Plagiarism: Washington Post blogger resigns

Conservative Blogger Ben Domenechhas resigned as the blogger of Red America at The Washington Post over plagiarism accusations:

Red America, my new blog at, has been under attack since its launch. It is a conservative blog on a mainstream media site, so many of the attacks were expected. If one bothers to read it, I believe it stands as a welcome addition to the opinion debate.

The hate mail that I have received since the launch of this blog has been overwhelmingly profane and violent. My family has been threatened; my friends have been deluged; my phone has been prank called. The most recent email that showed up while writing this post talked about how the author would like to hack off my head, and wishes my mother had aborted me.

But in the course of accusing me of racism, homophobia, bigotry, and even (on one extensive Atrios thread) of having a sexual relationship with my mother, the leftists shifted their accusations to ones of plagiarism. You can find the major examples here: I link to this source only because I believe it’s the only place that hasn’t yet written about how they’d like to rape my sister.

I know that charges of plagiarism are serious. While I am not a journalist, I have, myself, written more than one thing that has been plagiarized in the past. But these charges have also served to create an atmosphere where no matter what is said on my Red America blog, leftists will focus on things with my byline from when I was a teenager.

Much coverage around this resignation – follow the conversation over at Memorandum.

Scoble refuses the Pitch

Earlier this week, Robert Scoble wrote about being overwhelmed with pitches:

Don’€™t send me more email pitches please. Don’€™t beg for me to try out your software. Don’€™t wait for me to blog about your company or your team or your product or you. That’€™s what comments here are for. You have direct access to anyone who is reading this post. Pitch in the comments! If your stuff is good, someone will try it out and say so. Maybe even me.

Shel Israel is to be thanked for this post since he wrote about how to pitch him. You know this world is getting nuts when even the ex-PR guys are getting pitched!

Scoble goes on to talk about how he’s backed away from memetrackers and other blogs in the so-called “A-List” and digging into some other bloggers that many haven’t heard of. In the end, I end up liking Scoble’s post.

But whole thing about not sending email pitches irritates me.

We may be in different blogging circles – Scoble writes about technology, blogging, and Microsoft, and I’m here to report on blogging news and opinion. I live for tips, Scoble doesn’t.

If I hadn’t gotten an email from Marco yesterday talking about his newly designed iPod Nano sleeve for “Do Not Disturb”, I probably wouldn’t have blogged it. I had seen a post on Boing Boing about it and skimmed right over it – but his email made me sit up and take notice.

Some of what I consider to me our best posts from our various blogs start out as email pitches or other tips from readers and others out there in the market’s we’re targetting. This is part of listening to your audience – besides, there’s always the ‘delete’ key for the email that you don’t want to read.

Something to think about.. and our address for pitching a story or your product is tips [at] blogmedia [dot] biz.

Google sued over PageRank

Reuters reports that KinderStart has sued Google for their drop in search engine relevancy in the Google index:

KinderStart charges that Google without warning in March 2005 penalized the site in its search rankings, sparking a “cataclysmic” 70 percent fall in its audience — and a resulting 80 percent decline in revenue.

At its height, KinderStart counted 10 million page views per month, the lawsuit said. Web site page views are a basic way of measuring audience and are used to set advertising rates.

“Google does not generally inform Web sites that they have been penalized nor does it explain in detail why the Web site was penalized,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit goes on to claim that KinderStart’s constitutional right to free speech has been violated because they’ve lost relevancy and/or were removed from Google’s search index.

I may be taking an overly simple look at this lawsuit, but in my mind, it’s Google’s index and they can do with it what they want – including dropping you completely if they choose to do so.

I look at our own Blog Network List the same way – today we generally cover all sorts of blog networks, but in the future we may categorize those networks or drop some types all together. Are we to be held up in court from running our business as we see fit?

Do Not Disturb!

Marco, the creator of these unique ipod stickers for privacy, tips us to his creation:
ipod Do Not Disturb

This design is a visual interpretation of one aspect from my current study about Acoustical Privacy: the iPod as a potential indicator for “non-communication”. Through a playful approach the sticker either strengthens the wish for privacy but also offers the opportunity to break up the silence with the direct demand for conversation.

