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 Dan Macrina posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:40 am
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    Is b5media less known? Yeah, ask Fast Company magazine haha

  2. By Marti posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:40 am
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    sex snark “Longer dosent mean better.”

  3. By Chris Cree posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:40 am
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    {munch, munch…} mmm… extra buttery.

  4. By Martin Neumann posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:41 am
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    Dan – “the guys at 9rules have been blogging for many years now (longer than all of you?)” Okay. So What!

    And in fact, it makes one of my theories more valid – jealousy! They’ve been blogging longer, yet these upstart b5 guys come along and reap the rewards.

  5. By Kamrul Hassan posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:48 am
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    Dan “ask fast company”?
    so 9rules have some corporate mambo jambo so what.
    The matter is where general reader goes.

    Blogging longer, yes sure still who care how long someone blog, if blog is just J-U-N-K.

    sex snark “Longer dosent mean better.â€?—that one i know :d

  6. By LonelyBlogger posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:52 am
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    Actually when blog networks have fights amongst each other, all it does it stops me from wanting to visit your blog. Talking about 9rules is not interesting to me (I want real content) and all it does is eventually alienates your audience.

    Please, please no more posts about 9rules. The whole thing between you two is completely lame and boring and frankly nobody cares outside of the people that actually work there.

    If I was you guys, I would be much more worried about the lack/quality of good blog postings on the BlogHerald recently compared to days past. It seems your readers get stuck with junk 9rules postings like this one. Get with it Blog Herald! You are way better than this.

  7. By Stephen posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:54 am
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    Martin, that was a well thought out response. Thanks. Now I have a much better understanding of exactly why 9rules has to publish their business plan before commenting on another business.

  8. By franky posted on October 11, 2006 at 11:13 am
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    Guys, I do love the directory 9rules has built up, many of my daily reads are 9rulers. SO certainly not arguing the hotness of many member blogs.
    Acually I even like Mike and Paul’s snark/arrogance/call it how you want.

    I like how Mike and Matt (Craven) often play here in the comments. I like the snark from many people and certainly don’t always shuttup either. Losing exclusivity? after Round 4 @ 9rules? Yes that was me ;)
    Server structure comment after BlogHerald getting dug… me again, but I can and do appreciate what both platforms bring me, the reader.

    Martin, didn’t Scrivs write not that long ago that 9rules is built upon sending the visitor to the sites (and then follow the 9rules leaf)? Would that make a link pyramid out of 9rules :))

    Kamrul, no they aren’t and they always have been emphatizing that they are no network, but rather a directory. They surely have [exclusivity] rules for joining members aso, but for me a network doesn’t direct traffic to external sites, but will rather try to grow and offer the content (blogs) his targetted readership is looking for.
    9rules will probably, also in communities, with (almost) every submission round.

    Jamsi, I agree… personally I would get rid of it know. Once you think something is really sexy you ask for problems :-P

  9. By franky posted on October 11, 2006 at 11:15 am
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    *9rules will grow, also…

  10. By Martin Neumann posted on October 11, 2006 at 11:16 am
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    Stephen – no problems, mate. I always love conversing with those who have already made up their minds.

    Now why is it that 9rules can comment all they want (nothing wrong with that, it’s still a free world) – well it’s not really commenting – it’s more sniping and attacking than anything else but we get shot down for asking a simple question of them.

    No one said they “have” to publish their business plans – but if they keep coming out and having a go at everyone else people naturally want to know what they’re up to.

    It’ll be good to know, because then we may get a sense of why they have been so rough on b5. What if their business plans is similar in nature to b5′s? That would explain a lot. But we don’t know, because they’ve never hinted at what they’re up to.

    Now you see where I’m coming from – knowing what they have in store (if anything at all) would go a long way to understanding all of this.

    And what if at the end of the day, it all comes down to simply jealousy – nothing wrong with that. It’ll be just good to know rather than keep on speculating.

  11. By Kamrul Hassan posted on October 11, 2006 at 11:28 am
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    Franky yes its a direcotory that pass the traffic, butif you didnt yet noticed look at their mai page it’s says big “9rules network”:P

    Iam not saying that there aren’t good blogger their. I was pointing what was the issue commenting about b5media. If you say its a directory they shoulden’t care about a network:D Yes 9rules will grow, but thats not the point.

