Hit men, click whores, and paid apologists: Welcome to the Silicon Cesspool

 

 

It’s tough being a journalist, especially if you’re covering technology and living in Silicon Valley, because it seems as if everyone around you is getting fabulously rich while you’re stuck in a job that will never, ever make you wealthy. What’s worse is that all these people who are getting rich don’t seem to be any brighter than you are and in fact many of them don’t seem very bright at all. So of course you get jealous. And then you start thinking maybe you could find a way to cash in on this gold rush. But how do you make gobs of money when your only marketable skill involves writing blog posts?

This is the conundrum, but lately I’ve been thinking of a business plan that sounds like it could work. First you establish yourself as an “influencer” by posting a lot of noisy stuff on a blog and building an audience. Then you need to “monetize” your influence. You tell all the VCs in the Valley that you are starting an “angel fund,” and you ask each one to give you, say, $500,000. They go along because (a) $500,000 is pocket change to these guys — so small, in fact, that they don’t care if they lose every penny of it; and (b) you’re an influential hack and they don’t want to piss you off; and (c) they figure you can maybe write nice things about their portfolio companies, which would be especially useful if/when one of their portfolio companies gets caught up in some scandal; and (d) if any independent journalists write something critical about one of the VC’s portfolio companies, you can can use your influential personal blog to savagely attack those journalists and try to discredit them.

So you raise $10 million or $20 million, and now you’re an “angel investor.” Step two is you go around to startups and tell them you’d really like to invest in their companies. Not big investments — maybe $100,000. They don’t need your money; they can raise money from anyone, and usually you’re one of 10 or 20 small investors in a round. But the value you add is that you’re an “influencer” and can be helpful when it comes to getting good press or offsetting bad press. (See paragraph above.)

You might think of this as a new kind of PR, only you’re way meaner and more effective than a PR flack, and instead of getting paid in billable hours, you’re taking payment in angel-round equity, which in a few years should be worth 10-100x whatever those billable hours would have been worth.

In fact this is a new version of an old racket that used to be practiced in the tech space by guys who called themselves “independent analysts.” Their deal, back in the day, was this: “Pay seven figures a year to buy a corporate subscription to my newsletter and I’ll say nice things about your company, and when the press needs a quote, I’ll be there to puff you up. Or, don’t buy a subscription and I will bash you relentlessly.” Most big companies paid up and considered it a cost of doing business.

Well, this is the model I was thinking about, but it turns out someone beat me to it — it’s called CrunchFund, and in the past few days we’ve seen the machine in action, and it is indeed a beautiful thing.

This started when Nick Bilton of the New York Times posted an item criticizing Path, which had been caught up in a firestorm when it emerged that Path had been uploading entire address books from people’s iPhones. Bilton made the legitimate point that it’s now become a routine for Valley companies to do something sleazy, get caught, then quickly apologize and get hailed as heroes by the Valley for the quality of their apology. (It’s all about being able to fake the sincerity, as George Burns once said.) Bilton’s point was that Path didn’t just grab those address books by accident. They did it on purpose. It probably took weeks of programming. To just say, “Whoops! Sorry!” seems a bit disingenuous.

Anyway — Path comes under fire, and guess who rides to the rescue? Michael Arrington, who runs CrunchFund, an investor in Path, launches a blistering critique of Bilton himself, comparing him to a pit bull who attacks a dog that is already lying on its back, defenseless, saying that Bilton’s column was “a safe way to do business, but not very noble.”

Almost before you could stop throwing up in your mouth at the idea of Michael Arrington accusing a Times journalist of being less than noble, Arrington’s partner at CrunchFund, MG Siegler, weighed in with his own attack in which he basically said Bilton is a nice guy who was either too lazy or too busy to do a good job. From this Siegler leaps off into a long diatribe about how most tech reporting is utter bullshit written by idiots who are all in a hurry to chase page views.

So: Path comes under fire, and straight away, the paid hit men – Arrington and his sidekick, Matty the Angry Chihuahua — spring into action to smear Bilton and try to discredit him.

I’ll give them this much. They’re good at what they do. Siegler especially is a nasty little ankle-biter who has developed some level of expertise in launching ad hominem attacks. He did one on me a while back. Then he did one on Josh Topolsky at The Verge.

Now it’s Nick Bilton’s turn.

Thing is, just last October Arrington was praising Bilton as a superhero tech journalist and “our number one desired hire” when Arrington was at TechCrunch. Even funnier is that in that post Arrington was “reporting” that Bilton had been offered “$1.5 million+” to leave the New York Times and join CBS/CNET. Thing is, that wasn’t true. And, Arrington had been told, explicitly, by people at CBS/CNET that his numbers were incorrect. But he went ahead and ran the story anyway, knowing his numbers were wrong.

Now Arrington and Siegler have appointed themselves the watchdogs of tech journalism, eager to point out the irresponsible and inaccurate reporting that they see all around them. This might ring a little less hollow if they hadn’t been such egregious violators themselves, and if they weren’t writing this stuff to protect the people they’re in bed with financially.

Siegler also went after Ryan Tate of Gawker, who had criticized Path’s CEO, Dave Morin, for saying, a while back, that Path didn’t collect personal data from users.

Siegler says Morin was telling the truth — because Path didn’t start collecting data until after Morin had issued that denial. In other words, when Morin said Path didn’t collect data he didn’t mean they would never do it, just that they weren’t doing it right then.

Nice, right?

But of course Ryan Tate is the bad guy here. He’s the nasty, unethical, irresponsible sleazebag in this situation — not the CEO who said he didn’t collect data right before he started doing exactly that.

From this Siegler transitions into a rambling hand-wringing essay about how tech journalism has become so sloppy and terrible because you have all these bloggers who don’t really know anything and they’re just trying to generate page views by writing something that isn’t necessarily true but will get people to click.

What makes this so hilarious is that Siegler is by far the biggest click-whore in all of tech blogging, a guy whose only real skill, in fact, is the kind of page-view-chasing he now derides.

If nothing else, he is entertaining, though it’s often inadvertent. Last year he took time out of his busy schedule to explain to younger bloggers how he he had accomplished his meteoric rise to the top of the blogging world and become the greatest blogger of all time and then had become bored with blogging and had set out to find new challenges. This was done without a hint of irony or, apparently, even a shred of self-awareness, which made it all the more fun. The real secret to Siegler’s traffic, however, is that he is pals with Gabe Rivera, who routinely drives traffic to Siegler by giving his pieces top billing on Techmeme. (That’s right, kids. Techmeme is rigged.)

Siegler is constantly mocked by readers who regard him as a laughable troll — a mean-spirited, egomaniacal buffoon who is not very bright but thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room. He is a self-styled “big thinker” who compares Google to movie villains (Le Chiffre, Voldemort, Harvey Dent) and who, in all of his manic blogging, has left a string of cock-ups and false “scoops” behind him.

Last year he generated lots of traffic for TechCrunch with a “scoop” about the Amazon Kindle Fire. He said he’d actually used one — but then he got almost every fact wrong, including the name of the product. Later, he defended himself by saying that, yes, his original post got the facts wrong, but in a later “update” (that’s blogger-speak for “correction”) he fixed all that. So there.

Then there’s the post in December where MG got into his Angry Chihuahua mood again and thought he’d uncovered some kind of huge conspiracy when he accused Google’s Android chief, Andy Rubin, of deleting a tweet. A few days later Siegler had to recant (sans apology, of course) when it turned out that, um, nope, Rubin hadn’t done that. Of course there’s a simple way to avoid bonehead moves like this — you do the reporting before you publish the accusation, not after.

