Posted on June 3, 2008
Filed Under Web 2.0 Kool Aid |
With the increasing level of arrogance in the egosphere, a sense of entitlement on the part of egomaniacs (sorry, A-list bloggers) certainly couldn’t have been far behind.
I found the best example of it today in the “clash” between TechCrunch and Internet music startup TuneCore.
TechCrunch “CrunchBase Analyst” (read: intern) Peter, sent the following email to :
Hello, I’m currently conducting research for TechCrunch’s company database (CrunchBase.com). Can you give me information on the funding TuneCore has had to date? Can you provide me with the rounds, amounts, dates and investors? Thanks for your help.
TuneCore CEO Jeff Price responded:
Why are you asking. How will this information be used? Who are you? Who funds you?
Peter in turn replies:
TechCrunch.com is a blog that profiles new Internet products and companies. The site is read by many people in the Silicon Valley crowd (venture capitalists, angel investors, people involved with startups, etc). We are independent and a small startup ourselves. You can read about our founder and the company’s beginnings here…
Crunchbase.com is our database of companies, people and financial organizations. The database shows general information about companies/people/finacial orgs and we try to show how things are connected. For example, if you go to Google’s CrunchBase page you can click on their funding, click on Sequoia Capital, and you’ll be shown other companies Sequoia has invested in. Or if you click on their address, you can see other companies located nearby.
TuneCore’s page can be found here…
I’m a CrunchBase Analyst and one of my jobs is to make sure pages are as complete as possible. I’m asking for TuneCore’s funding info so we can place it in CrunchBase. Hopefully that answers your questions. Let me know if you have any further questions.
Finally, Price ends the conversation with:
Thank you for educating me on your site.
Here is a link to all of our press releases for more information on TuneCore
I suspect you might have better luck getting information if you did not cold contact the CEO and state you want to know sensitive information without first establishing a relationship and context
TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington, either amused or miffed that somebody would rebuff any request from TechCrunch, felt obligated to turn a non-story into a post entitled “TuneCore Tells Us Where We Can Shove It” by publicizing Price’s emails (something he seems to be very into lately - all under the guise that TechCrunch is engaging in journalism, except when it’s not).
Can anybody say “entitlement complex”?
While I wouldn’t argue that Price couldn’t have rejected TechCrunch’s request a bit more tactfully, Price’s position is actually quite sensible. A person unknown to him sent a tiny email containing little more than a request for some of the most sensitive information a private company can divulge.
What does Michael Arrington expect?
It doesn’t take a psychologist to figure out: he expects that all entrepreneurs should know about TechCrunch and be so grateful that TechCrunch has taken an interest in their startups that they will, with nothing more than a three sentence email, provide financial information that many private companies are not willing to share.
I’ll let an anonymous commenter state the obvious:
June 3rd, 2008 at 3:12 pm
While I am a daily reader and fan of TechCrunch, I think you are a bit out of line, and border on becoming hyper arrogant lately. As shocked as you may be that you are not a household name across the entire planet or even simply outside of Silicon Valley, it is fact you are not. Seriously, get grounded.
Peter’s initial email made a huge assumption that the recipient of his email is aware of both TechCrunch and CrunchBase as well as their respective motives. Peter asked for sensitive business information without first establishing any connection. Jeff reacted appropriately, especially considering the huge demands of a CEO.
Be the better man, and offer an apology to correct the situation before lambasting the very people that give you the opportunity at hand.
The reason I’m posting about this is that I find the implications intriguing in the context of .
It’s obvious that in the circle jerk called the technology blogosphere, conflicts of interest are a minor inconvenience and accuracy is optional.
But incestuous relationships and back scratching are one thing - the public teasing/intimidation/humiliation of those individuals and startups that refuse to give information to bloggers who feel entitled to it is different.
There’s something disturbing about this and I think it demonstrates that the blogosphere has a long way to go before it can realistically portray itself, on the whole, as a true journalistic medium.
Ironically, such pompous behavior, in the long run, will not inure to the benefit of those who engage in it.
11 Responses to “Introducing Blogger Entitlement”
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Although, perhaps the fact that he sent the email to “” and asked for information that the press would publish (should it be publicly available) explains why they were nonplussed to receive a reply in that tone.
Perhaps the CEO could pay attention to where the email is sent instead of scolding the intern about “cold” contacting the CEO when he had no intention to do so.
my two cents (worth more today due to substance over form)
Eric: as mentioned, I think TuneCore’s CEO could have responded a little more tactfully. TechCrunch’s intern could have sent a more polished email, too.