    Blog is freedom of speech(typing), so anyone can say anything. But the ring bell aloude when every blogger is happy to see the a business model of blog finally getting success, just one single place sadness/unhappiness, why is that. Shoulden’t they consider it their success too? since they started long ago, they should have been happy that their entreprenuer are doing great.

  12. By Stephen posted on October 11, 2006 at 11:30 am
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    Martin. I have not made up my mind (really, I haven’t). I actually think that the expectations placed on 9rules are unrealistic and that people can’t accept the idea that 9rules is more about a community then a business. Perhaps it’s just a great front for Rundle’s design skills and Scrivs mouth.

    Taking a run at b5media is a pretty obvious play actually, but it does not seem like b5 and 9r are even close to being in the same market. b5 owns the blogs and content while 9 rules simple aggregates it.

    My point was really that 9r should not be obligated to tip their hand. Almost every business person I know considers their business plan a confidential document, so why should 9r be expected to behave differently. As immature as I often think scrivs is (when was the last time he wrote something worth reading?), I do think that he is smart to keep his plan under wraps.

    Do you expect blog related businesses to operate under different rules then “real world” businesses?

  13. By Hsien Lei posted on October 11, 2006 at 11:34 am
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    Christina told me there was a party here so I came to have a look. ;)

    BTW, I doubt any mommy would be letting those 9rules kids hide behind her after Mikey’s recent comments.

    So can someone direct me to the bar?

  14. By Hsien Lei posted on October 11, 2006 at 11:41 am
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    I’d like to point out that it’s not as if b5 has laid their business plan out on the table for everyone to scrutinize. 9rules has been basing their “criticism” on nothing at all. Just speculation.

    We might all be curious as to what 9rules is up to, if they don’t want to say anything, fine. But what’s the deal with stomping on people who are enjoying their blogs and creating content that clearly others enjoy reading?

  15. By Aaron Brazell posted on October 11, 2006 at 12:03 pm
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    I don’t speak for the company. In fact, the company probably just wishes I would keep my mouth shut. That’s okay. I’ll be diplomatic.

    9rules and b5media are entirely different companies for all the reasons pointed out here. I wish 9rules would tell us how they’re profitable but there certainly is no requirement to do it. I just figure they’ve figured out how to make money on good looks (of the web page that is).

    There are a lot of organizations how there that develop a sense of community and that’s cool. SitePoint was one of them, as I was part of their community for years. People come because they like the feeling. SitePoint did realize at some point that if they wanted to stay in business, if they wanted to pay the talent like Kevin Yank and others, they were going to have to figure out a way to make enough money. Enter SitePoint as a publishing company.

    9rules community is fabulous, from what I hear. Of course, so is b5′s. That’s not the point. Great. Rundle claims all his bling is paid for by b5, Lemme ask him a question as someone who has worked the beat without a salary. Is your money from 9rules or because of 9rules. I think he’s a hell of a good designer and 9rules brings him tons of exposure and places him in demand. He can credit 9rules for that but is it 9rules or clients who found him because of the exposure he gets with 9rules. I can say I make lots of money from b5media, and to a small degree that would be correct. Full truth is that I make money because of the profile I’ve built because of b5media.

    So… it’s all rather moot though. We’re two different companies. We apparently don’t like each other. I know I don’t like 9rules. They apparently don’t like b5media. Whatever. Who cares. We’re in two rather different industries.

    No big deal.

  16. By Aaron Brazell posted on October 11, 2006 at 12:06 pm
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    “Rundle claims all his bling is paid for by b5″

    Oops, I mean 9rules

  17. By Stephen posted on October 11, 2006 at 12:09 pm
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    A voice of reason…perhaps biased, but at least reasonable.

  18. By Aaron Brazell posted on October 11, 2006 at 12:22 pm
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    I still prefer our Round 1 to their Round 5, but yeah. Different strokes, different folks.

  19. By Kamrul Hassan posted on October 11, 2006 at 12:37 pm
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    Atlast aaron blast out the real fact. two different company, two different type of people conclusion, just pure dislike, a little bit of Jealousy.

