You gotta give Scoble credit. Last weekend he was the mole in whack-a-mole when he accused prominent bloggers of not linking to others — most especially to him and his PodTech videos.
Not content with the bashing he took then from Jason Calacanis and others, he posted pure Bash Bait to his blog under the headline “PayPerSpeech Disclosure.” In hit, he revealed that he will soon speak at a conference where his expenses are to be reimbursed by the blogosphere’s current favorite Public Enemy #1, PayPerPost. But it would not merely be expenses the company planned to pay, but also an honorarium to be paid to Scoble’s employer, PodTech, as reimbursement for his time.
Predictably, the Blog Mob erupted into a firestorm. “Scoble Sells Out.” “Scoble Pimping PayPerPost.” “Scoble announces that he’s become a paid shill for PayPerPost.” “Robert Scoble got sucked into the PayPerPost machine.” And it’s still Saturday when the much of the blogosphere is quiet!
Even Shel Israel, the co-author of Naked Conversations with Scoble, added his two cents, saying “This will not help your reputation.”
Ultimately, PodTech’s CEO decided to reject the honorarium.
Now maybe Scoble just was looking for links to his blog, but I doubt it. Though I don’t know him personally and have exchanged just a few emails over the years with him, my impression is that he’s a straight shooter. While the tone of much, though not all, of the attacks are somewhat muted in comparison to other recent attacks of the Blog Mob, it still has the cumulative effect of hysteria, especially when reviewing the comments on Scoble’s blog.
Honoraria are nothing new. Paying expenses for speakers is nothing new. The fact that Scoble disclosed it is admirable. Frankly, I’m not even sure it was necessary. Speaking at any organization’s invitation, with or without financial reimbursement, could conceivably bias a person anyway, so the mere act itself was probably sufficient.
But to me, the most troubling thing I take from this episode is the Blog Mob will even engage in self-righteous hysteria targeted at one of the more well-known and (generally) respected members of the blogosphere. We all need to remember that we can still agree to disagree. Despite what many bloggers seem to think, for most issues there is no right or wrong answer, simply two (or more) individual’s opinions.
So let’s all give Scoble a break.