Then there’s the case where Matty got all upset and threw a tantrum like some kind of junior high school kid because Google+ wouldn’t let him use a profile photo in which he’s giving the finger. His stock in trade is the rant where he declares that “XYZ is dead!” (this week it’s tech journalism) or “If you think XYZ, you’re a fucking idiot!”

Now he thinks it’s wrong to go chasing clicks and page views with sensationalized garbage. How odd and inspiring it is that Siegler’s profound change of heart should happen after Path, a company in which CrunchFund has invested, is getting criticized.

Arrington and Siegler can try to play journalism police all they want, but the fact is they have turned themselves into hacks for hire and as such have lost all credibility. They’re not the only ones working this racket. Now we have PandoDaily, a new tech blog crated by their TechCrunch pal Sarah Lacy and funded by CrunchFund and a bunch of other VCs and angels whose companies PandoDaily aims to cover.

PandoDaily is working the same deal as CrunchFund. You invest in our site, and now we’re business partners, so at the very least you’ll have a friendly media outlet whose “influence” you can call upon.

These folks will say they never promised any special treatment to the VCs when they went around with their hands out asking for money. Maybe that’s true. But I have talked to people on the other side of those transactions and this is definitely what the VCs were thinking when they were writing the checks.

The line from one VC firm that invested in CrunchFund was this: “A few hundred thousand is a rounding error for us. We don’t care if we never see the money again. It’s so small it doesn’t even affect our results and isn’t even considered material enough to be reported to our limited partners. And it couldn’t hurt to have Mike as a friend.”

Separately another VC recently told me his firm recently had passed on opportunities to invest in some new tech blogs that were proposing a business model he described as “hush money.” Potential investors were being offered “most favored nation” status for themselves and their portfolio companies if they put money into the site.

This is what now passes for “journalism” in Silicon Valley: hired guns and reformed click-whores who have found a way to grab some of the loot for themselves. This is perhaps not surprising. Silicon Valley once was home to scientists and engineers — people who wanted to build things. Then it became a casino. Now it is being turned into a silicon cesspool, an upside-down world filled with spammers, liars, flippers, privacy invaders, information stealers — and their grubby cadre of paid apologists and pygmy hangers-on.

The most delicious part of Siegler’s rant on the tech media is the final paragraph:

The only thing I can offer is the advice to take everything you read in the technology press with a grain of salt. Perhaps several. The likelihood that at least part of it is nonsense is very strong. And stronger by the day.

For once, I could not agree more.

489 Responses to “Hit men, click whores, and paid apologists: Welcome to the Silicon Cesspool”

  1. Steve

    Dan, you are my hero for writing this. Silicon Valley — at least the consumer Internet part of Silicon Valley — has become an unbearable echo chamber of self-righteous, self-aggrandizing poseurs. I have wanted to write something like this for over a year, but I could never have articulated it so brilliantly.

    Matty the Angry Chihuaha. That’s priceless.

    Bravo.

    Reply
  2. Barf Palace

    Nailed it, but to be fair, there is nothing the Silicon Valley loves more than the smell of their own farts.

    Reply
  3. Bob

    The counter will be composed entirely of ad hominem attacks and no substance. Never defend, always attack. Works for Fox News and Scientology.

    Reply
  4. G Deva

    This is sheer Brilliance – Thanks Dan.
    I lost any shred of respect I had for TC, Arrington and Siegler once I realized that they were nothing but sleaze balls pretending to be journalists.
    TechCrunch is shit – Pando Daily is shit and CrunchFund is just a collection of pimps masquerading as “VCs”.

    Reply
  5. Taylor Buley

    Dan, what’s your take on the True Ventures/GigaOM/paidContent tie up? Different than the “hush money” situation you describe above and if so, how?

    Reply
  6. Gustavo

    Do you have a problem with the message or the messenger? Seems like the latter. If you want to have credibility, the answer is simple – discuss the facts and your opinions on them, not who said them.

    Reply
  7. Gustavo

    This is directed at Lyons, Seigler, Arrington, and anyone else caught up in attacking the journalist rather than what they are saying.

    Reply
  8. Beeso

    This is a good piece of writing. The funny thing is that half of what is written could also apply to the last ten things I’ve read here as well.

    Reply
  9. John

    SO True. MG is a CLOWN and always has been. Pathetic journalist and now pathetic ‘investor.’ VC’s wont ever see that money again.

    Reply
  10. John

    Long overdue post. The Path rebuttal by these guys, their acolytes at PandoDaily, and the remaining sheep at TechCrunch was so transparent and predictably disingenuous. Coupled with their incessant rants about how pathetic AOL is because they’re not their anymore reminds me of the dramas played out in high school by the kids that were so desperate to be cool but try as they might, no-one gave a rats ass about them…

    Reply
  11. Phil

    Hey Dan. Great article, but I found a typo. In this paragraph:

    “Siegler is constantly mocked by readers as a laughable troll – a mean-spirited, egomaniacal buffoon who is not very bright but thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room, and who, in all of his manic blogging, has left a string of cock-ups and false “scoops” behind him.”

    I think you meant to write “Lyons”

    No biggie. Just thought I’d point it out.

    Reply
  12. Tom Foremski

    There’s also “Business Insider” in NYC worth watching, they raised a bunch of VC money following a year when they made $2k on $5 million in revenues. We know how VCs love businesses with those kind of margins — so else are they looking for?

    Reply
  13. John Lawrence

    Meh…didn’t really like this rant. Agree with what someone said above, your points could often apply to you too.

    Next please, so, what have you written for me today?

    Reply
  14. John

    So. Fucking. Spot-on! Thank-you, Dan for exposing these people for what they are; turds in a cesspool. Let’s hope all start-ups and investors get the news to stay away from the CrunchFund toilet…

    Reply
  15. David Scott Lewis

    Dan, you’ve eloquently writen what I’m sure many have been thinking for a long, long time. And Steve, you nailed it: This is more about the “X2C”/consumer-side of the Internet. At least the “(h)it men, click whores, and paid apologists” don’t often pretend to know anything at all about the enterprise space or niches like security.

    Let’s take this a step further. Which sites/reporters/journalists/bloggers do you trust and respect, Dan? I’d seriously be interested in your top five or ten picks. I have my favorites, but I’d like to know your thoughts on this.

    Reply
  16. Matttttt

    Wait, people still give a crap what you have to say? I thought they stopped caring after you stopped pretending to be Steve. Well, I guess most of us did.

    Reply
  17. Rick Roberts

    Dan, I’ve been down on you for a while as a bitter old queen, and for what, I couldn’t imagine. I loved, loved FSJ! Then something popped in you.

    Well, This. Is. Brilliant. And spot on. I think the whole how-to-do-a-proper-apology instruction set started with the fancy pants boys at 37signals. They like telling folks how it should be. Douchebags indeed.

    Good job!

    Reply
  18. TVD

    I’m an engineer and this is definitely no mistake. It’s one thing for your neighbor to leave his door open. It’s another thing for you to walk into his home and steal his wallet.

    As engineers who graduate to business owners and then to investors, it’s paramount to use that influence to influence software development for the better not the worse.

    Gary Chou from GM Union Square Ventures Network says it best, “What we need is a version of the Hippocratic Oath for Engineers.” I wholeheartedly agree. Our customers deserve that and more.

    Reply
  19. AnonymousAnalyzer

    Not big investments — maybe $100,000. They don’t need your money; they can raise money from anyone.

