How To Defend Your Reputation

Mike Arrington has a timely post up today titled Reputation Is Dead: It's Time To Overlook Our Indiscretions. He says:

Trying to control, or even manage, your online reputation is becoming
increasingly difficult. And much like the fight by big labels against
the illegal sharing of music, it will soon become pointless to even try.

It's a good post and a really good discussion to be having right now. Go read the post.

I agree that controlling your online reputation is becoming increasingly difficult. But I do not think it is pointless. Reputation is everything and there is a way to fight back. I talked about it in a post a few weeks ago called Own Your Online Brand.

I care deeply about my reputation and have defended it vigorously when others have said things about me that are untrue. But you can go one step further with social media. You can establish your reputation and others will stand up for you as well.

Here's an exchange on Hacker News that happened a few weeks ago.

Hacker news convo

This person fnid2 has an axe to grind about me and has been doing it frequently at Hacker News. You'll see that Mark Essel, an active member of this community, took the time to come to my defense.

So while I agree 100% with Mike that defending your reputation is getting increasingly difficult because of social media, I also believe that social media is the key to defending it and maintaining it. If you want to hear more of my thoughts on this topic, read the Own Your Online Brand post where I explain in more detail.

Enhanced by Zemanta
#Web/Tech#Weblogs

Comments (Archived):

  1. msuster

    Fred, I agree this is an important topic and it is worth defending your reputation. A few weeks ago I wrote a post in which I facetiously said that women weren’t as good of managers as men. I then wrote the sentence “of course I don’t believe that this is true. But you can see how you can skew data to say anything.”A woman then published the first bit of what I said and left off the latter. And none other than TechCrunch contributor Vivek Wadhwa tried to support her and inflame the situation. I fought back vigorously and asked the lady to change her post. I didn’t mind her disagreeing but posting half my statements was slanderous and I told her I would defend myself (and I meant it). She was gracious enough to change it (against Vivek’s recommendation for some really strange reason). I somehow feel like she link-baited the entire situation and I learned a lesson. Next time I will privately handle the situation but I will defend my reputation until the end.One strange thing. Years ago somebody said I was the kind of guy that if you did business with you’d have to count your fingers when you left the meeting. It was anonymous and poorly written as though it were a Nigerian email scam. It’s on Robert Scoble’s video blog. Yet it is still out there and I have no idea how to get rid of it!Thanks for writing on this important topic, Fred. Reputation is all one has.

    1. reece

      Having a rumor fly like “count your fingers when you leave a meeting with Mark” might work in your advantage.Kind of an intimidation factor: “Don’t F* with Suster.” 😉

      1. msuster

        LOL!

    2. Oo Nwoye - @OoTheNigerian

      Hi Mark,I really do not think it was that necessary to bring Nigeria into your argument. It is damaging to the reputation of my country.

      1. kidmercury

        i agree with your point and have thought about that myself. but, i bet mark did not mean any offense to nigerians, and was simply referring to the fact that lots of those scam emails say they are from nigeria, and hence it is easy to refer to it as a nigerian email. so, how can we best discuss that particular email scam, so that we can prevent the scam from being effective, without offending nigerians? i am asking that question sincerely in hopes of finding an amicable resolution. 🙂

        1. oh brother

          once upon a time it was called a 419. i’m sure someone else has posted that here already but i am feeling rather [enter stereotyped ethnicity here in adjectival form] and lazy so i’m not going to bother checking.

          1. kidmercury

            i did not know that, thanks for sharing. 419 scam is not intuitive, but certainly avoids the issue of unfairly/unintentionally insulting all nigerians. i’ll use 419 scam going forward.

          2. martha the great

            awesome. i’ve read the rest of the comments now and i’m really surprised no one else pointed out that that scam has a name and the emails do not always come from or involve nigeria. i’m also switching to my real (online presence) name.

      2. msuster

        OK, I’m sorry. It’s just that we all get so many emails from “a person in Nigeria who needs us to send $3,000 to help them with their dying husband” so I figured it was short hand for somebody who is inauthentically writing something scammy. I have Nigerian friends and I have nothing against Nigeria. I should have left out the country name and just talked about the scammy emails. Please accept my apology. I’ll see if I can edit my original comment.

        1. Oo Nwoye - @OoTheNigerian

          Though Fred spoke about personal reputation, a lot Nigerians suffer daily from the bad reputation of our country and I tend to go on the defensive any time I come across something like what Mark [email protected] @Kidmecury, I am not offended but just saddened any time I am reminded of the problem we have. I have written about it previously. http://oonwoye.com/blog/200… My mission is to solve the challenge we have. I will be sure to call on your help Mark 🙂

      3. Prokofy

        If you don’t want people to associate your country with fraud, then speak out againt the actual numerous cases of fraud, not againts people reporting the truth about it.I’ve seen real victims of this fraud, and had a relative in the DOJ who worked on these cases and was amazed how many of them there were, and how many intelligent people fell for them.

