New BYTE bitten by link bait

July 18, 2011, 11:57 AM UTC

Editor of the reincarnated publication retracts — by strike-through — its first opinion piece

BYTE's re-launch was celebrated in Times Square

It was not an auspicious beginning for the reincarnation of BYTE, the bible of the “small computing and software” business for much of the 1970s and ’80s before it was bought and unceremoniously killed by CMP Media in 1998.

Four days after BYTE was relaunched last week as an online publication, its editor not only retracted its inaugural opinion piece, but apologized for allowing it to be posted in the first place.

“BYTE strives for authority above all, in keeping with the highest journalistic standards,” editor Gina Smith wrote in a note to readers. “That standard was not met here.”

The piece in question, “A Sobering Look at Apple” was written by Demetrius Mandzych, a computer game professional, according to his LinkedIn page, whose current job is listed as Lead Property Night Auditor at The Berkeley Hotel.

To say it was not well-received is an understatement. Jim Thompson in The Chron described it as “a frothing-at-the-mouth diatribe.” Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber called it “ham-fisted link bait.” Some of the 109 comments it sparked are barely printable.

The comments are still there, and so is the piece. In what was either a rare display of after-the-fact editorial integrity or a clever ploy to let the flame bait keep generating page views, Smith retracted Mandzych’s Apple (AAPL) piece by HTML strikethrough, so that it is still there to be savored by readers who enjoy this sort of thing.

Via Thanks to reader Dave Small for the tip.

UPDATE: David Berlind, chief content officer for UBM TechWeb, which publishes BYTE,  objects to our headline. “The term link bait was unfairly applied,” he writes. “Our intention was never to bait users with questionable content.”