    I dont agree with this. Many startup companies have to prove their mettle to get an investor want to invest in it. Also, there are significant risks in any startup. You dont supplement what the odds are in making 10x/100x returns. So its difficult to buy the concept that just investing in them will make you richer in a few years. However, I do think Michael Arrington is doing what he can to protect his investment. But I dont think its the other way round..i.e -> Startups are not necessarily filtering investors based on the influencing ability of the investor.

    Reply
  20. David Scott Lewis

    Dan’s arguments stand on their own. Regardless of what you may think of Dan — in fact, even if Dan was himself a “click whore — it wouldn’t matter: His argument stands on its own.

    Schopenhauer didn’t lead the type of life he advocated, but that doesn’t make his positions less tenable. (I’m not a Schopenhauer fan; I’m just making a point.)

    What, exactly, did Dan get wrong in his post?

    Reply
  21. Leslie Liberatore

    Well done. Though I’m a SV outsider, the politics of this whole scene are fascinating.

    Reply
  22. Thomas Chacon

    You wrote the post for me. Thank you!

    Now will someone write a Google Chrome extension that redirects anything from Uncrunched or PandoDaily and/or by Arrington, Siegler, or Lacy to Disney.com?

    Reply
  23. Jeremy Wright

    Good gawd I love you. Seriously. Couldn’t put my finger on why the current scene was bothering me, but you managed to nail it and nail the worst offenders at the same time. Curious on your thoughts about startups boycotting these publications. Worth the risk/reward? I’d been steering clear on an instinctual level, but might be worth it strategically to avoid the negative halo that could easily come down on these folk in the next 4-6 months as a result of these practices.

    Reply
  24. christopher

    This article is all about clicks as well. Dan knows once MG fires back people will flock here to read this. Lame attempt by someone who is only famous for pretending to be someone he isn’t!

    Reply
  25. Sammy

    I’m not a writer but the excessive use of “Yet” was really distracting in this post…

    Reply
  26. hoopz

    What’s funniest to me is that many still consider it to be an honour to be mentioned on sites like TechCrunch… in fact, stats repeatedly show that the boost in traffic you get is minor, and nothing compared to genuine, honest buzz on Twitter, Plus or Facebook.

    It’s just useless gossip, propagated for its own sake. The readers don’t actually care about the companies or products involved, they just care about the outrage.

    I’m an engineer and I’m launching awesome things without journalist hacks. It’s working great.

    Reply
  27. Dave

    I only followed a G+ link from Android superhero Koush to get here. I am happy to say I don’t know who Arrington is and I thought Siegler was either an actual Apple employee or failed comedian. Also, I have no idea who this Dan person is either.

    Reply
  28. Kim Landwehr

    Fine article, having followed this from a distance I must say it’s like watching various cliche in high school. I especially thought the brou haha that M. Siegler had with Google+ over the middle finger incident was so contrived.

    Reply
  29. Steve

    It doesn’t matter what any of the commenters say, and it definitely doesn’t matter what responses come up in the blogosphere. This is a great post.

    Thank you, Dan, for thinking for yourself and being brave enough to say what’s on your mind.

    Reply
  30. Rurik Bradbury

    Well they have built great scale quite quickly. And they don’t focus on pumping individual companies like TechCrunch does — so there’s no dumping to do afterwards. Much less cesspooly.

    Reply
  31. Vince

    The part where MG called you a has-been hack with a shtick that got old was actually right on the money, though.

    Reply
  32. John Exley

    In fairness, CrunchFund has invested in Airbnb as well as ifttt, Codecademy, and Inspirato. I think Airbnb’s success is a pretty surefire bet to return the VC’s money alone.

    Roger McNamee and Mike Maples see ifttt as the fabric of the next tech revolution to follow social networking: the hypernet/hyperweb (http://rogerandmike.com/). If you trust their instincts, I think it’s a safe gamble that CrunchFund will do well on this investment as well.

    Codecademy is also off to a solid start and is timed well considering the growing need for people to learn how to program, etc. I think this is also an example of a good opportunity CrunchFund has to return more than the money the VC’s invested.

    Reply
  33. brant

    I am thoroughly impressed by this article. You are brave enough to speak the true and weed through the bullshit. Meanwhile others seem to shy away with being critical of the status quo.

    Bravo.

    Reply
  34. Marc Wilder

    i take it MG Siegler is the ‘pygmy hanger-on’? bravo..well said and it needed to be said.

    glad the light has been shined on this filthy alleyway.. (TC/PandoDaily/UncRuncHed/ParisLemonz)

    Reply
  35. Marc Wilder

    Which if you think about it, applies quite nicely to MG, as well. So i guess it takes one to know one?

    Reply
  36. Thomas Niemeyer (@StartupPonzi)

    Don’t sling more s#it into the fan.

    My head is already spinning.

    Is this really what goes on in all of Valley tech writing?

    TC, GigaOM, The Verge, AllThingsD and the rest?

    I couldn’t have been this gullible although I smelled something was off.

    This is a watershed moment !!

    Reply
  37. Penguin Pete

    It’s about time somebody besides me had the cajones to call Arrington – and the whole pay-for-play blog industry – out. Where have you all been?

    Reply
  38. Desi Munda

    Dan,

    I have been a spectator in the circus of Tech Blogs (led by Matty and Arrington) and really tried hard to like it, them being the supposed independent voices but over time I got really pushed away from any respect that I had for them based on their lack of open-mindedness and just a singular, directional attack on people who don’t agree with them.

    Atleast MG really just rails on anyone who doesn’t agree with him, much like a cyber bully who misuses his reach to call people out (and disabled comments on his blog for a number of baloney reasons).

    You have said exactly what was on my mind and that is what blows me away. Great going and keep it up, I’ll be following you on twitter now as well.

    Cheers!

    Reply
  39. DragonI

    Dan thanks for writing what everyone already knew or was secretly thinking! You’re my hero because it’s not all that often that a journalist comes out swinging and is dead on with the facts.

    In terms of Addressgate, it is sad that the real issue of user rights has succumb to the egomaniacs living in a bubble bent on hijacking the message.

    True journalism will live forever!

    Reply
  40. Tim

    ah, Siegler. That guy is still around? I’ve ignored him for a long time now, figured back then that he’s a big time hack.

    Reply
  41. Franklin

    Umm, I think the point of the article is that these so-called journalists/messengers are essentially shills. Which he backs up with many many examples.

    Reply
  42. Zato

    “Now it is being turned into a silicon cesspool, an upside-down world filled with spammers, liars, flippers, privacy invaders, information stealers — and their grubby cadre of paid apologists and pygmy hangers-on.”

    That sounds like YOU, Dan! “and their grubby cadre of paid apologists” LOL.
    The war rages on. At least Arrington and Seigler are honest about who THEY work for. Why don’t you tell us who YOU work for, Dan???

    Reply
  43. jamesbrown

    Hey, awesome catch. I think you misspelled your name, though — isn’t it d-i-c-k-w-a-d?
    It’s just a minor typo, but I figured I should point out as a common courtesy

    Reply
  44. Kevin

    Awesome. Now if only I could find that quote from The Register circa 2004 where it describes this new thing, Tech Crunch, as nothing more than a hype machine for Arrington’s friends’ startups.

    Reply
  45. frankguillen

    Dan, for the first time in my life I’ve read one of your article… This is a gold piece, Excellent. Biographic business material for younger VC-turned bloggers or vice versa. Very interesting.

    Reply
  46. Tim Carmody

    The beautiful thing about Arrington and Siegler is that it’s the same trick over and over again: just one red herring and tu quoque after another. Just stone frauds.

