James Governor's Monkchips

A Note to Steve Rubel’s eyebrow

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Nick blogs about Steve Rubel noticing that ZDNET pays its contributors. Andy Lark had some choice words. I am about to become a ZDNet contributor, and you know what? I could care less whether they call it a blog, a slog, a flog, or a magic carpet. I will continue to make disclaimers about who pays the bills.

The notion of being schooled by someone at Edelman on the potential for astro-turfing though is the kind of sweet irony that keeps me going in life.

I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here.

Casablanca, 1942

I have noticed the blogosphere tends to give Edelman the benefit of the doubt – mostly I suspect because they hired Rubel. Hugh sucked it up when Richard Edelman gave him some love. Evidently Scoble too. But you really can’t work at the company that astro-turfs for Walmart and and then come at questions of conflict of interest daisyfresh, even if your argument is well measured and to the point.

RedMonk has faced its own occasional accusations about conflicts of interest and will surely continue to do so. But we make disclaimers about who pays us, just as Steve advises (and practices on his blog). That is the bottom line, but until every story Edelman places has a similar disclaimer I will continue to be skeptical (that might be a long wait). I would like to see more evidence of Steve changing Edelman’s culture for the better, with fewer mea culpas; until then, pointing at other potential conflicts of interest will only serve to draw attention to Edelmans issues, not ZDNet’s.

As Rubel points out people like Dan Farber, David Berlind and Mary Jo Foley are pretty much unimpeachable. That is probably the bottom line. Dan isn’t going to ask shills to blog on his network.

Wow there are some really lovely pictures of raised eyebrows on flickr under a creativecommons license.

Thanks for the use of the images k-digger, ninja pixie, Josh TM and somethingmonumental

Question for my readers – Should I cut down on the number of pictures on my blog, or are you enjoying the way i am trying to break up the content?


  1. Good Content. Keep the pics flowing.. it tells a thousand words :)_

    I think the issue here is that Steve is pointing out that Zdnet is paying per pageview /hits stats. This itself ,is a new business model in emergence. Whereas the other payperpost scenario’s are based per post. You blog and you get a couple of bucks, regardless of viewpoint.

    Having said that, why are we asking eldeman to render disclosure or every story / project / post ? What is a disclosure ? Does it tell the public the information they need to know ? or is yet that they just place broiler template in every post ? What is the bar that is being raised and how high ?

    Yes, the Walmart situation was pathetic, that I’ll agree. those are the type of things that we need to know, it the blog a propped up behind or not !!

  2. Keep the pics…something I don’t generally have the patience to track down in my own posts (which are scant of late).

    Love the irony, you can’t make this stuff up. Edelman should get a harder ride as should Steve…those in glass houses should not cast stones…frankly we shouldn’t waste that much time on this though…as long as there’s disclosure its up to the reader to filter what’s what on their own. But seriously, pay per click? How is that any different than someone who’s running Google AdWords…isn’t that person also inclined to write something controversial in order to generate clicks?

    Frankly I find this whole meme irritating.

  3. 5 years of blogging later, I’m still uncertain about how the rules of marketing have changed post-Cluetrain.

  4. I took Rubel out of my RSS reader not long after he said something like: ‘My blog or my employer? No contest, employer wins.’ Smacked of hypocrisy.

    I don’t know what all the fuss is about. ZDN is trying new business models. Dan’s a great guiy but he’s gotta trade for his masters and this is one way to do it without incurring fixed costs.

    But it begs the question: Do you skew to what the audience wants and so end up in ‘lowest common denominator’ land or do you push content boundaries, rewarding those who are taking big risks in devoting their time to things that may not be immediately obvious but which carry value over the long term?

    We’re miles off getting business models that are fair to all concerned. Click through is one of many possible new media business models. None of which are fully formed. Most of which are not rewarding authors.

  5. Isn’t rich media going to kill the pageview in a matter of months anyway? Glad I work for a video company now 🙂 Love the pics here btw.

  6. […] A Note to Steve Rubel’s eyebrow – James Governor’s MonkchipsJan 17, 2007 … But we make disclaimers about who pays us, just as Steve advises (and practices on his blog). That is the bottom line, but until every story … […]

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