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Blog Millionaire Teaches How Not To Be An A-lister

299409666_3169dcd93a.jpgJason Calacanis, the blogger who founded the dozens-strong Weblogs Inc. network, just gave the world a horrible plan for becoming an A-list blogger.

While rebutting a lame claim that “blue-collar bloggers” can’t profit from their blogs without whoring out to paid review services like PayPerPost, Jason claims anyone could become an A-lister in three months. Step two on that get-big-quick scheme is “Go to 2-3 events or conferences a week.” Now that is a classist insult on the level of “let them eat cake.” That kind of event schedule is for power networkers, not good bloggers. Step four is basically “write about tech.” Actually, that’s a way to get ignored by the tech crowd and make everyone else scared or bored.

Look, some of the top “A-listers” that everyone reads are the four writers at Boing Boing. They have their own lives, write about anything they want, and when they cover tech it’s on their own terms. And they get over ten times the traffic that media critic and supposed A-list blogger Jeff Jarvis gets. They also dwarf former Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble, who now only gets attention when he complains about not getting attention.

Who are the hottest videobloggers? Are they tech pundits discussing Intel and gadgets on the Podtech network with Calacanis and Scoble? No, they’re a ninja advice columnist and a comedian with a duck fetish.

In other words, what Calacanis calls the A-list is really the C-list. Why does he delude himself? Maybe because he’s part of that C-list; maybe because his vision really is that small. Or maybe Calacanis wants the whole world of blogging to be reduced to bitter little men arguing about the future of RSS and HD-TV.

Photo: Rex Hammock

N.Y. Times to Blogebrity: You So Lazy; Blogebrity to N.Y. Times: Lazy? Did You Read Your Article?

From Dan Mitchell in the N.Y. Times:

In the blogosphere, the top 10 moments of 2006 tend to involve navel gazing. Kyle Bunch of offered his list of the “Top 10 Blogebrities of 2006″ to They included Jason Calacanis, the founder of Weblogs, and Kevin Rose, the founder of At No. 1: Ze Frank, whose daily videos take on subjects ranging from trade sanctions on North Korea to which fresh fruits are best for wearing on your fingers (

We should totally resist this urge, but we can’t….to Monsieur Mitchell, we can’t help but ask — is it your assertion that certain types of end of year lists are lazier than others, depending on the subject matter’s importance or relevance to you? For that matter, what’s lazier — the proverbial top x of 2006 list, or regurgitating several of those dreaded lists in a slow news week mashup piece?

All the same, thanks for the linkage, Danny Boy. To think, out of literally thousands of year-end lists, that we’d wind up catching your eye…to borrow from the parlance of Carly Simon, it’s the stuff that dreams are made of.

The Lazy Top 10 Anything [N.Y. Times]

The Fallout from Calacanis’s Unemployment

From The Zero Boss:

Please, someone give Jason Calacanis a job, or else he’s gonna do nothing but blog his press clippings all day. That’s only a degree of pathetic away from a supermodel blogging about what she threw up for dinner. (And yes, Jason, I’m going to take full advantage of the fact that you no longer sign my wife’s paycheck. Fasten your seat belt, kid.)

Ditto that. At this rate, he’s going to (a) make us violently ill and/or (b) run out of press clippings before Thanksgiving.

Calacanis: Get A Job, You Bum! [The Zero Boss]
Now that I’m unemployed… []

Calacanis Bids Adieu to AOL


Jason Calacanis has confirmed the report from Techcrunch yesterday — he will be exiting AOL. Denton predicts Jason’s next stop will be a new podcasting or wiki venture, judging by Calacanis’s own blogtalk.

Meanwhile back at AOL, some people aren’t too sad to see Jason go.

Jason Calacanis Says Adios to AOL [Techcrunch]
Blog Entrepreneur Leaves AOL [N.Y. Times]
Jason Calacanis, AOL executive, 2005-2006 [Valleywag]
Yes, it’s true…i’m leaving AOL []
Bye, Jason [UltraNormal]
Cartoon: Hugh MacLeod, gapingvoid

Colbert Stealing From Blogosphere (Again)?

colbert1.jpgStephen Colbert’s been put on notice by the folks at Jalopnik.

The Gawker Media automotive title is accusing Colbert of using video THEY coaxed out of GM officials on the air, and then giving them no credit.

You might remember that a month or so back, Ze Frank and a number of blogs accused Colbert of repurposing his Nobel Prize donut joke — although in fairness, the joke did seem obvious enough that a paid comedy writing staff could have conceivably come up with it first/as well.

This second allegation of Colbert treating the blogosphere like much of the blogosphere treats “big” media — borrowing content without proper attribution — may have some merit, seeing as it’s an actual media clip (that Jalopnik seemed to have as an exclusive), and not just a somewhat obvious joke.

However, before we work ourselves into a Creative Commonsy lather, we can’t help but think Colbert’s people may have just contacted GM to get the video themselves. Let’s face it — if the Jalopnik could coax video out of the General Motors’ PR folks, chances are Colbert & Co. wouldn’t have too much trouble getting the same video.