    What’s the response to this going to be? Can Siegler still say you’re too old, you don’t get it, you don’t have a sense of humor now that all 30 years of him is coming on as the wise, moralizing elder statesman?

    Reply
  47. James

    This is a wonderful article and spot on. This type of thing has been going on for some time, and it has tainted all forms of tech journalism – even our beloved Techmeme.

    I also have noticed how the past 18 months or so, the TWiT podcasts have become increasingly incestous. I hate to rag on Leo as he is the person that got me into technology, but it seems like a lot of the shows are one big circle-jerk.

    They always say to write good content and you will rise to the top. That is fucking bullshit. It is about whom you know moreso than any other factor. What platform/outlet do you have behind you? The whole damn thing pisses me off.

    Reply
  48. Edwin

    That was a fun read. Pity about Techmeme, it has the potential to be good but every time I see the ankle-biter post, I lose interest for a week.

    Reply
  49. Dave Carlington

    Masterfully written, perfectly weighty and delivered like a gent.

    100% agree with you.

    Best post I’ve read in a long long long time.

    Reply
  50. shan mann

    This article has hit the nail on the head. There is no doubt silicon valley has and will create amazing products, but colluding (so called tech – Journalists) and crazy VC’s have dampened the ambiance of the SV.

    Reply
  51. Steve K

    Dan, awesome piece. You just convinced me to not pay the fee to join Pando Monthly. — Steve

    Reply
  52. Vince

    “Worst of all, [Dan] simply does not matter anymore. The only time he did was as a joke. He’s that guy who used to be that guy that was pretending to be Steve Jobs once upon a time. That must be extremely frustrating.”

    It’s funny because it’s true.

    Reply
  53. Joaquin Delgado

    I enjoyed every minute of this. Who are you, and why are you not renown? You have actually proved something, you’ve shown me light. You’re writing is fantastic. To think that I actually looked up to MG for giving it to me “raw”, it was tainted. To speak as MG does: that fucking cunt. Thank you for this, this is one of the best written and formulated articles of all time.

    Reply
  54. D. Aristophanes

    The emperors are running around naked again. Good work, Dan.

    Indeed. Aside from the colostomy bag of grifter drippings that is the TechCrunch/TechMeme Axis of Silicon Valley messaging, I’m most amused by MG Siegler’s pretensions of sheparding journalism to a more responsible and ethical place. This is a guy who wouldn’t know good reporting if he won a Get-Your-Ass-Bitten-By-Woodward-Bernstein-and-Edward-R-Murrow contest.

    Reply
  55. daniel

    A genuinely entertaining read and pretty spot on when it comes to how Harrington and co has always conducted themselves.

    Calling most tech bloggers ‘journalists’ is complementing a pack of power hungry PR-agent-wannabes with venture capital dreams.

    Reply
  56. Walt French

    I get why you’re just a tidge angry but wonder whether your post might be a bit more credible without shots like “sleazy” that are based on standards YOU initiated and didn’t appear to be seen that way by other, unrelated devs just three days ago. Or the click-whore thing, which last I looked is widely practiced and neither illegal nor fattening.

    Maybe a follow-up rewrite would make your point look all the more damning of the real ethical concerns you point out.

    Reply
  57. Will

    One way to become popular is to come into a school, find out who the biggest bullies are, and beat the crap out of them. That’s exactly what Dan just did here. And as far as a methodology to become popular, it’s totally legit! Nice work, sir!

    Reply
  58. eknirb

    ‘his Angry Chihuahua mood.’
    I nearly snorted my chocolate Yoo-Hoo all over my shiny HP widescreen.

    MG seems like a good writer, but he does tend to fawn over Apple a bit.

    Sorta like a fanboy, have you heard of them?

    Reply
  59. Ludo

    Shit just got real. *MG* is calling you out for being a bad writer. This from a guy whose sentences on average contain less than eight words. And today’s analogy is to Moneyball. MG is a total joke. And so is the rest of his TC posse (Arrington, Lacy, Tsotsis, etc.).

    Reply
  60. john caddidy

    Brilliant. Absolutely spot on, Dan. Thanks so much for shining a light on hypocrisy. Maybe it will help open some eyes. One can only hope

    Reply
  61. D. Aristophanes

    MG calling Dan Lyons a bad writer is like Stevie Wonder calling Dan Lyons a bad curveball hitter – there may or may not be some truth to it, but how the fuck would he know?

    Reply
  62. HR

    Siegler’s Apple writing is the most derivative perspectiveless drivel I’ve seen a “reporter” write about a company.

    His success in the technology is a standing testament to the lack of meritocracy in Silicon Valley.

    Reply
  63. Cameron

    You’re going to be eating this comment in a few years. Just wait for Airbnb, CodeAcademy, and Zaarly.

    Reply
  64. Dan S

    MG Siegler is such a wienie. It was entertaining reading him on techcrunch because of the reader feedback mocking him, but on his own blog his self-important pomposity rules, no contrary opinions allowed. I particularly liked how he declared overwhelming approval for his previous post, except among those dastardly tech writers not up to his impeccable personal standards of objectivity, accuracy, and relevance.

    Reply
  65. anon

    The most adorable part about this article is where he implies Siegler and Arrington ever had any credibility.

    Reply
  66. Barrett

    Dan Lyons I am very proud to have once worked with you. The only thing sad about this post is the self-deception and prevarication it will elicit from @parislemon & co.

    Reply
  67. David Feit

    I once had the pleasure of reading through the early 1900′s archives of (Seattle) newspaper sniping wars. Print-media journalism back then could have been described in similar terms, i.e. personal attacking, sales-seeking, back-scratching, resource-misallocating hooey. I wonder how print overcame (to some helpful degree) the destructive, self-serving hypocrisy that seems to plague today’s tech blog-journalism. Maybe it was exposés like this one, but that alone won’t help nowadays unless/until the audiences (including VCs) demand better.

    Reply
  68. Peter Y.

    Thanksfully all of these b2c guys and adjoining sub $20 million seed funds are quickly on their way to irrelevancy.

    Reply
  69. Deane

    Awesome!!! Loved the post, loved the comments. Tech bloggers get built up and manipulated by the people they write about. If you aren’t smart it goes to your head and makes you think you’re great when really you’re just being played for a favorable story. Is it any wonder that the maturation of tech blogging leads to folks like MG & Arrington institutionalizing their easily manipulated personas into more lucrative service offerings? I mean William Randolph Hearst, Murdoch and all the other sleazebag publishers built vast empires with the same type of integrity-less journalism.

    Reply
  70. ken bowey

    You’re completely right about Siegler being a for-hire little attack dog. If the talentless weenie ever came out from the protection of his computer screen, he wouldn’t have the balls to say to peoples’ faces what he scribbles on his blog. Besides peppering his writing with period-heavy sentences like.this.one.now., he’ll be remembered for the role he played in a very sorry time in American journalism. He’s not missed and let’s all hope his mendacious “investment fund” goes out of business soon. Then send his butt packing back to Michigan.

    Reply
  71. Naren

    Consider this: the largest newspaper in India (and the world, according to them) has a private equity arm that “invests” in companies by offering free advertising space. Companies are given free, and positive, coverage.

    Hacks for sale. Everywhere.

    :)

    Reply
  72. Ian Lamont

    Dan, I was with you until you made this statement:

    “The real secret to Siegler’s traffic, however, is that he is pals with Gabe Rivera, who routinely drives traffic to Siegler by giving his pieces top billing on Techmeme. (That’s right, kids. Techmeme is rigged.)”