These are minor details.
The primary issue here is that it’s quite sad when an A-list blogger like Arrington apparently can’t handle a less-than-subtle rejection of his request for information and instead resorts to a low-class post that is realistically of no value to TechCrunch readers.
It’s petty and unbecoming of somebody who has questioned the integrity of mainstream journalism.
Last time I opened up the Wall Street Journal, I didn’t find a bunch of articles disparaging company executives who refused to disclose information to Journal reporters.
I guess if Arrington was running the Journal, instead of “The company did not respond to requests for information,” we’d read “The corrupt assholes at the company have ignored my requests for information.”
The tech blogosphere absolutely, fully and completely, embodies the phrase ‘circle jerk’. Rather than the celebrated resource people act like it is, TechMeme just emphasizes this fact.
I’m down to DownloadSquad and Webware for reading, as in general I am not conscious of who is writing a particular piece. Thankfully so, since the writer is generally not meant to be part of the story.
The last two times I’ve read TC it was about someone at Mr. Arrington’s house and someone on Mr. Arrington’s nerves. Not my cup of tea.
Right, “true journalists” never act entitled, arrogant or pushy. You had me until the last sentiment there. Michael Arrington may be a pompous douche (although I actually found his commentary sort of self-loathing) but the lack of filtering and childish emotional responses are exactly what make bloggers bloggers.
Transparent bias is the foundation of blogging and its appeal is the cornerstone of the demise of traditional journalism. And the rise of itself. From Jon Stewart to The Onion to Huffington Post to Go Fug Yourself… biased works on the Web because the ENTIRE Web ISN’T biased. Nobody needs to walk the middle line, shave off all the corners and make it appealing for the lowest common denominator. That’s what makes it all work so beautifully. This is opinion-ville. Enter at your own risk.
Josh: I have no doubt that there are “journalists” who act entitled, arrogant or pushy.
Does that mean that they use their positions to publicly disparage people who refuse to give them information? As I said, I’ve never opened up the Wall Street Journal to read a petty article about a person who refused to divulge information to a Journal reporter.
I would point out that decency and class can co-exist with opinion. I’m surprised that so many people seem to think that they can’t.
As for “transparent bias” - clearly you’ve been reading my dictionary. Good work.
1. ALWAYS check for press releases before you ask a stupid question. Funding information comes out as press releases.
2. He linked back to the TIME 100 ARTICLE. Hello, hubris, thy name is TechCrunch.
You’re right, it can co-exist and I applaud those who can do it, like yourself. But so too can classlessness and success, that’s all I’m saying. But you are a bigger person for aiming higher, that is true.
I also totally agree that using one’s pulpit to settle petty disputes (or in this case the kind of rejection that Arrington no doubt felt powerless against as a child) is lame. It just has so little affect on me, as I have sat witness to so many numbers of flames on blogs over the years. In the past, traditional journalists waited to lambaste people in their private memoirs, or hid them within thinly disguised characters in novels - today’s online journalists just cry it all out. It might be healthier, actually. I don’t know.
As for “transparent bias,” yes I have read your dictionary. I also read Wired in 2005: http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2005/04/67366
Josh: even though I don’t consider myself a “professional” blogger (this isn’t my “job”), I try to be ethical and maintain some level of correlation between the criticism I dish out and the criticism reasonably deserved.
But I honestly think you give me too much credit. I’m not taking a holier-than-thou position by any means.
I’m simply pointing out that there’s nothing flattering when one of the most prominent bloggers teases/intimidates/humiliates a company executive who refused to give him information and made the honest mistake of doing so in a less-than-tactful manner because he received an unpolished email from an intern asking him point blank for sensitive financial information.
There are a lot of people in the blogosphere who claim that the blogosphere is and is going to play an important role in “real” journalism. There are also a lot of people in the blogosphere who have criticized mainstream journalism, including Arrington.
From that perspective, when one of the most prominent bloggers engages in such petty, unprofessional and unjournalistic behavior by disparaging an executive and his startup for little more than a refusal to provide information, it just doesn’t make the blogosphere look very good and doesn’t bode well for blogging as journalism.
Whether they like it or not, people like Arrington are the face of the blogosphere and how they act does reflect on it. Right now, the reflection doesn’t look so good.
Very true. And good point.
Publishing the email was definitely classless and unprofessional, but I’m just as awed (probably not the right word) at the many, many commentors who choose to get down on their knees to suck off Arrington and support his childish response while taking potshots at TuneCore.
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