Tech Journalism or Hollywood Gossip?

There are many technology news outlets, bloggers and many internet personalities that you can follow to get all the technology industry news and information that you need. In recent weeks, attacks between some tech journalists, bloggers and internet personalities have made the tech industry look a bit like showbiz.

It all started by New York Time’s Nick Bilton story about the social networking app called Path (founded by Dave Morin and Shawn Fanning), which came under fire a few weeks ago when Arun Thampi, a programmer from Singapore discovered that the application was automatically uploading its user’s entire address book to its servers. Without asking.

First Act

Nick Bilton’s article basically criticized the fact that many internet companies and entrepreneurs seem to follow the philosophy of “ask for forgiveness, not permission” and how this is becoming the “industry best practice.” I disagree by the way, it is ridiculous to call something an “industry best practice” based in mistakes made by a few companies. Path has since apologized and confirmed that all the data collected without permission has been destroyed.

Second Act

Newsweek Technology Editor Dan Lyons wrote in his personal blog a post that seemed to be inspired by Nick Bilton’s article where he (Dan) complains mainly about other Sillicon Valley bloggers calling them “Hit men, click whores, and paid apologists”. He goes on to say that tech and startup journalism in the Valley is all about VCs investing in these blogger’s sites, to become business partners, so at the very least they’ll have a friendly media outlet whose “influence” you can call upon. Dan specifically points at tech blogs such as TechCrunch, PandoDaily and people like Mike Arrington and MG Siegler.

Dan finishes his post with the following:

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.

Third Act

The story didn’t stop there, Dan Lyons continued his strong criticism against tech blogs and bloggers and this time it was Robert Scoble’s turn when in this article, Dan called Scoble a “hack for hire”. The article stated that Robert Scoble was going to be part of a VC fund and that it was going to use his influence and large following to write blog posts favoring companies that he will be investing in with this alleged fund… just like Mike Arrington is doing with CrunchFund, he writes. The following is a quote from this article:

Trend Alert: In Silicon Valley, popular bloggers are realizing that instead of trying to make a living by selling ads, they can instead hit up venture capitalists for money.

Fourth Act

Robert Scoble responds to Dan Lyon’s article strongly denying such allegations of him becoming involved with some sort of VC fund, he goes on and on by adding comments to Dan’s article and commenting about this in Google+. And the back and forth begins… Dan did apologize partially to Scoble in Google+ but the he wrote another article to further expand on this story of Scoble being interested in becoming an investor or be part of an investment group.

In this new article Dan Lyons explains that he actually likes Scoble and that he has nothing against him, he also writes that this is not a fight between him and Scoble but instead just a story about the issues that could arise from having bloggers invest in companies that they are blogging about, in his own words:

The story that I find interesting and worth reporting is that some popular tech bloggers are finding new ways to make money, and these ways usually involve becoming entwined with the same venture capitalists whose portfolio companies they write about, which raises some interesting issues.

This is not the end of this story, Robert Scoble already responded and did acknowledge that this discussion has become entertaining for many as the title of his latest respond to Dan Lyon’s suggests

Still got your popcorn out for the Dan Lyons show?

Michael Arrington which is also part of this “telenovela” has already given his opinion about this as well and I am sure he’ll have a hard time not saying anything about Dan’s latest post.

The End?

So there you go folks, I hope this “show” between Dan Lyons, Robert Scoble, Michael Arrington and others ends soon. These guys have earned the respect of many and a large audience in the technology and tech startup world, it is time for them to go back and focus on the things that they are good at such as writing about new technologies, new gadgets, tech startups, etc… And if they are serious about straighten things out, then they should come by SXSW next month and have a live talk in front of many of their followers, perhaps a boxing ring? now, that would be a good show to watch!

What are your thoughts about this?

One thought on “Tech Journalism or Hollywood Gossip?

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