    Your statement about Rivera and Techmeme is not backed up by any evidence. If you have some — an analysis of Techmeme placement of Siegler’s posts, sources who have knowledge of the alleged “top billing”, or some other information — it should be stated or linked from the post.

    Reply
  73. Dean T

    Absolutely fantastic. All along the way Mike Arrington has been a pay for play journalist. Back in the day at Techcrunch he used “Snap’s” widgets across the site never disclosing that he’d been paid $25k by them, was an advisor to quite a few companies for whom he or his partners wrote fantastic posts, never disclosed (including a failed online storage company), and has a moral compass that spins like a weather vane. Glad to see someone call them out as, to be honest, most folks in silicon valley are afraid of the retribution.

    Reply
  74. TK

    This is a great post – spot-on. Thanks and appreciate the effort to keep these guys accountable.

    Reply
  75. karpe

    The quickest way to ascertain whether an article is substantiated:

    Number of instances of the word “fact” in the article: 7
    Number of times the word “fact” is actually supported with something verifiable: 0
    Amount of actual support backing up the “facts,” which here make up the foundation of the argument: 0 words

    Don’t get me wrong, MG can annoy me, too, but please do not for a second pretend like this is about them changing and freaking you out. It’s a flailing defense in the face of anxiety.

    It might feel good to fight something, Dan, but that consolation is all you’re gonna get.

    Reply
  76. Pressed News

    I’m glad so many of you here enjoyed this story. I’m sure you will all also be happy to know that you’ve just been added to “the list.” Mike & MG are noting all of you here as traitors to the Valley and America.

    Reply
  77. Will

    MG Siegler realized that being so one-sided like Rush Limbaugh gets you a smaller amount of people to like you… but they WORSHIP you.

    Reply
  78. amazed

    Dan, your post forced me to post this comment. You are correct about Techmeme, 50% links to Michael Arrington syndication.

    Reply
  79. Where's Scooby?

    Where is Scoble’s infomercial defending his buddies? Must be on a slow bus to SXSW.

    Reply
  80. Rajiv

    Thanks for exposing this cartel of crooks! Not just Arrington & Seigler but many more – bunch of self-centered egomaniacs! never wrote a line of code, never put their mortgage on the line, never sweated our a product release – and yet have the balls to pontificate. NYTimes needs to open a SV bureau and staff it with real journalists, not fake ones

    Reply
  81. Jeffrey

    I’m trying to understand how this is any different than you relentlessly ripping on Apple and Steve Jobs in order to sell copies of your book.

    Reply
  82. Josh Ledgard

    Thanks for writing this post. I’d written it 100% in my head as an entrepreneur that chooses NOT to take VC funding. Basically if you choose not to take funding you can forget about popular press. That’s what we’ve learned with our companies KicoffLabs and Siftsocial.

    Reply
  83. Tom

    All journalists are click-whores and sensationalists. Dan included. Everyone does it – from bloggers to respective journalists. No one is different.

    It is up to the reader to decipher the bullshit sensationalism and McCarthyism-style reporting.

    While you are at it Dan, how about those fucktards reporting at Business Insider/Silicon Alley Insider led by their master-click whore Henry Blodget?

    Reply
  84. watch a video

    Thank you for saying this. Sometime I feel like we are in high school and the A list bloggers and tech journals are now the bullies of the Silicon Valley. You are either with them or against them. Its time someone showed them the mirror.

    Reply
  85. dajunga

    Thanks for this. Genius! MG is most definitely a hack. I love the Chihuahua label.. Awesome.

    Reply
  86. vish

    Namaste Dan. You nailed this one…Am sick of this and all the high and mighty glorified testers turned angel investors bragging about their caviar rich parties and check ins into the Playboy Mansion.

    You rock.

    Reply
  87. Jon

    Awesome Dan. Usually don’t agree with you but you nailed it. Arrington is a douche. Leo Laporte was right when he told him to f**ck off.

    Reply
  88. Eric Fader

    I would like to see the tech blogging community go back to real analysis. Particularly like the teardown series by Steve Carpenter of Cake Financial.

    Reply
  89. Lamai Sihanouk

    Thank you for having the guts to post what so many others have been thinking. No doubt you’ll take a lot of heat for opening up on such well financed and socially connected targets, but hopefully the recognition and respect your gain will outweigh the inevitable negative repercussions. Whatever you do, please don’t fold and issue an apology in any form, stand strong no matter what!

    Reply
  90. Tony

    MG and Michael Arrogant are terrible douchebags that suck at writing. I don’t know who Dan Lyons is but all these assholes got page views from me, unfortunately.

    Reply
  91. bcv

    Follow the $ lure, same story as Wall Street IPO shill ‘analysts’ not that long ago. Different persons, same motivation, same spin. Predictable B_B_ware …

    Reply
  92. Ella

    It’s not just Techmeme that’s rigged, it’s the entire silicon valley eco-system.

    Everyone’s in it, from tech bloggers, to the so-called angels, to the coveted top-tiered venture hawks.

    Arrington and gang are nothing but a pack of hyenas. Would not want to be funded by those jokesters!

    Path.. that’s going nowhere, no matter how hard they try.

    Reply
  93. Nathan Duran

    The funny thing is that even when Arrington and pals are spoon fed press releases to mindlessly regurgitate they still manage to get virtually every single detail about the product wrong.

    The funnier thing is that the people who did the spoon feeding and witnessed the botched results first hand continue to read their reports on other companies and STILL think there’s a chance some of it might be accurate enough to base actual business decisions on.

    Reply
  94. Copolii

    I’ve had a few rants on how MG is such a fanboy douche, but was never able to explain WHY he’s such a flaming turd. This post put things into perspective for me. Thanks.

    Reply
  95. Etrigan

    That explains it. I always wondered how an empty airhead like Alexia could be a writer on TC. The girl knows nothing about technology and eevrything she writes is a gossipy, trivial OMG!! type post about memes or smething silly. Now I know- she’s boning powerful people. Cesspool indeed.

    Reply
  96. dajunga

    Come to think of it. This post could just as well have been addressed to Scoble. He’s right there with them.

    Reply
  97. okungnyo

    What the…I was replying to [Matttttt // February 13th, 2012 at 8:09 pm] but it sent the comment to the end. Weird.

    Reply
  98. James Matts

    Thanks Dan for calling out Arrington and his gang’s funding racket (Siegler, Carr, Gabe) I bet AirBnB wish they didn’t HAVE too take Arrington’s money. First Arrington attacked them using his bull pit on TC and then after the investment he gets his friends/editors to praise them. This is why Arrington needs a blog. He needs to use fear and extortion to create the best possible situation for him to get into hot startups.