  20. By HART (1-800-HART) posted on October 11, 2006 at 1:34 pm
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    Martin .. Mike reported his business plan on #95, but Tyme quickly whipped Mike into submission and they moved on with whatever you would describe that they are doing in their podcast.

    Personally .. I don’t think it’s anybody’s business what the business plan of 9rules is, or should even matter if it exists or not. My own business plan was one written on a napkin at Tim Hortons over coffee and soup a few years back and it’s still pegged on my pegboard behind me, despite that it’s a dynamic changing and always evolving thing with me. I mean – I still buy lottery tickets as part of my business plan but, not as much anymore :p

    “Live and let live” or “Blog and Let Blog” or whatever.

    I still have their RSS feeds in my Bloglines and continue to read them. True, I get frustrated when they strip my URL of my homepage when I comment or turn off the comments when the majority of the comments are negative or play ignorant and delete the comments and play like its lost in moderation .. but that’s their business and their blogs .. and I still keep their RSS feeds in my Bloglines and read them occasionally.

    /snark on

    Sure ..it’s a little shameful that they drink a lot either online or in bars and then come back online and post those hateful, vengeful, jealous or outright stupid posts or comments .. but who can truly say they have never impulsed blogged and just typed what they thought without thinking of the consequences .. Look at this post!

    /snark off

    Now .. is there any more popcorn left?

  21. By Aaron Brazell posted on October 11, 2006 at 1:38 pm
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    Hart: I think the point is that it’s a pretty regular thing. Not just impulse blogging.

  22. By Christina posted on October 11, 2006 at 2:12 pm
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    /passes Hart the popcorn ;)

  23. By HART (1-800-HART) posted on October 11, 2006 at 2:20 pm
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    I think one can be impulsive and habitual about it. I do it all the time with my own comments!

  24. By Cary posted on October 11, 2006 at 2:52 pm
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    The big problem I see in all this (and yes, it is just my very humble opinion,) is that 9r continues to take absolutely sophomoric pot-shots at b5, and b5, instead of just ignoring them, responds by pulling out this whole lame “business plan” thing.

    Look––by all means call out 9r for their pathetic attempts at stirring the pot, but don’t lower yourself to making an argument that doesn’t even make sense… lots of us blog for the sake of blogging, and people the world over are free to start “networks” that have nothing to do with money (the word isn’t exclusive to “media networks” ya’ know.)

    9r will continue to make themselves look stupid (not the bread & butter bloggers, of course, but the top boys,) and there’s no reason b5 has to lower itself to their level––attack them for being jack***es if you want, but not for “failing” to be a business!

  25. By Mattbob posted on October 11, 2006 at 4:25 pm
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    I don’t get it. 9rules questions b5 all the time (remember the pageviews debate?) and b5 answers. But now that 9rules is the one being questioned they don’t answer? Seems pretty hypocritical to me.

    b5 was able to back up their pageviews claim because they really did have that many pageviews. They had nothing to lose by proving their claim. But can 9rules back up their claim to have a business plan? I think that’s what Martin is asking here and it’s what we’re all curious to find out (why else would we be sitting here with our popcorn). If 9rules has a business plan then what do they have to lose by sharing it? Seems like a fair question to me. I guess we’ll just have to wait.

    No more popcorn for me. Thanks for the entertainment but I got to go.

  26. By Kamrul Hassan posted on October 11, 2006 at 4:41 pm
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    9r just felt down, Since they coulden’t get the bite of VC cash.:P
    thats all. And about business plan, i think someone says they are in different catagory (i wonder what catagory is that). Their business plan can’t be asked since it is supposed to be corporate secret.:P

    Well b5 don’t have to proove anything, the investment the page views, the traffic rankings all showing a clear picture, 9r just wants to make it blur.

  27. By Matt Craven posted on October 11, 2006 at 4:44 pm
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    /pours martini

  28. By Kamrul Hassan posted on October 11, 2006 at 4:47 pm
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    add some Vodka Matt.:P
    shaken!

  29. By Matt Craven posted on October 11, 2006 at 5:06 pm
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    If I was you guys, I would be much more worried about the lack/quality of good blog postings on the BlogHerald recently compared to days past. It seems your readers get stuck with junk 9rules postings like this one. Get with it Blog Herald! You are way better than this.

