Scoble’s a shill … more details

Valleywag breathlessly reports that I was paid for doing my videos.

The problem is it isn’t true.

But, that doesn’t mean I’m in the clear either.

PodTech WAS paid for doing a video, and other work, for Intel. We should have clearly marked that as sponsored content. It was not. So, eggs and tomatoes should be flying in my direction. “Incoming!”

Now, for MY videos I was not paid. I only have one sponsor: Seagate.

Intel had no clue what I would be doing when I did my videos. They didn’t get to approve questions beforehand. They didn’t have editing ability (what’s called “prior restraint” in the business). They didn’t get to see my videos before they went up.

Now you understand why I don’t generally edit my videos. I have a conversation. You get to see that conversation. It gets boring sometimes. I have an annoying laugh I wish I could edit out sometimes. I have rough camera work sometimes. My questions suck sometimes. But you get to see it all.

PodTech paid for all my expenses to Intel, including my flight, hotel, and meals.

One thing about this. I answer all questions. If you have any questions, just leave them here and I’ll answer best as I can.

UPDATE: Dan Farber of ZDNet did some original reporting on this issue (has been contacting a bunch of us involved in ZDNet and getting us on the record).

196 thoughts on “Scoble’s a shill … more details

  1. Robert, just cop it on the chin mate and move on. A couple of weeks from now and will any of us really care about the “failure to fully disclose”? Hell no, they’ll be looking for your next clip/your next blog post – either to watch/read and enjoy, or just rip apart.

    In the end we’ve all done things we regret and I think you’re actions over the past few weeks, whilst up-and-down like a yo-yo, show that you’re human. A quality I sure admire. And to be honest, I’ve been in a few arguments where I’ve said ‘hold on, I could be wrong here’ too.

    I appreciate what you do! I don’t always like you’re content, or agree with your views but in the end I know with you, the ‘comments’ are always open. I’m sure, good or bad, you appreciate that feedback too!

  2. Robert, just cop it on the chin mate and move on. A couple of weeks from now and will any of us really care about the “failure to fully disclose”? Hell no, they’ll be looking for your next clip/your next blog post – either to watch/read and enjoy, or just rip apart.

    In the end we’ve all done things we regret and I think you’re actions over the past few weeks, whilst up-and-down like a yo-yo, show that you’re human. A quality I sure admire. And to be honest, I’ve been in a few arguments where I’ve said ‘hold on, I could be wrong here’ too.

    I appreciate what you do! I don’t always like you’re content, or agree with your views but in the end I know with you, the ‘comments’ are always open. I’m sure, good or bad, you appreciate that feedback too!

  3. As a marketer, it strikes me funny that this really will boost your readership; despite all the complaints about some sort of disingenuous action by Robert here. I’m not denigrating that either, because I’ll be one of the new readers. Is any news good news for bloggers? Don’t get me wrong, the integrity of ANY writer regardless of stature or credentials is on the line every time he puts something out; but if I were Robert (well the other Robert) I’d be wearing a shit eating grin about this. The people who respect you will still respect you, while the people who casually observe tech and valley stuff will bring you a bevy of new readership. Publicity, good or bad, the same to a blogger.

  4. As a marketer, it strikes me funny that this really will boost your readership; despite all the complaints about some sort of disingenuous action by Robert here. I’m not denigrating that either, because I’ll be one of the new readers. Is any news good news for bloggers? Don’t get me wrong, the integrity of ANY writer regardless of stature or credentials is on the line every time he puts something out; but if I were Robert (well the other Robert) I’d be wearing a shit eating grin about this. The people who respect you will still respect you, while the people who casually observe tech and valley stuff will bring you a bevy of new readership. Publicity, good or bad, the same to a blogger.

  5. Goebbels posts a comment complaining about Scoble’s latest posts.

    In related news, Pacific Ocean found to be “wet.” – Tim

  6. Goebbels posts a comment complaining about Scoble’s latest posts.

    In related news, Pacific Ocean found to be “wet.” – Tim

  7. Just a thought – could there be mileage in posting “full” and “edited” versions of your footage? Thing is, I don’t have time to watch much stuff at 40-60 minutes a time, but I would love to watch an edited highlights (with or without laugh!) at say 5-8 minutes. If I wanted more, I could step up to the full deal when merited.

    And if the price is that the edited version is biased by your viewpoint, then OK, fine, whatever. After a few years I think I know roughly where you’re coming from and I can de-bias as necessary. It’s no different from watching the BBC or whoever.

  8. Just a thought – could there be mileage in posting “full” and “edited” versions of your footage? Thing is, I don’t have time to watch much stuff at 40-60 minutes a time, but I would love to watch an edited highlights (with or without laugh!) at say 5-8 minutes. If I wanted more, I could step up to the full deal when merited.

    And if the price is that the edited version is biased by your viewpoint, then OK, fine, whatever. After a few years I think I know roughly where you’re coming from and I can de-bias as necessary. It’s no different from watching the BBC or whoever.