    BEFORE INVESTMENT: NEGATIVE STORIES
    Airbnb Offers Unconditional Apology, And $50,000 Insurance Guarantee 8/1/11 by Arrington

    Another Airbnb Victim Tells His Story: “There Were Meth Pipes Everywhere” – 7/31/11 by Arrington

    How The Hell Is This My Fault? – 7/30/11 by Arrington

    Airbnb Victim Speaks Again: Homeless, Scared And Angry 7/29/11 by Arrington

    The Moment Of Truth For Airbnb As User’s Home Is Utterly Trashed – 7/27/11 by Arrington

    AFTER CRUNCHFUND INVESTMENT – POSITIVE STORIES

    Airbnb: 5 Million Nights Booked, Opening 6 New International Offices In Q1 2012
    1/26/12 by Robin Wauters

    DLD 2012 – Brian Chesky: “Average Airbnb Host In NYC Pockets $21,000 A Year”
    1/23/12 by Robin Wauters

    With Focus On International Expansion, Airbnb Comes To Android And Revamps Mobile Web Offerings – 1/17/12 by Alexia Tsotsis

    A List Of Startups Goldman Sachs Thinks Will Most Likely IPO
    12/3/11 by Alexia Tsotsis

    Airbnb To Partner With Vayable To Upsell Travel Experiences To Renters
    12/2/11 by Greg Kumparak

    Why The Collaborative Consumption Revolution Might Be As Significant As The Industrial Revolution (TCTV) – 11/14/11 by Andrew Keen

    Airbnb’s Brian Chesky On Expansion Efforts: We Use Our Community To Figure Out What’s Next
    11/10/11 by Alexia Tsotsis

    Airbnb Is Thinking About Partnering With Car-Sharing Services – 10/31/11 by Leena Rao

    Airbnb Checks In With Springstar For International Expansion – 10/17/11 by Robin Wauters

    Airbnb Launches Sublets, Tempts Early Adopters With $200 Off Each Month’s Rent – 9/1/11 by Jason Kincaid

    Airbnb Rolls Out 24/7 Phone Support, Additional Safety Features – 8/8/11 by Jason Kincaid

    Reply
  99. Arthur Cox

    Hi Dan

    If you want to see another funding scam here in Europe. Checkout The (Saul/Robin) Kleins, Seedcamp, Index Ventures and their cosy relationship to Arrington. Your either in their camp or you don’t get invested.

    Reply
  100. Conor Neill

    My father says that all the ills in the world are down to the loss of high ethical standards amongst two groups: bankers and journalists. Sadly the entry requirements to journalism are getting lower and lower.

    I don’t pay for news online, but this had me think about the importance of maintaining a quality edited source for news – BBC, NYTimes, WSJ, The Economist… what else is worth keeping?

    Reply
  101. Lisa DiCarlo

    “Now it is being turned into a silicon cesspool, an upside-down world filled with spammers, liars, flippers, privacy invaders, information stealers — and their grubby cadre of paid apologists and pygmy hangers-on.”

    Ha! Love it!

    Reply
  102. Akshay Arabolu

    Fucking brilliant. The quality of journalism at TC really has gone to shit in general. I can’t remember the last time I read a quality piece. The articles that they attempt to pass off as “opinions” or “analysis” so trite, I wonder if the writers actually think about what they write before they commit pen to paper.

    Reply
  103. Ryo

    Thanks you for writing this great article. At least some are brave enough to write the truth about the things going on with this Crunchfund-racketeering.
    Unbelievable.
    Any company that have relations with things like that, or with persons who acting like those two, should be ashamed of themselves and can’t be taken as a serious business.

    I’ll check up companies before signing-up, if they have any relations to criminals like this.

    Reply
  104. Phil S.

    Excellent, I have just added your feed to my reader, and hope to enjoy more. I think I will also look for the responses from xxx!

    Reply
  105. Ajit

    This is one of the brilliant posts I have read. I just felt like you were reading my mind since the time I read about Path. Had it not been a crunchfund company, they would have ripped the company apart. Thank you for the post. Really!

    Reply
  106. Ludo

    Lyons, can you please come up with a nickname for Arrington? Why should MG have all the fun as Matty the angry ankle-biting Chihuahua?

    Reply
  107. Genius

    What valuation did they invest in airbnb? My guess is late in the game and that their return won’t be phenomenal.

    Reply
  108. Eric S. Mueller

    Sounds like a mafia-style business. “Real nice startup you got here. It would be really bad if you got some negative press…”

    You assume “journalists” like this had credibility in the first place. I’m not sure this is a valid assumption.

    Reply
  109. The Ron in electRONics

    Waking to a hot cup of coffee and some honest, unpaid for opinion is the best part of my day – and the coffee I coughed up seeing “Matty the chihuahua” in print was a small price to pay for starting my day with a laugh. Optime factum !

    Reply
  110. Carl

    Well in the dinosaur-don’t-get-it-dead-tree media it would be called a “conflict of interest”.

    But those guys JUST DON’T GET IT!

    Reply
  111. unminded

    I do not agree. You discuss the facts when the counterpart is intellectually honest. But when it isn’t, you have to discuss about its intellectual dishonesty.

    Reply
  112. AppleFUD

    Great article!!!!

    I’ve been saying the same thing about tech blogs to friends for years now–in general they are nothing more than paid shills at best–don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

    And anyone that thinks MG has even the slightest clue about anything has got to be the most clueless of idiots.

    Reply
  113. Glitchard

    Technology news is 90% trivial (and only truly matters when items like ACTA are discussed). Dan, MG and the rest are perpetuate this triviality…which fuels page views.

    Reply
  114. jeff

    Curious, what is not a fact?
    Fact: Crunchfund invests in Path
    Fact: Crunchfund’s attack dogs have written attacks on its investment
    Fact: MG and Arrington have always mixed “journalism” with cronyism, writing fantastic articles about companies they have interests in
    Fact: Crunchfund (Arrington & MG) and Pandodaily have gotten lots of cash from top silicon valley investment firms that wouldn’t even waste saliva by spitting on a blog business proposal, but all rushed in. Why? To buy influence and positive press.
    Fact: Techcrunch itself did an analysis of its own posts. The findings? The vast majority of MG’s posts were about Apple, Facebook and Google – if that’s not lazy, not sure what is.

    Reply
  115. D. Aristophanes

    Glitchard – but MG says he and Mike ‘actually care about technology’! I’m sure this is why he’s never missed an opportunity to ignore some development in racetrack memory or neural networking or heaven forbid quantum computing to gush about Tweetbot or some new filtering option on Foursquare. Cookie-cutter widgets and nav bar buttons are the real cutting edge of technology, man!

    Reply
  116. Malbec

    Consider me subscribed! I’ve been feeling for the longest time that Siegler is one of the most arrogant tech bloggers in journalism. He writes as if you should be thankful that he allowed you to read the words off his site. His feeling of superiority over all other laymen and tech bloggers alike make his words ring hollow. Everything you’ve said here is wonderful and true. Everything. This is just a great piece of writing. Siegler could learn a thing or two from you.

    Reply
  117. Jenning

    As I thought! MG has to be paid to be such a dick!

    Well written article, thank you for voicing this out!

    Reply
  118. Anthony Moor

    Thank you, Dan, for speaking truth to power. (One of those tenets of journalism my money-soaked Valley neighbors and pretenders to our craft so often neglect.) I remember the disdain and derision with which Mr. A greeted true practitioners of news at the Online News Association conference he attended in 2005. He has certainly made out like a bandit since then. And as many of us learned while actually attempting to do good journalism, if you follow the money, you often find the bandits.

    Reply
  119. Carl

    Echoes of the internet bubble’s three stooges writing puffy research notes to inflate the value of internet companies so they won investment banking mandates.

    Oh, but that was OK…they apologised.

    Reply
  120. Glitchard

    D. Aristophanes – I agree, the topics you mention are hardly trivial, but they are much less attractive to bloggers compared to stories that the average consumer cares about–which frankly is a shiny new Foursquare filter. That’s why 90% of tech news is trivial. Like a tabloid, it mostly serves up quick “OMG that’s amazing!!!” stories about banal items (see: everything penned by Alexia Tsotsis) rather than in-depth discussions about important tech issues (see: GigaOm, Technologizer, et al).

    Reply
  121. Jeff Gardner

    Man, this reads like a bad telenovela… Just throw it on the pile of reasons that I find The Valley completely uninteresting.

