This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Media Unspun email newsletter and is Copyright 2002 by Keith Dawson.
M E D I A   U N S P U N
My Way or the Segway

The fabled Segway Human Transporter "went on sale" yesterday on What actually happened was that Amazon began taking non-refundable 10% deposits ($495) for delivery of the scooters four to eight months down the road. Is that a story? Many outlets seemed to think so.

Segway president Dean Kamen and and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos were certainly playing for wide, mainstream publicity when they announced the online retailer's exclusive deal yesterday morning on ABC's "Good Morning America." And the print and online media obliged, spreading largely uncritical stories that didn't go much beyond the press releases.

If the excitement among gadget-happy early adopters was as high as these outlets seem to believe, why didn't Slashdot (the early-warning system of the technogeek set) even bother with a mention yesterday? Slashdot's editor Rob Malda, who posts as CmdrTaco, finally did post a thread this morning, 18 minutes ago as Unspun is being written. Malda quoted Jeff Bezos that Amazon's deal with Segway marks "one of the most famous and anticipated product introductions of all time," but added, "It's also the most overhyped and overpriced toy ever, and I'm kicking myself for posting it since that just contributes to the problem." Unspun shares your pain, CmdrTaco.

A number of the stories mentioned that 32 states have now passed laws enabling the use of the Segway on sidewalks. Few mentioned the alarm among advocates of the elderly, blind, and disabled at the thought of the 69-pound scooters zipping along sidewalks at 12 miles an hour. The Wall Street Journal's coverage linked to an Oct. 15 story on the fight over allowing Segways to share sidewalks with pedestrians. The Register offered its coverage to the editor of This bicycle advocate wrote that the Segway company would regret its claim that the fast, heavy Segways have "no impact on the pedestrians around you," because "not only is America the land of the obese, it's the land of the litigant."

Let's give the final word to Rex Moore, writing in the Motley Fool. Moore fessed up, "We like this thing. We want this thing. What's not to like? Spend lots of money so you can exercise less, gain weight, and infuriate pedestrians -- all while sporting a look that says, 'I'm a rich nerd! mug me!'" - Keith Dawson to Roll Out Segway Scooter Begins Selling Segway Human Transporter,,SB1037631947739311148,00.html
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Much-hyped Human Transporter for sale on Amazon (Reuters)

Segway scooter goes on sale to public (AP)

Segway scooters on sale to public

Segway, Concerned Citizens Take Fight to the Sidewalks (Oct. 15),,SB1034708860431811276,00.html
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Segway HT Starts Selling

Segways go on sale. No need to walk ever again

Segway on Sale

Bin Laden feared to have Segway scooter (2001)