  9. Like you so far all thought that CEOs talk the holy truth, and especially so when presented with recording equipment? it is just that reading between the lines of data they pack for media, when and how they do it, and the history and the current balance of powers in the market, we all can interpret what could be really expected and what they think is really important to get hold of… OK, so we now know who pays, and learn slowly that everybody pays for their own promotion. Like somebody genuinely did not believe that that wasn’t the case from the vey beginning? … I mean, whoever’s doing it, we would get exactly the same output, crafted for us to get it. And Scobble is already doing it. I agree the change of style would be refreshing, but I’m more for maintaining the disinformation flow uninterrupted, for my own paranoid amusement. So nothing really changes for me…

  10. Like you so far all thought that CEOs talk the holy truth, and especially so when presented with recording equipment? it is just that reading between the lines of data they pack for media, when and how they do it, and the history and the current balance of powers in the market, we all can interpret what could be really expected and what they think is really important to get hold of… OK, so we now know who pays, and learn slowly that everybody pays for their own promotion. Like somebody genuinely did not believe that that wasn’t the case from the vey beginning? … I mean, whoever’s doing it, we would get exactly the same output, crafted for us to get it. And Scobble is already doing it. I agree the change of style would be refreshing, but I’m more for maintaining the disinformation flow uninterrupted, for my own paranoid amusement. So nothing really changes for me…

  11. Jeff S.: Clinton just proves my point. Secularists flocked to defend Clinton, whom they saw as one of their own. If George Bush seduced a young and emotionally fragile intern in the Oval office, do you think those same people would be saying, “Oh, it’s just sex” and “Everybody lies about sex.” Yeah, right.

  12. Jeff S.: Clinton just proves my point. Secularists flocked to defend Clinton, whom they saw as one of their own. If George Bush seduced a young and emotionally fragile intern in the Oval office, do you think those same people would be saying, “Oh, it’s just sex” and “Everybody lies about sex.” Yeah, right.

  13. I cannot believe the sanctimonious cries piling on here. You people need to go blog about something important, like how Louisiana is still being screwed by the Feds and may never get those levees shored up properly, or how rotten it is that there are still starving homeless people in the world.

    Getting your panties in a bunch over whether or not Robert Scoble was directly or indirectly paid by Intel is just silly. These “voices of the pure blogosphere” just blather. Quit being silly about this and consider things that are important.

    I swear, as much as I love reading tech blogs, it just drives me crazy when the ‘high horse riders’ climb up and start flogging.

  14. I cannot believe the sanctimonious cries piling on here. You people need to go blog about something important, like how Louisiana is still being screwed by the Feds and may never get those levees shored up properly, or how rotten it is that there are still starving homeless people in the world.

    Getting your panties in a bunch over whether or not Robert Scoble was directly or indirectly paid by Intel is just silly. These “voices of the pure blogosphere” just blather. Quit being silly about this and consider things that are important.

    I swear, as much as I love reading tech blogs, it just drives me crazy when the ‘high horse riders’ climb up and start flogging.

  15. My only add to this whole thread is, “boy, people really spend LOTS of calories tearing other people down instead of making new things.”

    You’re a nice enough guy, from the few times we’ve met. I applaud you for trying to bring a non-PR-flavored view on businesses. Your work has been interesting to those of us who work in and around the Enterprise technology space, and tech wonks in general.

    See you Feb 8th?

  16. My only add to this whole thread is, “boy, people really spend LOTS of calories tearing other people down instead of making new things.”

    You’re a nice enough guy, from the few times we’ve met. I applaud you for trying to bring a non-PR-flavored view on businesses. Your work has been interesting to those of us who work in and around the Enterprise technology space, and tech wonks in general.

    See you Feb 8th?

  17. Lesson to be learned from reading these here comments: When the shit hits the fan, don’t let anonymous trolls HAVE ANY CONTROL WHATSOEVER in the conversation.

    They have nothing to lose, trying to tear you a new one. Nor will they stand accountable for their actions.

    Without accountable identity, you owe them nothing. So use that delete button with impunity, I say.

  18. Lesson to be learned from reading these here comments: When the shit hits the fan, don’t let anonymous trolls HAVE ANY CONTROL WHATSOEVER in the conversation.

    They have nothing to lose, trying to tear you a new one. Nor will they stand accountable for their actions.

    Without accountable identity, you owe them nothing. So use that delete button with impunity, I say.

  19. Dawn: Um, Clinton.

    “But if a secularist does the same thing or worse, nobody cares, or else they jump to defend the guilty party.”

    A longer list of “secularists” that have been caught in the moralizing trap of “American values” can be easily found. So, I’m not sure the issue being discussed here is analogous at all, or if it is, the analogy really should be rethought.

    Robert: Disclosure is not a mole hill or a mountain. It’s a communicative pledge so that we, your public, understands the fidelity of your discourse.

    Without disclosure, even if it seems tedious or trivial, your just another voice in a sea of paid shills. I’m not accusing you of being a shill btw, since this has very little to do with you as a person (e.g. your wed site is not a diary or a personal correspondence with friends).