    I’m quite happy with the quality and quantity of posts at The Blog Herald over the last two months – and our traffic and other feedback reflects this.

    If you don’t like Martin’s columns, I might suggest a stronger stomach :)

    matt

  30. By Duncan posted on October 11, 2006 at 6:50 pm
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    Cary,
    I’d note that b5 responding with a whole “business plan” thing is incorrect. Martin doesn’t work for b5, The Blog Herald isn’t a b5 property. I did mention it in passing on the podcast in reference to some of their recent attacks, but in the context of why in the world do they (9rules) feel it necessary to attack all and sundry (it’s not exclusively b5 either as a point of reference) when there is some question as to why they are spending more time attacking others than looking after their own backyard, which I believe is a valid question. We don’t as a policy attack others (9rules included) in what we do daily, indeed I’d say we’ve got a great relationship with 98% of other people and companies working in this field. I was asked a question in the podcast, and I did try and respond to it, but please be clear b5 isn’t making a huge issue out of this (indeed b5 has no comment :-) ), it was simply me responding to a question asked, and the business model point came up in context with the answer. All in all at the end of the day I couldn’t personally care less either what their business plan is, if they indeed even have one. I’m focused on building my own company and working with some brilliant people, it’s a lesson 9rules should learn :-)

  31. By Cary posted on October 11, 2006 at 8:10 pm
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    Thanks for the clarification Duncan. Hopefully I made it clear that I honestly believe you guys (and ladies) have a very legitimate gripe about these continual and fairly inane attacks.

    If you doubt my sincerity, you should see what I left on Rundle’s blog ; )

    That is, if he didn’t delete it…

  32. By colbert low posted on October 11, 2006 at 8:17 pm
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    I’m so immune to 9rules flak. I got a lot some months back and I just have no time to listen to some kids telling me what life is all about when I’ve had more porridge than they’ve had rice. That’s an age old Chinese saying and still persists in this age and time…I’m going to take some much needed rest now and carry on with my life.

  33. By Martin Neumann posted on October 11, 2006 at 8:50 pm
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    Duncan – Ladies and gentlemen, the very diplomatic Duncan Riley :-)

    And yes, I am totally unconflicted here. I don’t have anything to do with b5media and nothing to do with 9rules. The Blog Herald also is not aligned with either one. Therefore this is an independent piece.

    I’m writing a personal opinion column – remember that, a COLUMN.

    LonelyBlogger – one persons junk is another one’s treasure and the other way around. You should know that. :)

    Hsien, you’re spot on – “We might all be curious as to what 9rules is up to, if they don’t want to say anything, fine. But what’s the deal with stomping on people who are enjoying their blogs and creating content that clearly others enjoy reading?”

    MATTBOB – exactly!

    Okay, business plans/model … whatever. The fact is that 9rules have long attacked b5 and others (but mainly b5) for reasons unknown. Why? And remember Work at Home Mums (WAHM) – Rundle thinks very little of you. I just don’t get we’re they’re coming from or what their agenda is. It’s either bitterness, jealousy or … I Just Don’t Know.

    Forget business plans. What about a business model? No one is asking for their deep dark secrets – their 200 page business plan or some scribbled rubbish on a napkin at 2am in a nightclub. But there’s got to be more behind these attacks.

    With blog networks (or communities) we’re not talking about 1001 potential business models. There aren’t that many models. Are we talking advertising, sponsorships, product/retail, design firm… It’ll just put it all into perspective knowing where they’re coming from as they go around rubbishing everybody.

    A commenter said… “Perhaps it’s just a great front for Rundle’s design skills and Scrivs mouth.”

    If that’s so, then so be it but why not just say so – it’s not a bad business model.

    Matt – double scotch for me thanks – straight up, no rocks :-)

  34. By Mattbob posted on October 11, 2006 at 9:54 pm
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    “The fact is that 9rules have long attacked b5 and others (but mainly b5) for reasons unknown”

    The fact is you’ve long attacked 9rules for reasons unknown too. Like I said, I think this is a fair question but it doesn’t mean 9rules has to answer. How long was it before Google started AdSense? I don’t know my Google history all that well but I’m guessing It took awhile for them to make some real money, now they’re everywhere. I’m not saying 9rules is starting an AdSense it’s just an example.