    Reply
  122. br14

    If you were a multi-billion dollar company, would you really leave something as influential as “independent” reviews of your products or services to chance?

    Don’t think so. There are even case where particularly influential blogs are backed or owned by the corporations whose products they review.

    Pity more journalists don’t do a little more research.

    Reply
  123. Eric

    Truly an ironic post. Regardless of the truth about those two guys, one has to wonder how the author had the gall to write such a transparently autobiographical article in so many ways.

    Reply
  124. Terry Heaton

    Well done, Dan. Silicon Valley’s biggest weakness is inbreeding. It can’t be seen from inside the tribe, because, well, everybody looks alike. It takes an outsider looking in to recognize the pitiful shame of it all. Thanks for having eyes to see.

    Reply
  125. dan t.

    Glad to see you substantially holding people to account, Dan.

    What I’ve never understood is that the comments to every TechCrunch story I’ve (rarely, reluctantly, and usually with regret) seen is at least 90% “Arrington, you’re a whinging, craven, incorrect idiot”, with supporters few and far between. Arrington jumps in on occasion, but always to insult and rant at the commenters who point out he’s full of shit. I guess he is more than full of shit, since he has so much excess to fling around at those who don’t stroke him.

    So: WHY do people feed into it in the first place? The rationale seems circular. “We have to pay attention/tribute to TechCrunch because they’re influential. They’re influential because we pay attention/tribute to them.” Arrington, TechCrunch, et al., are a creation of both the people complaining about and touting them. As with trolls, the only way to be sure is starving them of response and attention. Has any TechCrunch slam _actually_ affected anything?

    Reply
  126. Steve

    Max Siegler is the Karl Rove of tech-blogging. Max’s technique of screaming that others are the most egregious perpetrators of the very sins that he makes a habit out of is one of the oldest tricks in the book. It redefines smarmy and represents one of the lowest forms of humanity.

    Reply
  127. Steve

    You only expose your own ignorance by writing this. What Dan describes is real. Get a clue.

    Reply
  128. David Berlind

    Thanks for de-frocking the self-declared leaders of the priesthood Dan. Let’s not throw the baby out with the scummy bathwater. There are many tech journalists (and brands) for whom you can keep the salt in the shaker. We should be careful about indicting them as well.

    Reply
  129. James Khan

    I thought Arrington moved out of Silicon Valley after he cashed out of Techcrunch. Is he avoiding the taxes of California to live in Seattle and still doing business in the valley? Isn’t there a law that doesn’t allow someone restricted time in the area they used to live. If true that is tax evasion and he is liable. Morally California needs the tax money. So if Arrington comes to Silicon Valley too many times he is basically still a resident. I was wondering that then read this story and it’s clear now that he has people working for him and Pandomedia. Interesting racket.

    Reply
  130. Mark

    I agree about disappointment with some TWiT content. Leo in particular, imho, seems to be influenced by the $$. His favoritism/fanboyism is embarassingly obvious, at times. Too bad, for a long time I considered his advice fairly useful…. I can accept some of the biased content in some TWit programs, based on the title/purpose of a given program, but I think Leo, as the ever-present editor of all the content, should not be a transparent shill for specific hardware/software things…

    Reply
  131. Annie

    Finally, someone points out that the Emperor hasn’t been wearing any clothing for a long time.

    Reply
  132. Anonymous

    Right on the money Dan. This sensationalized, garbage, money-lubricated journalism startup life is annoying to everybody. This is why there are so many startups that are rejecting funding even when they can get it, it’s just not worth it anymore, dealing with the headache. You don’t even need the media anymore to get ahead, people are bypassing this altogether and going for social media. Look at how many big brands put Facebook or Twitter URLs in their Super Bowl Ads, look at the sheer number of companies listed at http://www.facebookfansreviews.com that do nothing other than promote social pages, look at how dominant Facebook is within the popular-culture. There’s really nothing that’s going to change this anytime soon and social media is why these junky gatekeepers are losing their influence. Anybody who hasn’t been to Sillicon Valley before and seen the corruption firsthand can’t really relate to this, especially when you have all of these journalists, VCs, and companies spouting perfectly sunshiny propaganda, but this is the harsh reality.

    Reply
  133. Doug

    Hilarious to see the apologists taking their shots at Dan for daring to question their heros. Arrington has spent years earning this kind of public response, and I hope he gets many more.

    Reply
  134. JRA

    Thank God I’m not the only one ranting and raving about this. Arrington, that ham-fisted vulgarian, may not have invented the notion that merely by announcing one’s conflict of interest one is absolved of any further responsibility (recusal, eliminating it, etc), but he has undoubtedly done more to popularize and monetize the practice than anyone this side of Dick Cheney.

    Reply
  135. Yehuda

    What a pile of pathetic bullshit. I bet most of the traffic you getting here is because this shit was linked on Arrington’s and Sieler’s websites.

    Reply
  136. Jaime

    For some reason I couldn’t add a new comment, so I’m replying here.

    I concurr Dan, this post is brilliant, and I’d hope more and more tech journalists gave their opinions.

    I also noticed Techmeme removed your post, and left the ones associated to it from Mike Arrington, incredible!. Definetively there is a connection there. I also had noticed once, when Alexia Totsis posted something in Techcrunch, which she tipped Techmeme (normal), but it appears immediately in Techmeme, so even a post that hasn’t been in the Internet for 1 minute, Gabe Rivera gave priority to his site.

    Reply
  137. Iain T

    Bravo Dan, a masterful takedown.

    I’ve been covering the tech industry for the last 20 years and whores like this ruin the journalism industry.

    Reply
  138. Glitchard

    To chime in on TWiT’s behalf, I think Leo has done a pretty good job avoiding the appearance of being a corporate shill. The only companies he allows to sponsor TWiT programming are ones that he actually uses. He has waned from iPhone to Android (to Palm to Windows Phone) to iPhone and back to Android (etc.)–because those are the devices that are interesting to him, not because he favorites one company/brand/product. He has journalistic integrity in mind and while he obviously is pursuing money with his network, he’s doing it for love of tech. Just listen to The Tech Guy: you’ll see him offer unbiased advice that is given based on the caller’s situation and individual needs–not on what products or companies he’s (apparently) trying to promote.

    Reply
  139. Deb

    In broadcast media, this style of “journalism is called “payola.” On the Web, it seems, no rules apply (except those you make up yourself).

    Reply
  140. LaMonte

    This is pretty believable. I don’t really follow the fluff bloggers anymore but remember Arrington’s way of defending the current ludicrous tax situation. It sounded like dollars are his “thing”. Not technology, not media.. just money.

    Reply
  141. Paul Mooney

    Techcrunch isn’t a Tech blog, it’s always been a melodrama.

    With the economic downturn of the past four years gossip writers have thrived as useful information has become more scarce.

    Reply
  142. Jim

    With one glaring exception your article was spot on and I enjoyed reading it. The glaring exception: you forgot to include yourself with the rest of the new media douchebags you were writing about. Need to work more on your self awareness.

    Reply
  143. jack selby

    You are just jealous. So what if you are not good as Arrington or successful as him. Suck it up. Move on. Get a job.

    Reply
  144. Arthur Cox

    Wondering how many IP address comments came from Vegas via Paul Carr via an anonymous name. Arrington’s pet poodle is always trying to defend him. Arrington is a total bully and one day he will get his cum uppence its just a shame AOL gave him enough money so he can continue to be an arsehole for longer.