Whatever the case, best of luck to the Jalopnik folks on getting a Colbert Report mention. If his audience is active enough to help him beat Chuck Norris in an online vote, we’re betting they’ll bring some pretty significant traffic. Maybe even enough to help them catch their Weblogs, Inc. nemesis Autoblog.

On Notice! Stephen Colbert Steals Rightfully Stolen Video, Jalopnik Demands An Apology [Jalopnik]

All the Cool Kids Are Doing It: Cartoon Mascots

Starting a new regular (e.g. once every six months) feature today — you’re always asking for tips on how to make the A-list, well we’re going to start calling them out as we see them. Trendspotting for the A-list, if you will. And in case you’re slow on the uptake, we’re calling it All the Cool Kids Are Doing It.

Today’s virgin entry is Cartoon Mascots for regular features on your blog. Extra points for cartoons that look exactly like the Christoph Niemann-drawn mascot for Randy Cohen’s The Ethicist column from the New York Times.


UPDATE: Fred Wilson chimes in, questioning the ethics of using a graphic that’s almost identical to that of the very column you’re aping.

The Ethicist: What Friends Owe [N.Y. Times]
The Unethicist: I’ll Give You Something to Cry About [Gawker]
The (Calacanis) Ethicist: Can I rip my Netflix DVD to my laptop/iPod for a flight? []
Reader Question: How To Get My State To Follow California? [Treehugger]
My Calacanis Ethicist Submittal [A VC]

JargonWatch: Diggism

Diggism: when the leader of a company attempts to more closely associate his dated, older brand with the new hotness by creating an awkward new term repurposing the title of earlier press coverage and promoting it on his own blog.

JargonWatch: DiggScape []

This Week in Blogland: Thai Leftovers Edition

Here’s a recap of the stuff we missed when we were too busy with Jason Calacanis, Stereogum hacking, new-look 9rules, Curt Schilling, and Ryan Adams:

denton-cover-sm.jpgGawker and Yahoo got a divorce. Master of P.R. Nick Denton managed to hint at Yahoo being all scared of little ol’ Nick and Valleywag playing some part in the proceedings, but cmon — you really think Y! would have let V-wag stand between it and Gawker-generated revenue, had their been any? Regardless, the good news is the split is amicable, and the custody battle over Krucoff is expected to remain mostly civil. Mostly.

If you were hiding in a hole this week, you probably missed Kevin Smith’s MySpace diatribe directed at film critic Joel Siegel. If you’re smart, you’ll stay in that same hole until Clerks 2 has left theatres.

Steve Jobs started blogging. Well, not really…but this is far more entertaining than what the real thing would be, so just go with it.

Have you heard of the 1% rule yet? Think of it like the interesting but kinda kooky uncle of The Long Tail. Just don’t ask us what that means.

And finally, Deadspin’s Will Leitch proves that he’s the most talented member of the Gawker Media stable.

J-Cal’s Big Digg


Slightly belated congratulations go out to Jason Calacanis, who managed to break Rocketboom’s fortnight-long chokehold on blog chatter this week with his indecent proposal to Digg, Reddit, Newsvine and Flickr powerusers — $1,000 a month to keep doing what they’re doing on the recently-relaunched

Not only did Calacanis manage to get people to talk at length about something other than Amanda and Andrew, as of this morning, Calacanis claims the initiative has been quite fruitful:

Well over 50 folks from social bookmarking sites have emailed me already. Many of them are in the top 10-20 on the major services. So, while the elite Web 2.0 mafia may not like the concept of paying top contributors, the contributors certainly like the idea!

We don’t want to jump the gun (or disagree with Web 2.0 overlord Michael Arrington), but Calacanis might just be on to something. Crazy as it sounds, some people out there really DO like earning real cash, and not just Web 2.0 karma points and/or Flooz. Best of all (for Jason), if this all catches on, he gets to paint himself as a hero to many, akin to the union leaders of the 20th century — fighting for the hard-working geek masses, helping them earn a decent day’s pay for their time on the content assembly line.

Of course, the fact that Jason is doing this now–after Netscape has been live for a month–does reek of desperation just a bit, as Arrington pointed out. But when was the last time that smell WASN’T eminating from AOL?

Why the Web 2.0 and media elite are so upset about paying amateurs (or “I’m sorry, does Mike Arrington work for free?”) []
Huge Red Flag at Netscape [TechCrunch]
Paying the top DIGG/REDDIT/Flickr/Newsvine users (or “$1,000 a month for doing what you’re already doing.”) []
The Calacanis Circus [bLaugh]

Rocketbust: Day 2

Is it only day 2 of this Congdon/Baron vlogging saga? We’re already eager for some sort of a conclusion, so we can go back to mocking the likes of Denton & Calacanis. After one day on the case, we’re quite certain — sorting thru blogpost half-truths and supposedly “transparent” video disclosures is an activity worthy of the inner rings of hell.

Naturally, where we fail, our little brother succeeds: the always-focused Nick has got a nice recap of the latest in the Rocketfight.

