Unfortunately, most of his analysis doesn’t extend towards any inspection or research past the broad generalities. He knows he doesn’t like it when ads are run on blogs that don’t fit his narrow definition of what an ad ought to be, so he goes after Magpie with reckless abandon.
What is his latest tactic? Instead of calling out Magpie directly, he skips directly to the users and advertisers using the service to pay Twitter users to run their ads. He calls out Apple, Skype, Cisco, Box.net, StubHub, and FatCow.
Am I being a little harsh with Marshall? Maybe, but no harsher than he is with the whole concept, letting loose invective like “bring on vapid, vile, stupid shilling,” and name-calling to Magpie users: “you are allowing yourself to be turned into a lying robot zombie for a few dollars a month!”
He didn’t stop there. He went so far as to call out Apple: “Apple is paying them to lie like a robot to their friends on Twitter. Nice.”
If he’d done five minutes of research, though, he’d have found out that the companies themselves aren’t behind the ads on Twitter at all. Each one of the products mentioned in his article all have affiliate programs.
Simple as that. Google Apple affiliate. Google Skype Affiliate Program. Do I need to put the rest of the links here? You think you might be able to find an affiliate program or two to sell the Cisco Flip? You ever checked to see if hosting companies offer affiliate programs?
Incidentally, it’s not against his morals for Dell or Jason Calacanis to sell things via Twitter. But because it’s convenient and nominally popular for him to bag on Magpie, he takes the opportunity. For him to trash the service, it’s users, and the people he views as advertisers, he goes for the easy jab rather than do the research.
[Disclosure: I use Magpie (sparingly) on my own Twitter account. I have no other incentive to defend them or attack Marshall other than that. I’m just calling it as I see it.]