Be a sponsor and TechCrunch changes their tune

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At Under The Radar a few months ago, Mike Arrington was one of the judges for a panel on web-based productivity apps. One of the companies that presented was Zoho, a company that’s building web office apps using OpenOffice.org as the backend. Arrington was particularly hostile toward Zoho and made it rather clear he didn’t like them. From my notes on the session...

Arrington: You’re perceived as second on everything. Features seem to be copies of everyone else. And PR efforts are too aggressive. Zoho: Not really. Arrington: You’ve gotten in fights on my blog comments with 37signals and Chillis. Zoho: they apologized. They’re copying us.

So imagine my surprise today when TechCrunch carried a blog entry thanking their current sponsors and making nice about all of them—including Zoho.

Zoho has quietly put together one of the best and one of the fastest Ajax office suites.

It seems that all it takes to go from "features seem to be copies of everyone else" to "best and fastest" is a little cash.

Michael Arrington
June 20, 2006 12:13 PM

Adam, Hey, we know each other. Why not give me a call and at least ask my opinion before writing? The fact is that, in my opinion, zoho has done a lot in the last six months. They are a sponsor because I now like the product, not the other way around. And I'm dead serious about that. There are other sponsors that I could have taken, but I want to promote startups when I can. Now if this is mostly about tagyu, just ping me (again) and we'll take a look. I know we've missed writing about it repeatedly. Mike

Gen Kanai
June 21, 2006 3:09 AM

Mike, if your stance on Zoho has changed, you need to be up front with your readers on this issue, lest they make assumptions. There's no way Adam could have known that your opinion had changed unless you shared that with us. Plus, as I'm sure you know, it's untenable to try to contact each/every person/company/org. one might be blogging about.

Sridhar Vembu
June 21, 2006 8:05 AM

Adam: I want to set the record straight here. We at Zoho approached Mike several months ago and he did not accept our sponsorship. More recently, he took a good look at our applications, and he liked what he saw. He felt we have come a long way. He was going to write about us. Once we proposed to sponsor TechCrunch, it was understood that it would actually lower our probability of being written about, to avoid precisely this kind of criticism. Mike is doing his job, and we at Zoho are proud to be sponsors of TechCrunch. Sometimes the truth may be hard to believe, but this is all there is to it. Now, have you looked at Zoho lately? I am sure you will agree we have come pretty far in the past few months, and more services are coming soon. Sridhar Vembu

Adam Kalsey
June 21, 2006 12:32 PM

Mike, while we've met, I wouldn't characterize it as we know each other. We spent a good 15 minutes standing next to each other at the UTR cocktail party in March and neither of us bothered to even say hello. You imply that I've got your phone number and could have given you a call. Perhaps I could have Skyped you (like you're ever online and available) or emailed you, but I wouldn't even know how to go about calling you. I don't take issue with you taking on Zoho as a sponsor, but why do you feel the need to blog about each sponsor and say nice things about them? You just run the risk of compromizing your principals. Making nice to Zoho after being just plain compative with them two months ago is odd. So is taking money from (and saying nice things about) search engine spammers. See http://www.valleywag.com/tech/michael-arrington/google-spammers-fund-techcrunch-182402.php Consumer Reports doesn't take advertising precisely to avoid these sorts of conflicts of interest. It's hard to provide objective reviews when you're taking money from the companies you review. It's even harder to appear subjective.

Shane
June 21, 2006 7:55 PM

Rodney King would be ashamed, but anyway "can't we all just get along"

Anthony Jacobs
August 27, 2006 9:58 AM

Someone please tell me the reason for bloging and does'nt it expose you and start gossip

dLook
June 2, 2007 8:50 PM

Adam For what it's worth, I would take a close look at Techcrunch and see what it is that makes it so popular. For instance the only reason I have even heard of your site is that it features on mahalo under "Techcrunch Bashing". Still, I suppose that the old saying "any publicity is good publicity" might be something you subscribe to.

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