An Open Letter to TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington

Michael-

I really appreciate what you’ve done for Web 2.0 and the larger tech community. In many ways, you have given Web 2.0 a face it previously didn’t have. TechCrunch is one of my ‘must read’ blogs and I’m always excited to check out the new Web 2.0 companies and products you review and profile. It’s obvious you put a lot of time and effort into what you do.

That being said, I was very disappointed with your coverage of Blogniscient on TechCrunch yesterday. I feel a friend and client was not given a fair shake on your blog, due to a rather obvious preference for what you perceive as a competing service – Memeorandum.

Blogniscient was given a sub-par review (e.g., a reader of yours pointed out one mistake but no update was made – fair enough, you just posted this comment) and no profile of its own. Before yesterday, you admitted via a comment on my blog that you choose not to write about Blogniscient because it was “so ugly it makes memeorandum look good.”

Is Web 2.0 simply about looks though? Is it not about the technology? I think we can all agree that del.icio.us is another Web 2.0 service that is quite ugly. Still, its received rave reviews from you.

I think there is quite a conflict of interest when it comes to your thoughts on Memeorandum and Blogniscient. After all, Gabe appears to be a pretty good friend of yours (seen pictured with you here and here) and has even stayed out at your house (I’m not sure if he is still there but his blog seems to show Atherton as his new city of residence).

In most cases where there are multiple companies or products in the same space (take AJAX calendars for example), each still are given an objective and thoughtful review. Blogniscient, however, has never been given an analysis on its own terms. Even the title of your post was called Blogniscient v. Memeorandum.

Your follow-up comment showing the stats of Memeorandum against Blogniscient also seems rather unfair, considering Memeorandum has received an overwhelming amount of coverage on blogs like yours and Scoblelizer (although Robert actually has covered Blogniscient prior to yesterday). Case and point, as I wrote this post, Robert has a new post up called How to get on Memeorandum.

You might say that I also have a conflict of interest due to the nature of my relationship with Blogniscient. I’ve gone to bat for them in the past though, before ever doing any work with them or having any conversations of substance with Ben. I gave Blogniscient coverage because I valued the technology and overlooked a terrible interface. After sitting down to learn about Ben’s vision, I found it fascinating – I knew we could do something about the design issues.

As I commented on your blog some time back, I value it most as an objective resource, a fact based encyclopedia for Web 2.0 products and services. I understand that occasionally there will be some editorializing (as in the case of Inform.com) but I hope to see that reserved for your new companion blog going forward – and I plan on reading that one as often as TechCrunch. If you truly believe in letting the web decide, then I think TechCrunch can serve us best as an unbiased source for tracking Web 2.0. I know that’s a tough challenge but you seem more than capable for being up to the the task.

I hope you find these thoughts constructive and not overtly critical or presuming.

Best,

Ken Yarmosh
TECHNOSIGHT
Technology Consultant

P.S. – Sorry to present these thoughts in this fashion but previous emails have gone unanswered.

update: Mike didn’t take kindly to this letter. He believes I never revealed my role as a paid consultant when writing about Blogniscient (which I did when Blogniscient became my client just under two weeks ago via my interview post). You can read my comment on his blog (at which I also reveal that I was paid $100 caffeine money for this job). Scoble also chimed in.