Now, if someone could create one for us to use on our office door that’s quite as simple we’d be pretty happy campers…

Do you give good Google?

A recent article on outlines the risks of living a life online under your real name:

Do you give good Google? It’s the preoccupation du jour as Google hits become the new Q ratings for the creative class. Search engines provide endless opportunities for ego surfing, Google bombing (influencing traffic so it spikes a particular site), and Google juicing (enhancing one’s “brand” in the era of micro-celebrity). Follow someone too closely and you could be accused of being a Google stalker. Follow yourself too closely: Google narcissist.

But Googling people is also becoming a way for bosses and headhunters to do continuous and stealthy background checks on employees, no disclosure required. Google is an end run around discrimination laws, inasmuch as employers can find out all manner of information — some of it for a nominal fee — that is legally off limits in interviews: your age, your martial status, the value of your house (along with an aerial photograph of it), the average net worth of your neighbors, fraternity pranks, stuff you wrote in college, liens, bankruptcies, political affiliations, and the names and ages of your children. Former Delta Air Lines (dal.) flight attendant Ellen Simonetti lost her job because she posted suggestive pictures of herself in uniform on her “Queen of Sky” blog — even though she didn’t mention the airline by name. “We need Sarbanes and Oxley to come up with a Fair Google Reporting Act,” says Brian Sullivan, CEO of recruitment firm Christian & Timbers. “I mean, what the hell do you do if there is stuff out there on Google that is unflattering or, God forbid, incorrect?”

A long time ago, when I had a real job, I had a personal weblog. It didn’t take long for my employer to find that weblog and for it to become an issue at work. My blog never discussed work, but that really didn’t matter, it was still fodder for water cooler discussion.

If one looks really carefully, you can find things that I wrote in college, and even in high school, online in some of Google’s archives – some of those things I’m not so proud of.

The Unstylish CEO

9rules Network CEO Paul Scrivens, who doesn’t allow comments on his blog claims to be the best dressed person in the geek community:

Even when I am sick I am the best dressed person in this geek community. Doesn’€™t say much, but damn did I look good the times I left the room.

I don’t know many CEOs who use a trademark (Oreo) as part of the name of their blog and who think that wearing jeans and a sideways baseball cap makes them the “best dressed person in the geek community”. Or a sideways cap w/ headphones, and a funky hand sign.

When I think about best dressed, I think about what Thomas and Hugh have created over at English Cut, a wonderful community about fashion and style – and great men’s clothing.

I realize that this whole Web 2.0 / AJAX thing is supposed to be about being different and the “new media world”, but if you want to be taken seriously, start dressing like it.

Six Apart receives $12 mln in funding

Six Apart, providers of the TypePad, Live Journal and MT blogging platforms has received around $12 million in a third round of funding for use in new products, international expansion and network growth.

Accroding to Reuters, Barak Berkowitz, chief executive of SixApart said this brings the funding Six Apart has raised to roughly $23 million since being founded four years ago by Ben and Mena Trott.

Six Apart plans to use the financing in part to help launch a new service, code-named Comet.

Dave Winer says he will stop blogging

Dave Winer, one of blogging’s “pioneers”, says that he will stop blogging before this year is out:

I can do it, folks, I have already, in some sense, stopped one of my rivers, and soon, probably before the end of 2006, I will put this site in mothballs, in archive mode, and go on to other things, Murphy-willing of course.


So there’s the first part of my reason. Blogging doesn’t need me anymore. It’ll go on just as well, maybe even better, with some new space opened up for some new things. But more important to me, there will be new space for me. Blogging not only takes a lot of time (which I don’t begrudge it, I love writing) but it also limits what I can do, because it’s made me a public figure. I want some privacy, I want to matter less, so I can retool, and matter more, in different ways. What those ways are, however, are things I won’t be talking about here. That’s the point. That’s the big reason why.

Now, if you’ve been a long-time Winer reader, like I am, then you know that he has a tendency to spot off and irritate many people. There are even blogs dedicated to his inconsistencies and attacks on others.

It will be interesting to see if Winer actually stops blogging this year or not…

Update: Valleywag has a better idea as to why Winer’s quitting:

Scripring Techcrunch