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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Are People Finally Getting Bored with the Tech-Blog Circle Jerk?

Posted By on Tue, Apr 10, 2012 at 10:40 AM

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At this point, I have to believe that all the people in the Pando Daily-TechCrunch-Uncrunched-whatever micro-universe have consciously incorporated their onanistic little circle jerk into their collective business model. You can almost picture it just that way: Michael Arrington, Sarah Lacy, MG Siegler, Paul Carr and whomever else, sitting in a circle, each gazing into a mirror as they handle each other's nethers -- sometimes gently, sometimes aggressively. Then they post the whole thing online and watch the clicks pile up.

What any of it really has to do with the business of technology, I'm not entirely sure, except that the emotional maldevelopment on display is somehow enough to attract millions of dollars from tech investors and advertisers.

Apparently Arrington and Siegler are on the outs with Pando Daily. The details this time, like every other time, almost don't matter, except that there are so many dollars involved, along with, perhaps, the fortunes of some people in the tech biz. So I guess we have to go through the litany, at least cursorily:

Arrington and Siegler used to work for TechCrunch, which Arrington founded and later sold to AOL. Following a period of "drama" that was whipped up mostly by themselves (wherein some of them -- basically trade journalists, remember -- bragged of their own "swagger"), they left AOL after AOL told them they were violating the most basic of journalism ethics rules by investing the companies they were writing about. Anyway, that's what happened with Arrington, and Siegler followed, bringing his "swagger" with him.

Then came Pando Daily, launched by Sarah Lacy, also formerly of TechCrunch. Pando's lack of ethics is at the very core of its being: It's financed by a whole bunch of venture capitalists and tech moguls. And it covers tech startups. Which means that its owners, in one way or another, nearly always have some kind of financial stake in the "stories" it runs.

Arrington, Siegler, and Carr all agreed to write for Pando. Arrington and Siegler's CrunchFund took a stake in Pando, and Arrington was named to its board. (I'm not precisely sure where Paul Carr fits into all of this. He's written a lot of painfully narcissistic stuff for both TechCrunch and Pando -- that's the extent of my knowledge. Oh, and he's in his early 30s and has already written three autobiographical -- or, auto-something -- books that apparently are meant to convince readers of how wild and crazy and rebellious and everything he is. Did you know he used to drink? Like, alcohol? Enough to get drunk, and on a regular basis? It's true!)

(Continues on Page 2)

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Dan Mitchell

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