    I would also say that signing one’s name (or not doing so) seems like a flimsy distinction on which to respond to comments. Names are not identities, and anonymity is not a cowardice.

    Matt: what you describe is money, e.g. compensation, both in direct (free meals, travel, lodging) and indirect form (cultural cache). Disclosure is nice I guess so we know, but it’s a pretty blatant conflict of interest. A bad but useful analogy might be, “Hi, I’m writing a review of your casino, and you should let me eat for free, sleep for free, gamble for free, and an interview execs so I can tell my readers what I think of your casino.”

  20. Dawn: Um, Clinton.

    “But if a secularist does the same thing or worse, nobody cares, or else they jump to defend the guilty party.”

    A longer list of “secularists” that have been caught in the moralizing trap of “American values” can be easily found. So, I’m not sure the issue being discussed here is analogous at all, or if it is, the analogy really should be rethought.

    Robert: Disclosure is not a mole hill or a mountain. It’s a communicative pledge so that we, your public, understands the fidelity of your discourse.

    Without disclosure, even if it seems tedious or trivial, your just another voice in a sea of paid shills. I’m not accusing you of being a shill btw, since this has very little to do with you as a person (e.g. your wed site is not a diary or a personal correspondence with friends).

    I would also say that signing one’s name (or not doing so) seems like a flimsy distinction on which to respond to comments. Names are not identities, and anonymity is not a cowardice.

    Matt: what you describe is money, e.g. compensation, both in direct (free meals, travel, lodging) and indirect form (cultural cache). Disclosure is nice I guess so we know, but it’s a pretty blatant conflict of interest. A bad but useful analogy might be, “Hi, I’m writing a review of your casino, and you should let me eat for free, sleep for free, gamble for free, and an interview execs so I can tell my readers what I think of your casino.”

  21. Scoble, the timing of events would be interesting to know. Did Intel come to PodTech and propose the “professional” video (commercial) and as a result you saw an opportunity to do a longer piece on their fabrication process? Or did PodTech pitch the idea to Intel? Who make the payment proposal? PodTech or Intel?

  22. Scoble, the timing of events would be interesting to know. Did Intel come to PodTech and propose the “professional” video (commercial) and as a result you saw an opportunity to do a longer piece on their fabrication process? Or did PodTech pitch the idea to Intel? Who make the payment proposal? PodTech or Intel?

  23. btw, I just now went to valleywag for the first time to see their story. Big ads all over it. What a surprise. :-P

  24. btw, I just now went to valleywag for the first time to see their story. Big ads all over it. What a surprise. :-P

  25. This whole thing reminds me of the attacks against Christians. When a Christian gets caught in a sex scandal or whatever, everyone goes crazy. But if a secularist does the same thing or worse, nobody cares, or else they jump to defend the guilty party. Why? Because of the perceived hypocrisy and the chance for the attackers to say, “See! You think you’re better than us, but this proves you’re worse!”

    Robert, the irony is that if you continue to struggle to stay pure in this impure world of advertising-backed media, you’ll remain a huge target for vicious assault. Having standards is hard. If you treated your blog like a newspaper or a tons of other websites and blogs out there, and had advertisements all over it, nobody would care about this Intel molehill that people are trying to make into a “got you!” mountain.

    SIGH

    Hang in there.

  26. This whole thing reminds me of the attacks against Christians. When a Christian gets caught in a sex scandal or whatever, everyone goes crazy. But if a secularist does the same thing or worse, nobody cares, or else they jump to defend the guilty party. Why? Because of the perceived hypocrisy and the chance for the attackers to say, “See! You think you’re better than us, but this proves you’re worse!”

    Robert, the irony is that if you continue to struggle to stay pure in this impure world of advertising-backed media, you’ll remain a huge target for vicious assault. Having standards is hard. If you treated your blog like a newspaper or a tons of other websites and blogs out there, and had advertisements all over it, nobody would care about this Intel molehill that people are trying to make into a “got you!” mountain.

    SIGH

    Hang in there.

  27. So what if you are paid… the videos have interesting content. Eventually its up to the viewer to make up his/her mind. It doesnt make Robert Scoble any less effective…

    Keep Going !!!

  28. So what if you are paid… the videos have interesting content. Eventually its up to the viewer to make up his/her mind. It doesnt make Robert Scoble any less effective…

    Keep Going !!!

  29. Robert Dewey, I didn’t say the videos weren’t entertaining or watchable, I just said no one cares about them. Which may be hyperbole but is different from saying they are not well-made, interesting etc.

    My reason in saying that is to say that the videos themselves are not the point.

    You have a blogger asking people to remember blogging is all about by linking and reminding people where your links come from.

    Well, another facet of blogging is being 100% on the level. This is not a tech magazine, this is not “computer journalism”. It’s a blog, it should be outspoken and it should remind us what the circumstances of the content’s creation are. Robert has admitted he failed to disclose, but he’s still trying to spin this as it looks bad. I say he has lost credibility and will have to work hard to get it back.

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