9rules: jealous, petty, snarky or lost?

Filed as Uncategorized on October 11, 2006 2:50 am

eGonzo Weekly by Martin Neumann

I just finished listening to the recent Blog Herald podcast – an interview with Duncan Riley, fellow Aussie and co-owner of b5media, the blog network that recently recieved $2million in VC funding.

The reception to the news last week was overall positive except from one section of the b’sphere: 9Rules.

Mike Rundle posted and commented seeing fit to take cheap shots at b5 – reasons unknown.

Well yesterday, b5 had their chance to respond via the Duncan Riley interview here.

Firstly, Duncan – it’s 9Rules not 9Fools. :-)


I could sense that Duncan wanted to really rip into them and he tried his best to hold himself back – but at times the real Duncan came out and some goodies came gushing forth.

Let me see… what exactly is 9Rules? The big question being: What is their business plan? Do they even have one! Seriously!

What’s more intriguing is that all is not rosey over at 9R land or so it seems. Duncan says that some within 9Rules have told him they are “deeply, deeply embarrassed by the actions of Scrivens and Rundle of late”.

My choice pull out quote from the interview – Duncan says of Rundle and gang…

“…if that’s the sort of quality of individual that they are are, which obviously isn’t very high, they’ll run their business into the ground over time”

Yay, Duncan rips off his newly fitted corporate suit and gets down and dirty … in a classy way, like we all knew he wanted to. :)

Duncan – no matter how big you and b5 get remember where you’re from and what made you, well … you: The guy who speaks his mind without fear or favour, without holding back, without being politically/business corrrect.

Okay, so 9Rules have long been the super-dooper, uber cool blog network with the classy designs but the question is … what next? Okay, the dancing videos were fun for a few minutes, the venture into porn raised eyebrows and there was talk of some advertising model being rolled out – yes folks, an actual business model.

But it’s closer to 2007 than 2005 and 9Rules seems stagnant. All they seem to do is add a few hundred blogs every so often – with big fanfare. That’s all nice and well but when does community building turn into one giant link farm?

Paul Scrivens has rarely been heard from this year (maybe within the echo chambers of 9rules he’s going strong) and Mike Rundle is getting more and more into petty snark (word to the wise: snark died late last year).

His recent sniping at b5 just makes no sense. All it raises are questions of what exactly is going on at 9rules? Yes, no doubt we’ll be shot down by some smart and witty comment, they’ll laugh at this, have their little in-jokes and snicker at those that dare to question 9Rules. Yeah, big deal – we’re all big people here. Talk is cheap. Cheap shots are a dime a dozen in the b’sphere. Now answer the questions.

And my question to Rundle and Scrivens is this: What is your business plan? What is your business model? Do you even have one? It’s a question that’s been asked from day one – heck, I think I even asked that last year – and last year is a long time in the b’sphere.

You don’t have to answer but by being the shameless attention seekers of late that you have become I think it’s a fair question to ask, no!

Martin Neumann blogs at The Blog Columnist

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  1. By Duncan posted on October 11, 2006 at 3:45 am
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    Alas, the question still remains I guess, why spend so much time attacking others (and not just b5 I’d note) instead of looking after your own backyard. One thing I should have added on the podcast, but it would have been lost on non-Australian listners, is the inclusion of the classic Kath and Kim line “look at moi, look at moi” in describing some of their recent actions :-)

  2. By Martin Neumann posted on October 11, 2006 at 3:57 am
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    I’ll help you out there, Duncan – now everybody, do your most extreme (ie: worst) Aussie accent and repeat after me “Look at me , Look at me”… :)

    I guess the question shall remain open – but I have my theories.

  3. b5 & 9rules or 4pples & 0ranges » @ Ambot ah! [ technology news and reviews ]October 11, 2006 at 4:37 am
  4. By Jamsi posted on October 11, 2006 at 5:07 am
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    Oh shit Duncan, what have you done. The ScrivsTyme gang will be here any minute.
    /gets popcorn

  5. By franky posted on October 11, 2006 at 5:08 am
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    Actually, do they need a business plan or can they still do it for fun?
    Honestly? What do they need to have?

    Server costs? Probably pretty covered by their partnership with (mt) and the sponsors/ads they have.
    Design costs? No need for, they have a great designer (Rundle) and many others would design for free as well for them.
    Programming and administering it? They just are cool kids.

