to point that out to make yourself feel better about some dumb little point. No, I'm not Donna.)

on October 30, 2006 06:17 AM
# elpresidente said:

me too :)

on November 1, 2006 01:38 PM
# Tallus said:

Donna Bogatin...if you are a serious professional journalist, whu dont you spell 'professional' correctly?

on November 2, 2006 10:58 AM
# BillyG said:

Truth is, I got tired of reading her stuff by the 2-3 article. I can't believe they haven't fired her yet.

on November 27, 2006 05:07 AM
# Blendah Tom said:

I just did a Google Blog search for Donna Bogatin after reading another Google bashing article 1 of three this week so far. And found this thread ..how appropriate .. How does she still have a job?

on February 1, 2007 06:04 AM
# Weaver said:

The person who said Donna is on another planet is absolutely correct.

on March 8, 2007 12:04 PM
# Weaver said:

And I meant to add, she threatens everyone with "her lawyers."

on March 8, 2007 12:13 PM
# DB Cooper said:

You guys are so humorless. "Donna Bogatin" is a long-running satire of the highest quality. Please offer your support for this fantastic joke.

on May 5, 2007 02:55 PM
# Jay Neely said:

I came across this post while Googling for "Donna Bogatin", and thought I'd leave a comment since I also recently expressed displeasure at the low quality of one of her articles, which have completely misreported Facebook in comparison to MySpace.

on May 25, 2007 06:48 PM
# Fayza E. said:

Donna and her erroneous blogging strikes again! Except now she has attacked me, a Yelper in Houston, with her unfounded and inaccurate conclusions:


Thanks for outing these unresearched bloggers that only bring the blogosphere down!

on October 6, 2007 08:19 AM
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