    3. fredwilson

      you can’t get rid of the video. but you can post it to your blog and explain why it is wrong.

      1. msuster

        The video was me speaking. The comment was in a text reply. It was inauthentic and written by somebody in some foreign country (not Nigeria!) as though it were a spammy email. Strange. I just let it go but if it were on a more prominent post I would have defended.

        1. David Semeria

          …written by somebody in some foreign country..I find it very offensive that you would use such belittling language to describe an arbitrary sovereign state.Henceforth I will instruct my subjects to refer to the “United States of America” as “some foreign country”.Sincerely,The President of Tuva

          1. msuster

            Man! I don’t even need to watch Jon Stewart to get my comedy this morning. No wonder Fred calls this the coffee lounge. I’m sitting on a deck in Santa Barbara looking out over perfectly blue skies and laughing my arse off this morning. Thanks for that!

          2. reece

            Yeah… lately it seems like everyone here needs a lesson in foreign relations.http://bit.ly/b69jxn

          3. fredwilson

            This is becoming a pervasive theme on this blog. Two days in a row. We americans need to be more careful in our choice of words when we speak about the ‘rest of world’. That last part was an attempt at humor given the spanking I took over using those words yesterday

          4. Fernando Gutierrez

            Also those of us who are part of your rest of the world should take it easier. I understand that I’m part of the rest of the world for you, as you are part of my rest of the world. Not such a big deal, just descriptions.

          5. fredwilson

            Thanks. I appreciate the sentiment. But words do matter

          6. Adrian Palacios

            Fred, I’m glad you’ve noticed this…I had a real problem with Steve Johnson’s cover story about Twitter last year because of this very issue. Wrote about it more here: http://bit.ly/c8gkms (the second section is the more relevant part).

          7. Tereza

            that was freaking hysterical

        2. fredwilson

          I like to post negative stuff that is said about me like I did in this blog post. It allows me to air it and respond to it

    4. Mark Essel

      I commented my 2 cents on that “sensational” attention grab as well. It just made the poster look bad or ignorant. You were doing her a favor by asking to have it corrected.

    5. Eugene Mandel

      I think the most interesting point of Michael Arrington’s post was not whether you should or should not defend your reputation when falsely accused (you obviously should!). It was that increased exposure will lead to public’s acceptance of common “private vices” – things most people don’t consider a blemish on a character, but feel obliged to condemn in public. Your college picture with a bong on Facebook should not scare a recruiter.

    6. Tereza

      That’s so bizarre; I remember that original post and quote, so, yeah, I’d back you up on the totally out-of-context quote (not that you need it).Similarly to what Essel says about Fred above — body of work over an extended period of time really does count a lot. At least it does to me, and I am hopeful it does to the people that matter.And Mark you’ve been off-the-charts prolific. You just can’t BS that much material over so long a time.But — agreed — you, and we all, have to hunt this stuff down and manage as best we can.

  2. Eric Leebow

    Great post, the challenge is that people can say anything about anyone on the Internet, whether it’s true or not. Defending a reputation is important, and it not only goes online, yet offline as well. If you’re a public speaker, I think defending a reputation in real world, offline is very important to defend the reputation the way you may have received it. With stuff posted online, sometimes a small part of something may be true to whatever is said, other times nothing at all is true, or the truth is stretched or looks exaggerated on the Internet. Things can look much worse on the Internet if someone had a bad experience, yet if someone is not speaking from experience, and just rumor, it should not mean as much, yet the person or company still needs to defend their reputation. Not everyone knows the other side of the story as well, and sometimes trying to explain a story for people who try to say negative things about someone online is not always beneficial as well. I saw a site the other day that only allows positive reviews, and found this to be interesting, as that’s the latest controversy with some sites where you can post reviews. One person could have a great experience with a person, business, or product, and another can have a not so great experience. It seems like a growing number of sites are popping up to monitor one’s reputation. I think it’s a great new addition to the web, as well as services where people can only say positive things. Who wants to hear the negative experiences about a place? If you could get trusted opinions from your social network that a particular service or product or service is good, then you could share this with others.

  3. reece

    This community is a great strength for you.By building a strong reputation among everyone here, and by generally being transparent and forthright most people should understand that the ‘haters’ are the minority and aren’t worth listening to.Case in point, you could’ve blurred out/not mentioned their name (why give them any publicity?), but you posted their name and if they want to step up and argue their case they can.

    1. fredwilson

      yes, that is so very true Reece

    2. Tariq

      Agree – Mark Essel defending Fred over at HN is pretty indicative of how communities can help protect one’s reputation. With how dispersed the internet is, it must be hard to keep track of who/where people are trying to attack you. Having a community is really helpful – they can make you aware of what is being said about you and possibly come to your defense.

