On Conflicts of Interest and TechCrunch
  • 54 Comments
by Mike on May 29, 2006

On a recent Gillmor Gang, at around minute 21:30, Jason Calacanis innocently says something like “I heard you could buy a review at TechCrunch”. A discussion begins about conflicts of interest, at one point Jason says “just the appearance of impropriety is impropriety.” Or, in other words, when it comes to your reputation, an accusation is all it takes to ruin it, regardless of its veracity or lack thereof.

I find it incredible that Jason makes the accusation that I take money for reviews, couched ridiculously as “something he heard”, and then makes a blanket statement to the effect that the simple fact that the accusation is made makes it effectively true, in the journalism business. As an influencer I think it was inappropriate for him to make that statement. Beyond that, the fact that he is a competitor makes it even more outrageous.

Jason has a history of these sort of theatrics with Nick Denton, and so I’m not assuming he’s set on crushing TechCrunch. Rather, I think this is just Jason’s style to make these statements about competitors. To him, it’s all part of the game. That’s not my focus here.

His point is worth talking about.

I want to state quite clearly that I have never taken a payment for a review and never will. Sure I’ve been offered money for a review a couple of times. But it would be completely unethical for me to take it. I couldn’t sleep at night if I did that. Companies that have offered to pay me have never been written about on TechCrunch.

But let’s put that easy case aside for a moment. What about the more subtle ways that journalists can be influenced in what they write about, and what they say?

Steve Gillmor, taking up my defense and responding to Jason, says “we all have conflicts, there is no such thing as objectivity.”

He’s right. It’s impossible to be objective. Impossible.

Ok, I don’t take payments for reviews. But let’s discuss a more subtle case. Google has treated me like yesterday’s trash when it comes to communication. They have a few favorite bloggers that they give news to and I’m not one of them. I tend to be harsh when reviewing their products (but not always). Is this my real opinion, or am I just bitter that I’m not one of Google’s chosen few?

Yahoo, Microsoft, Fox and Ask tend to include me in news embargoes. I often write positively about them (but not always), maybe because I don’t trash them, or maybe because their communication policies aren’t juvenile and retributive. Am I conflicted in my opinions because they include me in their news releases?

Or what about when a company takes me to lunch? Or writes something positive in their blog about TechCrunch before I write about them? Am I barred from writing something positive about them then?

Or here’s the read mind bender – what if I don’t write about a competitor to a company that I like? Doesn’t inaction count as much as action when we’re talking about conflicts? Am I not writing about them because of the company I like, or not writing about them because I just don’t like the service? Should I write about them simply because they are a competitor to a company I wrote something positive about? Some people say yes, absolutely. Well, if I were to do that the blog would get pretty boring pretty quickly.

My point is this: Forget the easy stuff like direct payoffs. I don’t take them and I would be shocked if any large blogger or journalist did. But our lives are full of conflicts and thinking that envelopes full of cash are the only way people get paid off means you are watching too many made-for-tv dramas. Put everything you read through a filter and form your own opinions on things. Don’t look for the golden fountain of objectivity. It doesn’t exist.

I strive to be fair, and say only what I believe the truth to be. But that’s where it ends. Human interaction is simply too complex to pretend that we are all objective.

And a final note on consulting, advisory positions, etc. I am currently an unpaid advisor to Pluck’s Blogburst (and they haven’t asked my opinion on anything recently) and I recently joined the board of a publicly held company. I will also disclose interests in companies I’ve invested in. I am not taking any further advisory or consulting positions for the time being. And that just leaves advertisers on the sites. Since I look for companies that I actually like as advertisers, it’s likely that I will be writing about them. But I will, again, directly disclose this interest at the time of writing. That’s more than most major publications do, but I will hold myself to this standard.

Update:
I am becoming an active investor again. I have added a “disclosure” section to the TechCrunch About Page that lists conflicts of interests. I will keep this updated over time.

Responses

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  • I don’t think anyone *really* thinks you’re taking money for reviews. That kind of wild speculation is immature and irresponsible. Don’t let that stuff get to you because from what I gather — it does bother you.

    I, and others, might disagree with how you go about some of your reviews (psst: Ning), but I don’t think you can be bought.

  • Our media diet has changed. Before, we read from journalist-driven who TRIED to be unbiased. No, we read a much larger % from entreprenuers, investors, advisors, partners, which are UNABASHEDLY biased.

    This new diet is not like the “buy-sell-hold” stock pumping, because there is usually SOME intelligent commentary somewhere. We won’t give up our new diet because its biased.