    Some (many) people would love to run something like 9rules just to do it and be able to be snarky, wether last is modern or not. If not, the podcast was pretty old-fashioned. ;-)

    Note I don’t take any site. Other note, hasn’t Rundle allowed himself never to shuttup, even before 9Rules. And wasn’t Scrivens always a fun game online?
    Otherwise I do think that Wisdump valuable content is, so is Business Logs.

    But the game gotta continue or? Of course no one would even remotly dare to considere taking a Valleywag entry serious or?
    $2mio. Except more people working at b5media and eventually a better infrastructure, will it become (financially) more interesting for the bloggers to be part of b5media? Or will the money be spend to buy even more blogs. In which case I’ll start tomorrow today the London 2012 blog ;-)

  6. By Matt Craven posted on October 11, 2006 at 5:38 am
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    /gets popcorn

    Oh man, had no idea Martin was going to write about this.
    /pulls up a chair.

  7. By Martin Neumann posted on October 11, 2006 at 5:48 am
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    Jamsi – Duncan just stood up for b5 and the b5 team – and good on him.

    Matt – that’s why I post such things at 2.50am your time. ;-)

    Franky – all good stuff you point out there. Of course they can do as they please and run it as a not-for-profit, but as Duncan said in the first comment, why spend so much time attacking others.

    But I wonder how long till they figure out that we’re talking about them – I left no link to 9R.

    But I’ve still got the popcorn warmed and my seat pulled up. :)

  8. By Duncan posted on October 11, 2006 at 6:06 am
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    It’s 7am on the East Coast now, I’d think we’ve still got a couple of hours left, after all, I presume all that hate from them probably means they’d require a decent sleep in :-)

  9. By Duncan posted on October 11, 2006 at 6:07 am
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    Franky,
    to answer your question at the end there, yes, we’ll be looking after our bloggers first and foremost, and secondly, unless we get a really attractive offer we don’t by blogs, we create them, $7.98 per registration of the domain name :-)

  10. By Christina posted on October 11, 2006 at 6:11 am
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    Somebody pass the popcorn and turn on the Crue. ;)
    /settling in for the long haul

  11. By Martin Neumann posted on October 11, 2006 at 6:15 am
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    Damn – maybe I should have joined b5 when I had the chance. :)

  12. By Martin Neumann posted on October 11, 2006 at 6:18 am
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    Christina – you’ve obviously just visited my blog and checked out my latest “crue” entry. ;-)

    This entry was written with “Bastard” and “Knock ‘em Dead Kid” blasting through my earphones. For those not in the know, these are Motley Crue classics.

  13. By Duncan posted on October 11, 2006 at 6:41 am
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    sorry, that should have been buy blogs, typing isn’t my strong point :-)

  14. By Duncan posted on October 11, 2006 at 6:42 am
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    BTW, what are the Adsense ads saying about this post, I’m seeing
    God Wants You Well and God -total Union with God…perhaps that you speak of the path to higher wisdom Martin :-)

  15. By Aaron Brazell posted on October 11, 2006 at 6:45 am
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    I’m seeing unlimited calls to India and cheap domain registration…. ha.

  16. By Christina posted on October 11, 2006 at 6:46 am
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    That is the Crue speaking, I am pretty sure. :)

  17. By Martin Neumann posted on October 11, 2006 at 6:50 am
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    Gee, that’s very contextual of AdSense – what’s God got to do with me virtually bitch slapping the 9Rules punks. LOL ;-)

    But then again, God works in mysterious way, eh! ;)

  18. By Martin Neumann posted on October 11, 2006 at 6:52 am
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    Christina – Nah, the crue would have Satan appearing and/or some Pamela Anderson and Tommey Lee video for sale.

  19. By Christina posted on October 11, 2006 at 7:19 am
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    Oh oh yeah, thats right – Satan, not God. It has been too long… ;)

  20. 9Rules under fire; Pull up a Chair » Work BoxersOctober 11, 2006 at 7:23 am
  21. By Liz Strauss posted on October 11, 2006 at 7:49 am
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    I’m getting flashbacks of the movie “Breakfast Club” for some reason. :)

  22. By Martin Neumann posted on October 11, 2006 at 8:17 am
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    “The Breakfast Club” – explain yourself, Liz … and now I’ve got that tune in my head all day “Hey, Hey, hey, Don’t you forget about me …” and so on. :)

  23. By Matt Craven posted on October 11, 2006 at 8:24 am
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    Like I said – 200 comments.

