VentureBeat posted an article that is drawing a lot of criticism for being blatant self promotion. The guest post by Auren Hoffman is a rant of why the author dislikes evite. Many people share the belief that evite's service isn't up to par. However, the post's criticism of slow servers and poor user profiles seems weak, but more importantly it fails to mention that Mr. Hoffman is an investor in a new evite competitor until the very end when he plugs his investment as a possible solution. Furthermore, his description of why his investment might be a plausible alternative is merely his statement of "I love this site." There is nothing wrong with Mr. Hoffman explaining why he made his investment, but the post should have been titled as such, rather than "Why I hate Evite."
This brings up the question of how standards of journalistic integrity apply to blog media sources. It is clear to me that this post would not have met journalistic integrity standards for a traditional media source like the San Jose Mercury News. On the other hand, I have no problem plugging a friend's company on this my personal blog. If I like a service or want to help a friend out, that is my business. However, I do expect objectivity from traditional media sources. Yet, do blog media brands like VentureBeat, TechCrunch, GigaOm and SiliconValleyWatcher represent a new middle ground?
One great aspect of the blogsphere is that there doesn't have to be a definitive answer to this. Matt Marshall can have one take and Michael Arrington can have another. Personally, I think its great that Blog media sources have been able to adopt the informal and conversational nature of blogs but I do expect them to uphold the same standards of journalistic integrity as traditional media.
I think Matt Marshall is an excellent reporter. He did a great job at the Merc and I've read almost every article he's written for SiliconBeat and VentureBeat this year. Mr. Marshall has enough credibility with me that I can get over any single incident. That said, I have no intention of continuing to read VentureBeat if he does not continue to up hold the same standards of journalistic integrity on VentureBeat that he maintained at the Merc.
Here is what others are saying about the article:
Paul Kedrosky - The Trouble with Investor Bloggers
ValleyWag - How Not to Publish a Guest Post
The Digital Taco Stand - Tainted Commentary?
Matt Ingram - The Honeymoon Seems to be Over, Matt
After a brief Technorati search, I wasn't able to find any positive links to the article, but if anyone else finds them please let me know.