    85 comments so far without any of the 9rules folks saying a word. Wow! They must be doing something right. Sorry to spoil your rally but I just don’t see the point anymore.

    My suggestion: Sit back and enjoy the show. If 9rules is making you curious, just remember, curiousity killed the cat.

  35. By Martin Neumann posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:16 pm
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    MattBob – I don’t get it. Your initial comment was one thing and then this one another. ???

    I don’t recall myself attacking 9rules for too long – or are you just generalizing? And if I have I can guarantee it’s for a reason. But enlighten me on the times I’ve attacked them and I’ll give you a reason.

    Nothing wrong with being curious, mate – you even said you were curious yourself in your previous comment.

  36. By Matt Craven posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:39 pm
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    Matt – double scotch for me thanks – straight up, no rocks :-)

    Laphoraig?

    Matt

  37. By Matt Craven posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:40 pm
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    The Blog Herald also is not aligned with either one. Therefore this is an independent piece.

    Not to mention that I do not pre-approve or edit Martin’s piece – much to the chagrin of his targets ;-)

    Matt

  38. By Mattbob posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:43 pm
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    All I said in my first comment was that it seemed hypocritical of them (which I still think) and that it was a fair question (which I still think). I never said they had to tell us their business plan all I said was “I guess we’ll just have to wait.” which is what my suggestions was in my second comment.

    How was my first comment one thing and my second another? My first comment wasn’t to attack 9rules and jump on your bandwagon and my second wasn’t to jump on the 9rules bandwagon. In both I was just proving a point.

  39. By Martin Neumann posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:48 pm
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    Matt – Yep, Laphoraig will do – but I only drink the 15 years+ stuff. ;)

    And the day you pre-approve / edit my pieces is the day I’m outta here… ;)

  40. By Matt Craven posted on October 11, 2006 at 10:54 pm
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    I’m on my own bandwagon – that seems to be an effective course to take

  41. By Jessica Doyle posted on October 12, 2006 at 5:51 am
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    200 comments eh? Here is number 93.

    *drinking ice tea and puffing on a smokable*

    As an artist one rule I was taught is; to break the rules once you master them. If one draws inside the lines too long and doesn’t go outside, one will find they have no more room to draw inside : ( Come out and play already!

    I have no idea why i am here at 3:43AM in the morning. I like the number 93 though ;)

  42. By Jamsi posted on October 12, 2006 at 6:39 am
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    Guys .. I ran outta popcorn. Looks like 9rules snuck out the backdoor, quick Matt, tempt them back with free blog herald t-shirts.

  43. By David Krug posted on October 12, 2006 at 7:43 am
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    Hmm. If I’m not mistaken 9rules turned down VC Money.

    Like Aaron said different folks. strokes. and what not.

  44. By Martin Neumann posted on October 12, 2006 at 8:05 am
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    Hey Krugster – you’re back! We’re you been – hijinking it in Tijuana. ;)

    Jamsi – I never really expected them to respond … typical bullies: face up to them and they’re usually end up being cowards… Oh I shoudn’t have said that, I’ll have the quality police on my back here again saying what a disgrace The Blog Herald has become … blah, blah.

    Screw em: the head honchos of 9Rules are a bunch of silly arse pussies – if you listen to their podcast you quickly realise they’re just a bunch of giggling kids laughing at their naughty jokes.

    I’m moving on and will stop kicking this dead horse any longer.

    Back to normal transmission, Matt :)

  45. By David Krug posted on October 12, 2006 at 10:40 am
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    Was in a Mexican Prison. Go read the blog Martin.

  46. multi-facetuous post at Am I Famous Now?October 12, 2006 at 2:46 pm
  47. By Jamsi posted on October 12, 2006 at 8:57 pm
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    Dave, don’t post comments with prblogging.com – it doesn’t work.
    Celebritycowboy.com on the otherhand ..

  48. The Blog Columnist » The Week that Was: Mike, Duncan, The Blog Herald, b5 and 9rulesOctober 12, 2006 at 10:39 pm
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  50. 9rules sucks at Kambiz Kamrani’s BlogOctober 13, 2006 at 1:13 am