  4. kidmercury

    the way to win any beef is with the truth. if you want to attack someone’s reputation, find the truth they are afraid of. if you want to be immune to attacks, always tell the truth.social media is still not evolved enough yet to fully embrace this principle. but it is only a matter of time. on a long enough timeline, the truth always wins. always.

    1. K. Shah

      “Satyameva Jayate” (Truth alone Triumphs) – National Motto of India. The Czech People have something similar – “Pravda vítězí”

    2. ea exam

      Definitely. The truth will set you free!

    3. Donna Brewington White

      Hope you’re right, Kid. You generally are — or at least convincing.

  5. HowieG

    Fred, You and I might disagree on some of the statistics a few of the firms you have an investment in, pump out, but I must say I have never come across someone who sincerely cares about helping Entrepreneurs and those aspiring to be in learning aspects that only us Finance folks know. Often VC’s take advantage of people with great ideas and no financial know how or background. Yet you prepare these folks to be able to pitch their ideas, and have adept negotiations that look after their own interest (your VC colleagues must love you for this! lol). And thus I have the utmost respect for you and have your back.I personally don’t care what people think about me, but I agree with the view if you can control your online reputation one should. I myself have stopped using my full/real name on everything because of the imprint I see on Google searches now. So I only use my name for professional purposes. All social and non-business activity has been scrubbed down to aliases because of the lack of privacy.

    1. Mark Essel

      My personal and professional identity are genuine. I can understand the need to separate them in specific industries, but I see that as a temporary limitation of the social web. Your influence and rep should be something you carry with you and proudly refer to.There’s great value in pen names as well. Shana Carp was an anonymous poster here for some time and took some flak for her opinion. But eventually she made the jump to connecting her identity to her comments, and I believe she will overall benefit from the move.

      1. HowieG

        I am genuine Mark and do not do anything I am not proud of. But take Twitter. I was following Carl Warner who is in my industry Advertising. Until he made some right wing rants so I immediately unfollowed him. More because he wasn’t being logical and was sounding like Glen Beck. I have always kept my work life and social life separate. I didn’t need the Ford Motor Company engineers in 2005 I successfully pitched and won their Hydrogen Fuel System development program for a past company I worked for, that two days before I was ending a week at Burningman. What mattered is that I performed, brought my A game, and knocked them dead to win a nice order. I want privacy or at least control of my privacy, One reason I am leaving Facebook the minute a better site that doesn’t try to exploit their users comes along. Though I have had everything I post there on lock down as best as I can. Credibility needs to be confined to the important stuff. As my mentioned before of Carl Warner I bet he kicks butt as his job, but my view of him has been clouded by his non-work stuff.On here is business and I have written Fred from my work email before. I do agree if your going to cause controversy though being anonymous doesn’t bring credibility.

        1. Mark Essel

          Your original comment struck me as genuine Howie.We have every right to keep our business and private lives distinct. Social web businesses that infringe on your choice to keep your social life private and separate are asking for trouble (I’m working for the transparent opt in, everything is out in the open community). Unfortunately as more folks become public with both their social life intermingled with their business life, those that don’t might get negative stigma for “having something to hide”.

        2. ShanaC

          Something I realised- we have spheres of credibility, and I don’t have to agree with someone about everything. I can choose to filter people out selectively. As mean as that sounds…I just have to respect them in the position they hold for that job and stand firm for some other task, that they may not be correct.

      2. ShanaC

        There were a lot of reasons for that….despite the fact that I was posting under my name….and I took a huge amount of flak for that for a really long time……

        1. Mark Essel

          Not from me, I enjoyed your comments & inputs 😀

          1. ShanaC

            That’s a different issue. I admit coming from out of nowhere.

      3. falicon

        +1. For me, I’ve got two young kids…and I think it’s going to be interesting for them to be able to look back and peek into my thoughts from years past (possibly even after I’m gone)…I tend to keep this idea in the back of my head with everything I do…if I wouldn’t be proud of something, or wouldn’t want my kids eventually finding it…I just wouldn’t do it in the first place.And I try to be the same guy regardless of if I’m coding some cool new tool, giving some talk, hanging out with friends, or even plunging a toilet (hey we start-up people gotta do it all, but that’s the fun right!?)…

        1. Mark Essel

          +1 to you alright!We do have to do it all, which can be a little frustrating for areas we have trouble in, but is ultimately very satisfying.Any ideas of a good open source feed aggregator front end. We have Push/Pull feeds under the hood, I just want to grab an open source front end that’s easy to hack. Looking at variations of Muck, and Fast Ladder, may end up just writing my own.

    2. fredwilson

      Thanks for that comment howie. I really appreciate your kind words

  6. John Frankel

    Great post and forced me to blog in response at http://www.any.biz/2010/03/… – bottom line is the real-name web is leading to the Internet of people and reputation, trust and influence are all increasing in importance.

