Like it says on the tin.

Understanding Paul Thurrott

To date, attempts to categorize tech pundits have been met with resistance. I had a revelation skimming Paul Thurrott’s thoughts on the iPad, published a mere two months and 2 million sales late — Paul represents a new category of technology writer.

But first, a bit of background. Some find this thought uncomfortable, but things change. Used to be that there were just tech magazines who mostly wrote favorable reviews of the latest gadgets to ensure a steady stream of advertising revenue.

Then, the Internet came along and bloggers rose up, vowing to speak truth to power. While thoughtful writers like Gruber and Merlin would emerge and thrive with the core audiences they built, self-styled pundits like Paul Thurrott hoped to create an entirely new class of technology writer — the full time huckster as blogger.

Just look at his site, littered with text and banner ads. Paul and his ilk know that there’s always money in the massive ad budgets of clueless technology companies to buy off a handful of bloggers, how else to explain all the Microsoft banners amongst the sponsored links, featured links and adsense blocks? A sure sign of contempt for your audience is the now ubiquitous double green underline, which serves to highlight words in an article with high keyword value, not provide any actual utility to the reader.

It helps to think of writers like Paul as serving no actual purpose other than to fill some content on a page to put ads on. In that way, he’s consuming your attention rather than contributing anything, well, at all.

Flaws and all, Paul is indeed in a class all by himself. He’s a new kind of pundit.

— Contributed from my iPad