    This is #22

    /gets more coffee

  24. By Martin Neumann posted on October 11, 2006 at 8:33 am
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    And the nimrods over at 9r’s (not the bloggers, because there’s some damn good blogs there – it’s the tools running the circus) haven’t yet woken up to the fact that I’m slapping them around a bit. :)

    My guess is they’ll stay hidden under their rocks or do a classic circle jerk.

    From the Urban Dictionary: Urban Jerk –

    A useless discussion or meeting involving mental masturbation whereby the egotistical, boring participants try to demonstrate they’re the smartest persons in the room.

  25. By Jamsi posted on October 11, 2006 at 8:42 am
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    Damn, even Liz showed up. Now she knows how to attact 200+ comments on a single entry with her open mic nights, perhaps ask her for help there Matt? :)

  26. By Marti posted on October 11, 2006 at 9:02 am
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    {{Pushes a drunk out of his ring-side seat and uses him as an ottoman, while surreptitiously stealing some popcorn from Matt. Liz spots my poplifting but smiles her secret smile.}}

  27. By Liz Strauss posted on October 11, 2006 at 9:12 am
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    Marti,
    That’s 2 more hours of detention. This breakfast club is going on through lunch I think.

  28. By franky posted on October 11, 2006 at 9:16 am
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    Hmmm… popcorn, breakfast. I guess happy hour should start soon. At least for us eilers in the UK.
    And maybe for sleep-ins in the US. :D

  29. By Martin Neumann posted on October 11, 2006 at 9:18 am
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    Marti – hey that drunk was me. :) And Matt’s shouting the popcorn – it’s his house.

    But there might not be anything happening “ring-side” – these guys are gutless wonders, all talk and when they do get called out they usually run and hide and make their witty comebacks behind their mommy (how’s that for baiting) :)

    C’mon, guys – as G n’ R sang: “Get in the Ring”…

  30. By franky posted on October 11, 2006 at 9:20 am
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    Don’t you hate your keyboard if the X gets stuck? No more flames about all your past loves and suddenly you’re even no eXiler anymore.

    Martin Urban Jerk sound much like Ass (Free dictionnary)
    A vain, self-important, silly, or aggressively stupid person.

  31. By Martin Neumann posted on October 11, 2006 at 9:26 am
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    Franky – Lets use my circle jerk (urban Dict) and your ass (Free Dict) and merge them together. Yep, I think that works in this case. :)

  32. By Stephen posted on October 11, 2006 at 9:29 am
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    You know. I have a business and a business plan….why is it my responsibility to share it with anyone who is not directly involved in my business. This whole thing sounds a little amateur to me.

  33. By Chris Cree posted on October 11, 2006 at 9:41 am
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    As long as we are all waiting for the show to get started, am I the only one who has trouble believing that Anthony Michael Hall from the Breakfast Club is the same kid from National Lampoon’s Vacation (2 year spread) and the star of “The Dead Zone” now (way too long a spread)?

  34. By Martin Neumann posted on October 11, 2006 at 9:42 am
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    Stephen – I’m only asking because it seems that those at 9Rules seem to have this unhealthy obsesssion with everything about b5media – so when they publicly attack b5 for just doing business (and not for the first time), it seems fair to ask some questions of them.

    They seem to mock b5 at every opportunity they get, yet get very defensive when questions are asked of them.

  35. By Marti posted on October 11, 2006 at 9:43 am
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    Sorry Martin, I thought it was Judd Nelson :)

  36. By Martin Neumann posted on October 11, 2006 at 9:48 am
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    That’s okay Marti – I’m easily confused with Judd. ;)

  37. By Stephen posted on October 11, 2006 at 9:52 am
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    Actually, I think you just wanted to grab a few links by stirring the pot…nothing too suprising .

  38. By Kamrul Hassan posted on October 11, 2006 at 9:56 am
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    9rules have 212 network size but page indexed only 1,618.
    vs.
    b5media have 153 network size with 70,545 page indexed

    I think 9rules very well aware of that. I think their business model if they really got one is JUNKLOG. opps! did i say that.

