If you're tired of rampant speculation about Yahoo's future, including headlines from legitimate news sources that are fueling the blogosphere with rumor and unconfirmed theories, raise your hand.
Just as I suspected.
I know it's been a while since I was in journalism school but I seem to recall some basic rules - more like common sense - when it comes to using anonymous sources. Among them: Always try to get your source to go on-the-record, always try to get the information confirmed by multiple sources and make sure that your source is in a position to have access to the information.
In recent weeks, we've heard, for example, that former AOL CEO Jon Miller is trying to raise funds to buy Yahoo and take it private. We've also heard that Yahoo board member Carl Icahn upped his stake in the company because a new CEO was about to be named. And we continue to hear about possible deals (and then no-deals) with Microsoft and/or AOL. (Even I continue to THINK that a search deal between Microsoft and Yahoo is destined to happen - but a secret source named Deep Throat isn't feeding that line to me during a secret meeting in a parking garage at 3 a.m.)
Kara Swisher, who writes the Boomtown blog for the WSJ's All Things Digital, only posted the news about Jerry Yang stepping down as CEO about 10 minutes before the company announced it - and these days, she seems to be the most connected to Yahoo insiders. And while I tend to think of Swisher as one of the more credible news sources on this story, I must admit that I get a twitch when the second sentence of her blog post - Yahoo Board Casts About for New CEO: No Committee, Six Criteria and AOL Merger-Ready! - begins with: "According to numerous sources inside and outside the company..."
In the video embedded below, ZDNet Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan talks about the rumor mill, why people are floating theories and which of them have more substance than others.