    Our cynicism arises because we can barely tell journalists from entreprenuers now: who is Pete Cashmore, for example? He makes claims to be a consultant, building a startup, … and yet has journalistic entries … just like Techcrunch? when Cashmore (or Arrington) say X, are they saying X because it makes their (side?) projects look better? because they get more advertisers? because…

    We are left guessing. We didn’t do this with the journalists (as much).

    The readership out there is going to learn that the golden fountain of objectivity that they BELIEVED existed has vanished. That readership must train themselves to read everything with a “why could they be saying this?” We didn’t have to do this before, so something in the fountain must have changed.

    Its no secret what in the fountain changed: the authors did. And the readers will drink it differently, after a while.

  • “It’s true: this man has no d**k – Well that’s what I heard anyway!” (Bill Murray in Ghostbusters)

    Calacanis is just unbelieveable. A self-indulgent loose cannon, who will he slime next?

    Coming so soon after the actions of your blog’s web designer, it must have occurred to you to wonder whether this is how ‘Bubble II’ unravels, via a distributed, abject lack of professionalism. Meet the new debacle – same as the old debacle!

  • It seems to me that it was a flippant comment, and anyone reading this blog wouldn’t agree with the accusation. Reading the reviews, I get no sense that’s it’s anything other than your opinion.

    Keep up the great work.

  • I don’t think anyone would be able to build and sustain a loyal reader base if they were to post biased/influenced reviews. I think the money or credit earned through favours would be completely offset by the erosion in readership. So Jason would do better by minding his own business rather than speculating.

  • To be fair Mike, you can’t attack Calacanis for making unfounded accusations of impropriety, and then hang the NYT and Neal Goldman out to dry without hard evidence. You’re doing what Calacanis did, and he allegedly had a source… you’re just guessing! Sure, your opinion is that the puff piece wasn’t warranted by Inform’s actual worth, but it is entirely possible that the journalists involved were merely smokescreened by some effective (and expensive) PR fluff.

    Never assume conspiracy where incompetence is as likely an answer, especially where journalists are concerned.

  • The debate about ethics is ridiculous in an era when we know a large portion of what is published is in fact pure spin. I think the responsibility for cross-checking information belongs to readers these days; at least as a reader I refuse to take something I read as being true just because it was published in some newspaper or indeed by “official” sources.

    The beauty of the web today is that everybody can publish stuff and the discussion is open. At the end of the day the issues of reliability, ethics, influence and objectivity of content cannot be solved with big statements, rigid codes of ethics or oaths. I believe readers are smart enough (especially the type reading TechCrunch) to challenge (in public) the individual who is courageous enough to publish an opinion. This is an open world (for now at least); just follow your judgement and trust your readers. Nobody asks you to be perfect about anything, including influence.

    We live an era of manicheism where people and what they do is either good or bad, black or white, ethical or unethical, patriotic or unpatriotic… That’s plain stupid: this universe is a space of relativity and I don’t think it would be reasonable to expect or to claim absolute absence of any influence in what we bloggers write. Actually I think the difference between traditional mass media and the media of the masses (blogs, vlogs, podcasts…) is this: new media do not falsely claim to be “objective”, they accept that the content they provide is their subjective vision of a topic.

    Ultimately the question is: are you honnest with yourself and what you believe? do you say what you think and do what you say? As for the value of the content you produce, let the readership decide and that is valid for you as it is for Calcanis, whatever his influence may have been in the past.

  • You state “consulting and advisory positions” What about if you made an investment in a company that you liked, would write about that company and disclose it or avoid writing altogether?

  • I was almost flattered when I read the comment accusing WineLog.net of paying for the review you did last week. That sounds like something a big-time company might do.

    But then I realized that bribery accusations were being made because some people think our site is not up to TechCrunch standards. Okay. I think if you give our site a shot, you’ll find that we offer a compelling service. And it’s still early for us. We’re releasing new features and improvements every day.

    Mike, thanks for clearing things up. The biggest bribe we gave TechCrunch was an early invite to our beta, which lasted just three days. I mean we didn’t even send you a bottle of wine or anything. Although, now that the cat is out of the bag, there’s probably no harm in it. What’s your favorite wine, Mike? We’ll try to hook you up.

  • You can’t be objective anyways, as you don’t understand how non tech users use products. You are writing from someone in a mindset that knows what he is doing when it comes to the internet, the majority of main stream users barely know how to use a mouse, login and check email.