    Reply
  145. JJ

    I’m going into business as a professional “anonymous source” for leaking news to the press. A lot of money there too…

    Reply
  146. Still Vulnerable

    Every comment above from someone I know and respect says the same thing: spot on post, glad someone finally wrote it.
    But not all of us are in a position to get ont the *hit list of someone as vengeful as Arrington. Given how long he holds a grudge and how likely he is to use his now considerable resources to punish those who pulicly speak out against his tactics? I’m sure many people are not commenting strictly out of fear.
    In other words? His tactics are still working, even if they are exposed.
    Which sucks.

    Reply
  147. Michael Fortson

    Dan,

    The problem with Nick’s article is that it was one part fact, and several parts sensationalist nonsense. Nick wrote the story like Path was some sort of malicious information hijacker, posting everyone’s secrets on Usenet for all to see. The readers, of course, ate that up — because that’s what the public wants, sensationalism (a good dose of paranoia never hurts, either). But you know (or should know) why it makes sense for companies to help make connections between users, and anyone reporting in this industry should be at least somewhat familiar with how that “magic” happens. Nick should have known it as well, and his coverage should have been more balanced as a result.

    You know what the story here is? That gray area between what needs to be disclosed and what doesn’t need to be disclosed has been further defined, and developers will follow suit. Apple will probably also make an explicit permission request for contact list access, just like they already do with location data.

    Everyone moves on — end of story. That’s not very interesting, though, is it? Pity. The bigger pity, of course, is the reason publishers pursue sensationalist journalism to begin with: because that’s what the public responds to. No matter how much we lament the way things have gone downhill in the last decades, we still can’t bring ourselves to change the channel, or stop clicking those links.

    My only hope is that despite all of the noise, Path’s focus is back where it should be: on continuing to make the service better for its customers.

    Reply
  148. James Hurrell

    Have to say, the methods described in the article almost sound like a protection racket.

    Reply
  149. Meatball Watson

    I think the people being addressed here — MG, Arrington, Lacy, et al (don’t leave out Carr and Alexis Toenail) — and recognize the incredible pent-up hatred for these douchebags. Add Om Malik to this group of greedy losers the next time.

    Reply
  150. Bill B

    I can’t believe that chihuahuas took shrapnel on this one. They are great dogs and any similarities to Siegler should not be held against the breed.

    Reply
  151. Stephen

    Thanks for this, Dan. For a lot of the people that frequent tech sites, I feel like you’ve very eloquently laid out some of the things that were bothering us.

    More passionate writing, please.

    Reply
  152. mike

    dan lyons this is so true…someone in silicon valley circles just sent this to me via email and summarized the situation for me…. very telling indeed.

    —-

    here is what is happening with the Arrington situation

    - public opinion is validated – arrington is hated and MG is an inexperienced blow hard who thinks he’s hot shit; he is prolific yes but he is prolifically spewing diarrhea as content
    - these guys are slimmy and are being run out of town on a rail quietly being kicked out of the real tech scene by the real people who matter not the stupid echo chamber of dicksters (aka wannabe hipsters – you all know who I’m talking about)
    - the crowd is booing them and has been booing them for years Arrington is finally being publicly called out by silicon valley elite
    - techmeme favors that crowd of so called A-list-douches
    - crunchfund is a laughing stock
    - startups need to stay away from crunchfund bc he could do bad things for your company
    - pando daily is part of crunchfunds eyes n ears for deal flow and manipulation
    - arrington is a loose cannon and hits women
    - arrington his friends all are jerks and time has shown that their history and behavior is slimy and cess pool worthy
    - no VC will come out in public to defend arrington

    Reply
  153. Old fan

    Ahahah, the real problem with all this is that the players are completely interchangeable! :D

    Reply
  154. Simone

    Right on target. Dave McClure of 500 Startups was mad at TechCrunch recently and tweeted that he should have invested in Pando Daily so that he could control his story. What more proof does one need to know the mind of investors… and the sorry state of tech journalism in the valley.

    Reply
  155. Chill

    I stopped reading TechCrunch etc. a while back – very poor quality of journalism, even before Arrington was pushed out. Try Ars Technica.

    Reply
  156. @lavieenarts Eric Ciechanowicz

    Hey guys! Enjoyed reading this insider’s view. But you might’ve missed one point. As Talleyrand said “calomny always leaves something behind” and so he advised to use it. Of course it loses a lot in translation : Mainly there is always room for newcomers to comment on you.
    I’ll be reading you guys :-)

    Reply
  157. WestCoastGordo

    In many cases, Gustavo, your advice is spot-on. In this case, the fact that a popular “news” purveyor is demonstrably less-than-honest *as a character trait* is germane to the column.

    One or two stories unethically slanted would not necessarily call for a shooting of the messenger. Dozens of them and a demonstrable pattern require a firing squad.

    Respectfully disagree.

    Reply
  158. lastangelman

    I laughed, I cried, I rubbed one out, and then I did it all again. Fearless, funny expose of the scummiest scumbuckets that ever carried scum leaving a laughingly insane trail of slime. What an abhorrent way to scam cash. Why didn’t I think of that? And I’M the last angel, man!

    Reply
  159. David Kralik

    This is really no different than what the founding fathers of the United States did. Alexander Hamilton (author of the Federalist) paid money to newspapers to write false articles about Jefferson (author of the Declaration of Independence), and vice versa.

    So, its been done in other industries…and in the case of politics…look how our country turned out!

    In the end, I remain neutral on this kind of stuff. Depending on your persuasion, this could be a good thing.

    Reply
  160. Bill

    Michael Arrington, you are so low it’s unbelievable. I write a justified criticism of your “blog”, you “moderate” it away and put the message I’m replying to on here.

    Getting worried that the gig is up now?

    Reply
  161. Jing

    You managed to write exactly what I and many others were thinking. I agree with pretty much all points. The techcrunch gang are a racket to influential bloggers who use that status to further their own economic interests.

    They occasionally write good articles as currency in order to “extract” remuneration from VC’s and other businesses. That said, after seeing you tie all the threads together, I won’t be reading anything from the writers of TC or PandoDaily.

    It’s funny how they can say they’ll remain impartial to the firms they take money from with a straight face..

    Reply
  162. Megha Shyam

    Having gone out looking for capital on Sandhill Road and other places in Palo Alto, I can relate to this piece very well. Well done.

    Reply
  163. Kevin

    Two weird things:

    1) With no context, Siegler’s post was actually pretty good. It’s only with the curtain pulled back that one can appreciate the irony (spelled out in detail in Real Dan’s post).

    2) Media types notwithstanding (Swisher, Nick Bilton (who?), et al.), is it strange that no one – absolutely no one – on the East coast knows who any of these players are? Or that none of them care one wit about this 5th-grade playground fight?

    Reply
  164. Inkblot

    Just disgusting… If I could wipe my brown-eye with my computer screen right now I would (ouch!) after reading about all of that nonsense more in depth. No credibility leftovers to chew on whatsoever here concerning them.

    Once you’re in the pocket you
    either get spent, or fall right through a hole to the ground.

    Reply
  165. Count Wilhelm

    All of this is great except you made one huge error: Ryan Tate is indeed a “nasty, unethical, irresponsible sleazebag.” Clearly, you never read ValleyWag.

    Reply
  166. Love Fake Steve

    The former staff of Techcrunch is a massive embarrassment to everyone who’s been around the block in SV.

    Reply
  167. You Don't Say

    Great post, only you don’t mention Topix. TechCrunch has been protecting Topix to a criminal extent. Topix is a bastion of defamation, a vehicle used for slander. Ethics? none, a Silicon Valley cesspool on a massive scale and its American lives across the nation that are being destroyed by it.

    Reply
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