I'm bemused by the latest blogging 'controversy' to dominate Techmeme. Normally I don't blog about these things, but this one has me as a central character - although I wasn't mentioned in the Valleywag piece that started it all. The Silicon Valley gossip blog has a headline reading 'Microsoft pays star writers to recite slogan', referring to this FM campaign.
Pic: Dave Winer
I had noticed the Valleywag piece when it first sneaked onto Techmeme, as one of the links near the bottom of the page. At that time I shrugged it off, thinking it was a bit of a non-issue - a) because these ads have been running for months (so what's new?); b) because FM's 'star writers' were not paid to endorse Microsoft products, just to write something with the phrase "people ready" in it. So I went about my Saturday business, then went out for dinner and watched Ocean's 13. When I got back, I discovered an even more theatric drama was being played out on Techmeme and in my inbox amongst the FM team and authors.
Om Malik seems to have taken this to heart and requested the ads be pulled, but Mike Arrington (who along with John Battelle has been a regular target of Valleywag) gives a scathing response. As for me - not a Valley insider worthy of gossip, but nevertheless one of the 'star writers' in question - I think it's a storm in a teacup. And I'm disappointed the ads have been pulled!
Anyway, judge for yourself. Here is my 'People Ready' text. What do you think about all this?