  • Sometimes it does feel like you are on the border a bit. For instance there were a couple of people who were early attendees at your parties / sponsors who seemed to get a little more attention than you had content to support such attention (no need to disrespect them by calling them out) and whom indicating the relationship (even if it formed post-coverage) would have cleared things up. That said, I’ve always read your blog as more editorial than news, and positioned as such have never had an issue with your very positive feedback on the companies you cover. If you want to take your blog into more of a reporter direction, I’d suggest at your one year mark share with us which products since you first reported on you no longer user regularly / why. That form of honest criticism (even if some of those products are sponsors) would balance your work. Personally, I don’t think such a piece would be worth it, since companies love to give you the first scoop because your pieces are almost always positive and that has real advantages for your blog’s prominence in the market. Whatever you decide, I’ll keep reading (as will most people) and that is what really matters.

  • Someone came up to me–and some others–at a party and said that
    you could buy a review on TechCrunch and that you wrote about
    companies you consulted for. I said no way, the person said yes way.

    If you listen to the tape I say that there is no way that could be
    true… I was shocked when I heard it and I brought it up more to
    debunk it then any other reason.

    I certainly didn’t bring it up for some nefarious reason. I don’t
    consider us competitors… how are we competitors? I think we only
    really have one blog that would be in any way competitive with
    TechCrunch and that’s DownloadSquad: which is < 1% of the networks
    traffic and <.1% of our revenue. We don't really do the b2b thing any
    more, and the little b2b stuff we do is just for fun/diversity in our
    network. We're more about the big categories right now (autoblog,
    joystiq, tvsquad, etc).

    When I said "the appearance of impropriety is impropriety" I was
    referring to the problem of conflicts NOT saying you were guilty. I
    was making a very similar point that you are making here: you're
    guilty in our world if it looks like you're guilty--and that's a bad
    thing!

    With social news sites like DIGG running salacious stuff to first
    position, while the corrections never making it to the top, you see
    this effect magnified more and more each day. TechMeme is filled with
    Tim O'Rielly's Web 2.0 trademark blunder... will it be filled with him
    doing the right thing when he gets back from vacation? Probably not.
    We have this huge pile on effect happening here and it's the
    manifestion of "the appearance of..." statement I made on the show.
    Blogs are the place that this "appearence of..." phenomnom gells. It
    never gelled anywhere before, it was the domain of rumors and cocktail
    parties.

    In terms of my conflict with reviewing AOL products the way I handle
    it is that a) I make sure everyone knows I'm an employee and b) I
    spank AOL products on a regular basis (check my blog at
    http://www.calacanis.com for rips on AIM and our AOLSearch product recently).
    The way I keep my authenticity is by being up front that I work for
    this company and by talking about the good and bad.

    In terms of AIMPages I think it is great when compared to MySpace. It
    is amazing that it has Flickr, YouTube and Delicious integration day
    one. Maybe not amazing for a Web 2.0 company, but for a big portal to
    have a Flickr Module in an ALpaha product is HUGE. (see, my authentic
    opinion comes out again!).

    You can run your blog however you see fit. However, it *seems* that
    your success with the blog *combined* with your success as a
    highly-priced (true?) consultant has lead folks to connect the dots
    between the two.

    If I was you I would just be super clear that these are my three
    current clients and my seven older clients on your site. I did a
    *huge* disclosure statement for my Sundance coverage a couple of years
    ago an got a ton of kudos for it (i’m looking for the link right now).

    Anyway, I love your stuff and I didn’t bring it up to slam you… I
    bring things up on the show that people are talking about. If someone
    tells you I’m a jerk off and AOL is paying to take down YouTube in my
    rants I’d love to know that and correct it.

    In fact, you should be thanking me for bringing up the rumor about you
    so that you can clear the air!

  • Mike, I’ve been grappling with these kinds of accusations for many years, dating back to criticism of Apple in the mid-90s. People said I had an axe to grind because Apple destroyed my business. It’s true that my opinion of Apple was colored by this negative experience, but it wasn’t an ethics issue, why shouldn’t I write about Apple, as an insider with deep knowledge about how the company operates, I have data to offer that’s unique. As long as I’m clear about having this conflict, I can keep writing.

    That’s the incredible thing about blogging, the premise is that the people with the information, the sources, are now empowered to go direct with the information they have, without intermediaries, the reporters.

