Bloggers Break News on Mini-Inspiron, Reports Suggest

Dennis Faas's picture

Were you amazed when tech blog Gizmodo broke the news about Dell's anticipated Mini-Inspiron laptop last recently? Turns out the "breaking news" may not have been all it was cracked up to be. On The Wall Street Journal's Business Technology blog, Ben Worthen revealed last week that the whole thing was a calculated ploy by the folks at Dell.

In late May, the blogosphere was ablaze with excitement after Gizmodo's Brian Lam posted first-look photographs of an ultra-portable, and possibly ultra-cheap, laptop by Dell. "I bumped into Michael Dell at All Things D after his interview, and he was nice enough to show me this laptop that he was carrying that he said no one's seen before," Brian Lam wrote, "I couldn't tell how big the screen was before it was tucked away into a black sleeve and ushered from the building, but it's small." (Source:

Not long after in a coy, mea culpa Dell posted the following on their official blog, "...Hats off to Brian Lam of Gizmodo as he seems to have caught Michael roaming the halls between sessions and saw he was carrying something...Michael positioned it as the perfect device for the next billion Internet users. While we can't share any details, we can share these [photos]." (Source:

The Gizmodo post to date has 1,638 Diggs and 211 comments, and mainstream bloggers were quick to applaud the blog for its "breaking news." But like a bad hangover after a night of heavy partying the Wall Street Journal arrived to deliver the sobering news. Dell's Vice President of Communications, Andy Lark, confessed that Dell's founder "took the computer to the conference hoping someone would write about it."

The scheme was part of a continuing effort by Dell to engage customers and bloggers outside of the corporate bubble. Worthen says major blogs that post anything about Dell can usually expect a company spokesperson to leave a comment. In fact, the computer maker has an entire communications team dedicated to this very task.

I guess it's not that surprising that Gizmodo's breaking news was more corporate ploy than journalistic doggedness. But the irony is, even now that the scheme has been outed, Dell still gets more press about its Mini-Inspiron laptop that is a little longer than a pencil, has a card reader, three USB ports, an ethernet port, and...oh, they did it again.

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