Now that Lee Gomes has taken the WBS (World Blogging Slugfest) belt away from Chris Anderson in convincing fashion (it’s really not about whether the book moved up the top seller list) we have another heavyweight bout brewing.
Mike Arrington, fresh from his all too brief stint as the blog rage eradicator, and having turned in his badge to rejoin the Gillmor Gang (hopefully with Nick Carr) at the behest of the most enraged of all bloggers (more on that below), takes on Nick Douglas of Valleywag fame over some emails Nick Douglas allegedly sent around inquiring if Mike is an investor in some startups, presumably to see if Mike has any secret investments in the companies he writes about.
I don’t know Mike, and I have been critical in the past of what I perceived at the time as a rock star attitude. But I have read enough of his posts to be very surprised if he invested in a company and then wrote about it without disclosing the investment. For one thing, Mike strikes me as an honest guy who, at least most of the time, can still remember what life was like before TechCrunch. I also know that Mike is an attorney – and I know that for him to do something like that would put his law license at risk. Whether he needs it to make a living or not, he probably isn’t keen on having it publicly jerked away from him.
So I would put the odds of Mike investing in a company and then writing about it without disclosing that fact at about zero.
And I suspect that Nick Douglas knows this as well. Which means that he either wrote these emails just to stir the pot a little (one of the many things to love about Valleywag is that it occasionally makes great fun of the so-called blogging elite) or for some other reason.
It’s the possibility of another reason that I find interesting.
Mike believes that Nick may be taking some preemptive shots in the face of greater competition from the TechCrunch family of blogs. Mike seems pretty angry about the whole thing and even tosses out the L-word (libel).
But there could be more to it. Nick told me tonight that Steve Gillmor called him and “advised” him to stop writing about Mike. Nick tells me that when he told Steve he was going to continue to look into these TechCrunch issues, Steve got huffy and ended the conversation by telling Nick he wouldn’t talk to him anymore.
Note to Mike: As stated, I don’t believe for a second that you secretly invested in any companies. But you can certainly find a better ambassador than your once and future podcast mate, Steve Gillmor.
This could get very interesting.
Update: Nick posts some thoughts at Valleywag.