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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

July 5, 2006 at 4:27 PM

Cnet flamed for telling gadget fans how to game Costco

Cnet drew some nasty comments today after running a story that explained how to manipulate Costco’s return policy — taking back flat-screen TVs after the price falls, for instance.

Most of the comments ripped the online publication, saying the story could lead to abuse and demise of the generous policy.

One reader chided Cnet for apparently changing the headline. The story was teased in an e-mail newsletter this morning as “How to game Costco for free upgrades.” This afternoon the headline read “Is Costco’s HDTV return policy ripe for abuse?”

Of course it’s ripe for abuse. Savvy Costco users already know about the great return policy. We’ll have to pull an Eric Schmidt on Cnet if they screw that up.

The flap actually says more about online media than it does about Costco. Cnet has a great feedback mechanism, but if it’s using its flexible format to make controversial headlines vanish you’ve got to wonder about its conviction and accountability.

Comments | More in | Topics: Gadgets & products

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