    Jealose? of what? there is nothing to compare. or example, if i get Jealouse of S.Irwin it will be stupidity. Jealose is fare when its almost same lvl. Building a network with posting 3 line posts :P. If i had that kind of fund even i could have make better, in fact even my kid can do better. Moronic jealousy! nothing more nothing less.

  39. By Martin Neumann posted on October 11, 2006 at 9:56 am
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    Stephen – you’ll of course notice that I haven’t linked to anything from 9rules, Mike Rundle or the Valleyswag piece. I probably would have triple the comments if I had done so – hence your argument is invalid.

  40. By Chris Cree posted on October 11, 2006 at 9:56 am
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    Whoops! Too late.

    Can I have some of that popcorn? {munch, munch, munch}

  41. By franky posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:00 am
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    Kamrul, 9rules can’t be compared to most other networks, as they don’t own the content/blogs.

    Actually you have to think of 9rules as a (link) directory. Nuttin’ more, nuttin’ less. ;)

  42. By Martin Neumann posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:08 am
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    Chris – looks like your comments got caught in moderation – Anthony Michael Hall: he was the geek kid in the film, no? Anyhow, munch down on some popcorn – I suspect we’ve had some 9rulers in here already.

    Franky – are you saying that 9Rules is a glorified link directory farm? :) Oh sorry, that’s what I’m saying. ;)

  43. By Stephen posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:11 am
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    LOL…the argument is not invalid just because you don’t link to someone else unless you assume that no one from any of these sites reads The Blog Herald, which might be the case.

    You still have not given any reason why the people from 9rules should feel compelled to share their business plan with anyone. Furthermore, you don’t even present a reason why they have to have a business plan in order to criticize other businesses in the marketplace.

    The blogosphere is made up of amateur observers in every market, so why do the people at 9rules have to legitimize their criticism of b5media by presenting a better, more thoughtfully executed business plan?

    If we assume that the people at 9rules never present a business plan and never do anything more with their network then they have done so far do they have to stop making observations and comments about other companies? If we assume that the people at 9rules were to present a thoughtfully developed business plan, would that give them the authority to criticize another company?

    No matter what the answer…this article and the related pot-stirring still is amateur because it doesn’t really add any value to the discussion, but perhaps that is the editorial mission of The Blog Herald…to write without adding value to the discussion.

  44. By Kamrul Hassan posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:15 am
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    Darren this is life :P

    Franky so 9rules isn’t a network? then why its named 9rules network?
    And if they don’t own content fine, but how about some controle, for example the recent Google spreadsheet content (2.5 lines only).

  45. By Dan Macrina posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:18 am
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    I’m with Stephen…. the guys at 9rules have been blogging for many years now (longer than all of you?) and they’ve been saying their peace since the beginning. I don’t see why they need to “stop” just because their sharp commentary hits close to home with some of the smaller and less well-known networks out there.

  46. By Jamsi posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:22 am
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    Franky, if you’re going to refer to it as a “link directory”, then you have to admit that it’s one big damn SEXY link directory. With sexy being the keyword.

    I said the word sexy way too many times in the post.

    Sexy. Quick everyone join in.

    (My secret plan to change the adsense ads on this page .. don’t tell Matt!)

  47. By Kamrul Hassan posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:26 am
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    What are your plan Jamsi, the adsense is showing me now, Freedom to Fascism.
    Adsense figure that out with my last name.:P

  48. By Marti posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:27 am
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    {{Poplifts some more kernels, as Matt is looking the other way, and slips them to Chris}}

  49. By Martin Neumann posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:33 am
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    Stephen – “no matter what the answer…” – then why bother repsonding to you, if you’ve already set your mind. And when I said witty and smarty remarks your last paragraph: Bang!

    Jamsi – we all know that sex sells and a sexy site sells sex even more and isn’t it all about sex in this sexy world. :)

  50. By Kamrul Hassan posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:34 am
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    Dan
    Longer dosent mean better. Older dosen’t mean sharper.
    If that would be than i guess company like Google woulden’t screw microsoft.

    And are you saying b5media less known?