V-wag’s roundup includes the response we all knew was coming — the open letter from Calacanis offering Ms. Congdon a job. Although it did take him 6+ hours to get it up there, which begs the question — is AOL execudom making J-Cal slip? Keep in mind, the man was once blogging’s #1 ambulance chaser — guaranteed to arrive first on the scene for any blog firing.

More on the entire Rocketboom blow-out to come, while we pray for a merciful end to this story (e.g. Andrew hiring a new vlogging pixie, Amanda moving on to whatever project she’ll work on next) very, very soon.

CAUGHT ON TAPE: Calacanis and Denton together in NYC!

For us, this is a bit like watching Lohan and Jessica Simpson walking down the street side-by-side:


The big difference — in the world of the blogebrity, “paparazzi” shots are submitted by your own employee.

Denton high on Netscape (or something like that)

As we read through this report on the Calacanis takeover of Netscape today, one quote jumped out at us:

“Netscape has some residual credibility among the geeks,” says Nick Denton, the head of Valleywag’s parent Gawker Media, whose other blogs include Gawker, Defamer and Wonkette.

For those of you who don’t speak “blog magnate”, a quick translation — here “residual credibility” means “they should remember the name (possibly the logo as well), and probably aren’t violently allergic to it.”

Netscape Is Back [TheStreet]

Liners: Nary a nipslip as far as the eye can see

Further evidence that the life of an A-lister is just better than yours — Dr. Tobias Funke/Ronnie Dobbs himself, David Cross, shows up at Jessica Coen’s birthday.

Peter Rojas launched a personal blog, complete with a delicious URL ( I guess he finally “gets” this whole blogging thing.

Pirillo continued his Googlefast past the midway point. In other news, Ted Ferguson, Bud Light Daredevil just successfully stayed 2 minutes past 5pm — ON A FRIDAY!

After an earlier sale got derailed, the Blog Herald has officially been sold to BlogMedia, Inc. (yes, they actually have a .biz URL). Duncan Riley — you’re free of the curse. No more blogging about blogging….congrats, you lucky bastard.

And finally, Amanda Congdon beware — you’ve got some new competition on the Pod. Classic School House Rock! videos are now available on iTunes. (via Rubel)

Blog posts are not blogs, people

Sorry, rant coming…

Unless someone held a meeting without me, BLOGS = SITES. On these websites we call blogs, we make blog posts, blog entries, post stories, log posts, ramble, scribble, or just about anything….

officepirates-blog.gifWe do not, however, publish blogs on our blogs. I make this point today b/c of the Office Pirates launch, brought to us by TimeWarner. On the shiny new Office Pirates site, individual blog posts are referred to as ‘Today’s Blog’, and the archive of old posts is called All Blogs.

See where this starts to get confusing?

To the Office Pirates team at TimeWarner…I like what you’re trying to do with the site. I always wondered what would happen if Something Awful relaunched on a million-dollar budget. But in your attempts to cash in on some blogging cool, can you at least try to follow the existing lexicon? Let’s try not to complicate this already crazy world of blogging, RSS, podcasting, vodcasting, vlogging, moblogging, etc. any further.

Makes me think somebody needs a Blogging 101 session from their corporate cousin Calacanis.

Liners: For Dummies

Zillow and its database of 60,000,000 American home values (complete with Google Maps-style satellite photos) goes live, giving bloggers a brand new privacy invasion tool. They must be on to something because the site’s currently down, its servers desperately gasping for oxygen. In the meantime, you’ll have to settle for an aerial tour of Mexico City, sans property values (but with extra smog).

In other “launched but quickly got overloaded” news, the much-anticipated iTunes-alternative, Songbird, released its first beta today. Thanks to minute-it-launched mentions from the likes of Boing Boing (complete with a rare BB interview), Slashdot, and Digg, you’ll have to stick to the mirrors if you want to play the role of early adopter on this one.

Shocking news from Gizmodo about the guy who spent $175,000 turning his apartment into a replica of the Star Trek Voyager bridge–he went bankrupt. If you’re feeling charitible, perhaps you can hire his company to turn your condo into a Deep Space Nine vodcast set.

Yahoo’s Amr Awadallah just can’t help but keep kicking Google, this time for pushing more organic results below the fold. Can we just schedule the Amr v. Matt Cutts playground brawl and get it over with?

Calacanis deals with overzealous IP enforcement by the people who bring you the “For Dummies” line of books. In short, they don’t want Jason’s (or anyone else’s) blogs using “for Dummies” in the title without proper attribution language (FOR DUMMIES┬« is a registered trademark of Wiley Publishing, Inc.). No joke here, the Dummies people took care of that for us.

The San Francisco Chronicle gets all warm and fuzzy with our Editor Emeritus, while he gets all warm and fuzzy with his 13 new “clothing optional” roommates.

And finally, we’re happy to announce some new contributors here at Blogebrity. First up is 2006 Bloggie Nominee Natalie D from Forbidden Style, who will provide a welcome break from my intermittent diatribes and metacoverage.

Look for her first contributions soon, and do be good to her when she arrives. We’re trying to class this joint up already.