Robert Scoble has been hanging out with Mike Arrington a lot lately, or so it would seem. Ever since he was announced as a “TechCrunch Expert” back in mid-August, he’s been channeling the fervor and unqualified attacks we generally only see come from Mike after he’s been on a three week blogging bender with no sleep.
And don’t get me wrong – we all know Mike Arrington is a jerk. It’s part of the persona he uses to sell Techcrunch with. He likes to get angry and block folks with little provocation. Likewise, it’s no secret he’s had a hate-on for Mashable for a long time. He maintains a Deadpool. I’ve even, on occasion, expressed empathy to exactly how he got to be so bitter and cutthroat.
The truth is that I’ve had a lot of folks come at me with the unprovoked accusation that Robert lobbed at Mashable just two weeks after he joined the TC Expert panel:
“I think it’s funny to read this from a site that regularly just reprints press releases from companies without really using the stuff they are writing about.”
Of course, Robert, like everyone else that’s said that to us, has at least two things in common:
1) They can’t prove that statement.
2) They eventually admit or it becomes obvious that they got that idea from Mike.
It’s an easy enough thing to prove, particularly if you’re a blogger. Everyone gets the same press releases in their email. Simply run a search based on text from the press releases. If we’re in the habit of doing that, it shouldn’t take long to find exact verbage matches.
Thing is, you can’t do it. We don’t reprint press releases, so you won’t find matches.
Robert, Saturday morning, said that every company who entered themselves into the DEMO conference sucked:
I just visited every one of these companies. Boy do they almost all suck (at least their Web sites and if their sites suck, I can’t believe their products are going to do much better).
He then started several FriendFeed threads and posted four blog posts on his site defending his original accusation. Rather than backing away, apologizing and saying – “look, your design sucks but your product may be good,” he continued to dig a hole and get defensive to everyone who disagreed with him.
Yeah, I have an axe to grind with Robert. He’s been a pretty big jerk to me over the last few weeks on FriendFeed, said some really ridiculous things and didn’t walk them back, all after calling out the editorial ethics of Mashable and refusing to apologize for it.
So yeah, I think Robert’s essentially turned into a shill for TechCrunch. I’m not sure that this is his indended crowning point of his career, but he’s making it really hard for me to like him anymore. His willingness to put his foot in his mouth has always made him a great foil for bloggers (something he’s built his career out of), but he’s definitely crossed a number of lines lately and it’s irritated me enough to do a stupidly long blog post and even stupidly longer video post.
Robert: This is an intervention. We all believe it’s in your best interests to re-think your position a little bit. You’ve been consistently talking down DEMO, and talking up TC50. You’ve been attacking Mike’s enemies and talking up TechCrunch consistently, as well. In short, Robert, stop hanging out with Mike. He’s turning you into an asshole. Everyone thinks so.
In the video – I expound on the history of Robert, Mike and this TC/DEMO mess. I also show a peek at a really cool company that’s going to be at DEMO, proving that Robert’s dead wrong on his analysis. I also, at the end, outline what sorts of companies are at DEMO and why web design doesn’t matter as much for them. I then implore Robert to come back from the Dark Side and be the fun loving blogger who occasionally puts his foot in his mouth, but does so without malice.