The big news in the blogosphere is the rumor that TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington threw invited guests Valleywag and Mashable out of the joint TechCrunch / PopSugar party.
The slap-fest started off with Arrington kicking out Valleywag photographer Bonny Pierzina. He later tossed Pete Cashmore of Mashable and other social media press (aka “Arrington’s competition”), all of whom found unconventional allies in each other outside the party’s door.
Valleywag responded to the general skeeviness being displayed by attending the Roosevelt Hotel after party and sending Arrington a milkshake. This was a drink they and their waitress thought was on par with the age he had been acting all night. In typical Valleywag fashion they recorded the moment on Valleywag for all to enjoy.
Arrington responded to the return slap by Twittering that certain bloggers in his circle of colleagues and friends would be banning Valleywag. He was specifically alluding to the Hacker News, recently riding a wave of popularity since being revealed as one of Arrington’s sources of news. That connection hardly makes the supposed “ban” of Valleywag unbiased.
Not to be outdone in the slap-fest, Pete Cashmore of Mashable fame held a press conference of sorts after his ejection from the party. He gathered together his supporters in the incident, then held a brief interview with TechZune. Prior to the interview, Cashmore stated that he thought the blog world would “go crazy” over the incident.
To be a heavy hitter in the tech blogging world, you need a heavy ego to match. The size of your ego aside, ejecting your competition and various gossip columnists and other people from a party you are throwing with another company is declassé, especially when they are on the guest list and simply mingling. On the other hand, when you have two top tech blogs present plus a gossip column that thrives on this sort of story, is some or all of what happened just a game? How much of the incident was for “ratings”?
We talked about Arrington’s ego and how it affected at least one blog’s success, BlogNation, a while back. Is this another case of ego trumping common sense? Is Arrington threatened by Cashmore’s competing blog, Mashable? Does he think that Valleywag poses a greater threat to his credibility than his own actions? Or is this just a ploy for a little marketing through the “any press is good press, even bad press” model of advertising, a la Britney Spears?
The TechCrunch / PopSugar party was a true Hollywood event, complete with celebrity DJ (Perry Farrell) and plenty of star power and celebrity cameos from both the Internet and Tinsel Town. That’s no excuse to put this kind of dent in the credibility of bloggers everywhere. It’s this kind of high school shenanigans that hold bloggers back from being seen as “real” journalists, and the kind of juvenile trick that has even seasoned Hollywood agents cringing. It’s also the kind of behavior you wouldn’t expect from someone who jumped on the trite “code of conduct” bandwagon just a short while ago. Talk about an about face…