    The accusations have been a constant, over the years, I’ve distilled my requirements, the things I have to do to maintain integrity, which is the substantial part of ethics. I want to have integrity, I want my readers to be confident that they know where I’m coming from. That’s what I hear you saying.

    A few years ago I distilled all these feelings to two statements, that when combined, equate to integrity, imho, for all writers, whether they do it professionally or for love.

    1. Never knowingly say something that’s not true.

    2. Disclose all relevant interests.

    In other words, it’s okay to say something that’s not true as long as when you said it you believed it to be true. You’re going to make mistakes. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write.

    The second one is something you do often and do well. You let your readers know who is paying you. You might want to say who the public company is, because it would increase the confidence your readers have, but that’s entirely up to you.

    More on integrity…

    http://davenet.scripting.com/2001/01/08/whatIsIntegrity#whatIsIntegrity

  • Thanks Dave. You are giving good advice as always. When I listen to you, things seem to go right. When I don’t, things get more…interesting.

  • Mike,

    Good post. I don’t envy your position. I think your ideas are fair, although the example of the NYT issue is clearly (in my mind) not a good representative. It is never ethical to pay a reporter to write a story under the guise of independence. Don’t let this get cloudy in your mind, it’s very simple. (The AIM Pages example is OK though.)

  • This all makes sense Mike but I think you’re being a tad harsh in making the sweeping case againt ad-sponsord media.

    In the UK at least, there’s always beeen in fighting between editorial and publishing – regardless of whether it is technology or an industry specific title.

    The ‘good’ news is that line no longer matters. You either read the blogs and trust them in advance of media or you see media as having the kind of objectivity you want in a review. It’s the readers’ choice.

    Throwing out accusations is part of the success turf. There’s always osme asshole ready to have a crack. Roll with the punches. You do a unique job.

  • I can attest to your integrity, Mike. My client Opinity took you to lunch and you didn’t even write about the company, although it was a great lunch. That shows that free meals don’t work with someone who writes for his audience, the ones who in the end are his real benefactors. You got your meal ticket straight!

  • Mike, making direct statements about your practices is a great way to validate integrity. So is not writing about consulting clients–or disclosing the relationship when you do write–it can be difficult to be a blogger and a consultant–but imho, it is impossible to be a journalist and a consultant–to cover clients comprehensvely and objectively is very hard–when I was a consultant,my clients knew it was going to be hard to get me to write about them..I kept the two spheres as seperate as possible. Whatever choices you make, the best way to is communicate about them–which is exactly what you are doing.

  • I actually talked to Mike about joining the advisory board of cocomment.com in Zaragoza ten days ago, and his answer was a clear “if I join the company’s board I won’t talk about it on Techcrunch”.

    Sounds like a fair attitude and a good way to manage conflicts of interest.

  • Great post! This is definitely not a black and white topic and I find it sad to see that someone would accuse you of taking payments for reviews solely based on rumors.

    I also agree that you are not objective and that is why I love reading TechCrunch. You say exactly what is on your mind, whether you like a product or not. That voice gives you lots of authenticity and makes you unique. If that is the reason why Google does not like you, so be it!

  • Personally, I *want* journalist to have SOME type of bias. I find this “we’re journalist and report the truth” perspective to be nonsense.

    The only requirement I have is that I want to know what these biases ARE. Own stock in Acme? Just disclose it. Then I can take your blog post or article with a grain of salt.

    I’m certainly a poster child here. I keep my heart on my sleeve but I’m open and try to disclose as much as possible.

    Though I do admit I have a few certain negative biases that I can’t and won’t disclose which end up leading to me not writing about these companies. Its hard to disclose this information.

    Michael, ignoring cash compensation, which companies have given you stock compensation? Any? A few?

    Kevin

  • Jason,

    Yes objectivity is impossible. It’s also impossible to ever wash all the dirt and bacteria off your body, to build an automobile without a single defect or to write a novel without a single spelling or gramattical error.

    And yet still we try. We shower, we build manufacturing systems to minimize defects, we ask others to look over our writing.

    You say you strive to be fair. That’s all anyone can ask. But saying you can never be fully objective is meaningless. Are you saying it to be let off the hook?

    I am not trying to cast aspersions on what you write. In fact I am not a regular TechCrunch reader. I am just so bloody sick of people saying that objectivity is impossible. Of course it is. So what?

  • Mike, the picture is clear to all those who listen. All of us have watched interviews in the past only to confirm later that dude was lying. That is the point your journalism style is unique, relevant and provides discussion, and best of all like this post, honest. Talent gets paid no matter how and who. The same applies to my little 8-5 world, Yes, I try to be an honest salesperson, does that mean full disclosure? People hear what they want to hear, unfortunately systems are built in the region of those that are conscientious. At the end its better staying employed and everyday act and do better. Hopefully, we get a few true friends that become so much more important than words and misunderstandings.

  • And why I called you Jason, I have no idea (Mike).

  • Hmmm…

    1. Never knowingly say something that’s not true.
    2. Disclose all relevant interests.

    It could be argued these two points from Dave are the polar opposite of Big Media in the UK, as evidenced by regular libel payouts and the sheer amount of pro-advertiser copy in the average Sunday supplement.

    The facts are that everybody is biased. So people who trust Big Media any more than the average industry blogger must be very trusting indeed. Do we all still remember what ‘DYOR’ stands for?

    Michael is now in a position of influence, sure, but is he going to make or break the companies he does or doesn’t write about? Is he going to convince me that something as lovely as flickr is shite? Should his opinions be taken as facts? NO!

    Lou Reed’s advice still stands: “Don’t believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear…”

  • Mike, I’m going anonymous here because this may be a delicate issue…

    You have gained a position of influence and respect in the web community, and the community needs you. But that mantle has a drawback: you must second guess your every move, because you can be sure that many observers will do just that, and would be happy to bring you down, despite your contribution and talent.

    The Riya post, which I’m positive you would have put up in any event, might convey the appearance of impropriety. Simply seeing the same logo in both the content column and the ad column (right next to each other when the post first went up) was a bit jarring, especially considering that the post wasn’t about a new release.

    I think the timing was problematic as well, coming on the heels of this post about conflicts of interest. Also you’ve apparently had to delete a number of critical comments from the Riya post — that’s not a good sign.

    Please reconsider the “sponsors” program. Recruiting companies you like to be sponsors, which are outfits that you naturally want to write about, just doesn’t seem like the best way to guard your reputation. And guard it you must, to remain on the trajectory you’re on.

    All the best,

    A Friend

  • “Friend”,

    I think disclosure goes far enough. The deleted comments were obnoxious and that’s why they were deleted.

    I’ve stopped taking consulting work. I’ve stopped taking advisory positions. I don’t charge for posts (of course). If I tell companies I can’t write about them if they sponsor the site, then advertising goes out the door too because a company is not going to pay money to ensure that they never appear on techcrunch again. And the revenue from all of the non-sponsor ads on techcrunch put together? Not enough to pay my rent, literally, let alone any other living expenses.

    If no income comes in I can’t continue to write techcrunch – I spent a year eating into my savings just because I love writing so much (although I pretty much hate every aspect of techcrunch today). So it’s either deal with this or techcrunch dies. This is the middle ground, I’ve given up everything else. And still people find a reason to complain, constantly, about every move I make.

    Every major publication takes advertising without regard to what they write about. I’m doing the same. I don’t want to hear about divison of sales and editorial, either. It’s all bullshit.

    I will say this though. A new advertiser was going to start on June 1 (the omnidrive spot is ending). They asked me to write about them and I have to agree that what they have is pretty cool. I told them it was too sensitive and that I would write about them but they couldn’t advertise. I was hoping they’d say, ok don’t write about us. But instead they said – ok, we won’t advertise. That cost me $15,000. And I’m still going to write about them because I like the product.

    So if you don’t think I’m ethical and objective, go read someone who you think is. And don’t call yourself my friend when all you are doing is piling on in a slightly more reasonable tone as everyone else is.

    The Riya post is interesting, noncommercial and relevant to my audience. I’d be doing them a disservice by not pointing it out.

  • Wait, I’ve got it… Organize a Web X.0 Conference :-)

    Those things make a ton of money. There’s only one speaker you could invite who would turn you down ;-)

  • > They have a few favorite bloggers that they
    > give news to and I’m not one of them.

    Who are those? I’m curious, because I’ve always wanted to be part of that list :)

    > I strive to be fair, and say only what I believe
    > the truth to be. But that’s where it ends. Human
    > interaction is simply too complex to pretend that
    > we are all objective.

    Agreed + well put!

  • I can’t understand what all the f’ing fuss is about. I love reading techcrunch. Its not that I care so much about Mike’s feature by feature analysis of the product. What I do really care about is that he lets me know whats out there and a little bit of whats getting buzz.

    I give two shits whether he is getting paid to write good stuff. What Mike writes about is not going to really make/break the product (see the 53651 post).

    I am really disheartened to read that you are actually not making money of this site and you are eating into your savings. That is really stupid. I have an idea.

    You should start another site called “PaidCrunch” and this site can be completely commercialized, you can take money and/or whatever and write about it in a non-editorial service. You just list the features, talk about it without giving your opinion. This has a more of a PR Newswire sort of feel. Obviously you need to think about this a little more so it doesnt end up like another web2.0 list.

    So the Mike empire could include three sites:
    1)Crunchnotes- the personal site that I dont care about
    2)TechCrunch-What Mike thinks about web2.0 sites and what “he” believes is hot. I care a little about that.
    3)PaidCrunch-What are the web2.0 startups out there with some basic analysis. I care the most about this.

  • Mike:
    Your Riya post fully disclosed the relationship, and so I don’t see why people are criticizing it. Bloggers should not have to take a vow of poverty.

    I may not always agree with your editorial position, but your integrity is above reproach.

    By the way, we have invested in two reasonably trafficked ad-supported sites, and I can tell you that regular non-sponsor ad revenue (CPM or CPC) is no way sufficient to pay the bills.

    Sridhar

  • In an attempt to set the record straight, I only feel oblidged to share my personal experience with Mike, so here it goes:

    I met Mike in person for the first time during the Innovate!Europe 2006 conference a couple of weeks ago at Zaragoza. From the very beginning of course, I knew perfectly well who we was, and how important it would be to have our company reviewed at TechCrunch. However during the conference I did not even make an attempt to introduce myself to him, simply because I thought that such an action could be easily misunderstood even though I mostly wanted to say the usual stuff like “Hey Mike, nice to meet you, I really like your blog, etc etc”. After all, I always had a feeling that Mike acts as a real professional, and that personnal contact and socializing wouldn’t make a difference at all with regards to his opinion about our company.

    And how right I turned to be! Just before the end of the conference, without any prior personnal contact (I even come from a different continent) Mike simply came to me and said “Hey, I like your product and I want to write about you. Can you give me a demo?” Just like that! He had no obligation to do it, not any other reason whatsoever! He sat in front of the computer, asked questions, took notes, made comments and finally wrote a review at TechCrunch stressing what he liked and what he disliked about the application. A real professional just doing his job, that is, to give an account of what went on at the event that he attended.

    So, to all those people making blind accusations I have only one thing to say: “Please gentlemen, get real!”

    (My first thought was to make this post anonymous but that could question its authenticity so I decided against it)

  • Aibek Esengulov - June 5th, 2006 at 12:52 pm UTC

    i believe Mike’s blog is number one tech blog on technorati top 100. The number of subscribers techcrunch has also tops many other popualr tech blogs.
    So, it seems to me crowd chooses Mike’s site and if we look at the popular websites be it web 2.0 or not, unbiased and quliaty sites are the ones that acquire most traffic.So i think Mike’s stats say it all.

  • Michael,

    Sorry to use comments on this post but I couldn’t find a way to send you an email directly… so … any way – I am listening to Gillmor Daily and your conversation about being lambasted lastly and my only thought would be…
    Don’t listen to the idiots!!

    You’re providing a great service (and I do mean a “service”) and often when you do something great it tends to draw both delighted admirers and scornful dissention. Mediocrity tends to draw nominal feedback. Yet, as you continue to grow in your readership/subscribers and IF you continue to generate qualitative and thoughtful writings, THEN unfortunately you will have to continue to ignore (if appropriate) chronic dissenters. Please do not let them discourage you but let it merely help to validate that you are RIGHT ON TRACK and that you are challenging people’s perspectives and interest.

    I’m sure that you’ve gotten many other supportive emails after the podcast was released but just wanted to PUBLICLY post my support of you valuable and interesting blog and informational/insightful service.

    Best regards,

    christopher of TN

  • “I don’t know Jason Calacanis, but he’s starting to remind me of the rich kid in school who wasn’t particularly well liked but whose free-spending ways always kept a crowd around him. Since he sold Weblogs to AOL and joined the executive team, he’s been bragging about hanging with Ted Leonsis and making gushing carte blanche offers to attractive unemployed video blog hosts”

    Is that a wad of cash in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?
    http://blogs.siliconvalley.com/gmsv/2006/07/is_that_a_wad_o.html

    AOL’s Calacanis offers “truce” to outraged Netscapers
    http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=33156

    Netscape webmail to be killed by AIM
    Calacanis experiment annoys faithful Netscapers
    http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=33125

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