    1. fredwilson

      Agreed. I use my real name everywhere and have since I chose [email protected] around 1990

  7. dave

    I gave up on this a long time ago.It got really bad when my competitors jumped in and started talking shit about me personally. What are you going to do then? That drags your customers into it. Yuck.In the end “what goes around comes around.” The assholes eventually rise high enough so they start getting the treatment they were dishing out.The Chinese have a great proverb that goes something like this.If you sit on the shore of a river long enough, sooner or later you will see the body of your enemy floating down stream.I’ve seen many of these bodies floating down the river. 🙂

  8. Mark Essel

    Thanks for the shout out Fred. I just got some negative anonymous feedback on Chris Dixon’s blog about how often I actively comment on “investor” blogs. It’s too easy to poke holes in comments like that, look at the community I’ve gotten a chance to become a member of, it’s priceless.Sticks and stones.I see the value in having genuine supporters actively defending your rep. I wasn’t thinking rep at that time, I was thinking this guy has his information wrong, let’s dig in to see what’s the thorn in his paw and try and share my experiences to shed some truth.Fredlanders stick together 😀

    1. fredwilson

      i’ll go find that feedback and comment on itquid pro quo my friend

    2. Tereza

      Yeah — I heavily discount a negative comment that doesn’t have someone’s name behind it. They need to own it.I can’t think of a better way to force thoughtfulness and being fact-based.

  9. Marquis Lafayett

    who are all of you ? so strange and weird ….

  10. Earl Galleher

    Seems like best way to defend your reputation is to be a good person, with integrity and humility in all of your dealings. The more noise out there that is slanderous about you, the more likely you were a jerk or a cheat or something else not good to too many people. Focusing on defending your reputation in a electronically networked word will get harder and harder (particularly with apps that allow anonymous posts – I agree that anonymous posts are fundamentally wrong, but we can’t change what apps will allow, so they are here to stay). If one is so narcissistic that they want to defend against negatives they feel are untruthful (often there is truth in such commentary) vs. let the world think what they will, then have at it. Within about a year, defending your reputation will become an all consuming endeavor.Be a good person. Conduct yourself with integrity and humility. Don’t care what anyone says about you. Take comfort that you know how you conduct yourself.Too many people want to defend their reputation when there are aspects of your actions that are worthy of harsh criticism (if if you categorize the criticism as being not true). Big time reputation defending is like advertising/PR. Advertising and PR are oriented to making a product desirable, great, perfect, not ever bad. (EXXON – put a tiger in your tank….with no mention of putting 11 million barrels of oil in Prince William sound, then not wanting to pay the bill to fix the spill.). People, like products have real flaws.To defend your reputation by modifying your conduct will be the way to be thought well of in the future.

    1. greggdourgarian

      Wow talk about painting a snake and adding legs. How does your talk of “integrity and humility” line up with your quip on Exxon? Not well…no one “put” the oil anywhere. It was an accident, and Exxon has spent $2 billion spent on the cleanup.

      1. Earl Galleher

        Go ask the people in Valdez what the real cost is/was. Exxon kept it in court for years and widdled down the pay out to very little. BTW, it is still not clean…… but now we are on a different subject.

    2. fredwilson

      I very much agree with that last point

  11. Earl Galleher

    Seems like best way to defend your reputation is to be a good person, with integrity and humility in all of your dealings. The more noise out there that is slanderous about you, the more likely you were a jerk or a cheat or something else not good to too many people. Focusing on defending your reputation in a electronically networked word will get harder and harder (particularly with apps that allow anonymous posts – I agree that anonymous posts are fundamentally wrong, but we can’t change what apps will allow, so they are here to stay). If one is so narcissistic that they want to defend against negatives they feel are untruthful (often there is truth in such commentary) vs. let the world think what they will, then have at it. Within about a year, defending your reputation will become an all consuming endeavor.Be a good person. Conduct yourself with integrity and humility. Don’t care what anyone says about you. Take comfort that you know how you conduct yourself.Too many people want to defend their reputation when there are aspects of your actions that are worthy of harsh criticism (if if you categorize the criticism as being not true). Big time reputation defending is like advertising/PR. Advertising and PR are oriented to making a product desirable, great, perfect, not ever bad. (EXXON – put a tiger in your tank….with no mention of putting 11 million barrels of oil in Prince William sound, then not wanting to pay the bill to fix the spill.). People, like products have real flaws.To defend your reputation by modifying your conduct will be the way to be thought well of in the future.

    1. JLM

      It takes 20 years to build a good reputation.It takes 20 seconds to destroy a good reputation.Sam Houston: “Do what is right and suffer the consequences.”Kate Hepburn: “Never complain. Never explain.”

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        That man again (Churchill):”You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

  12. Matthew Taylor

    When it comes to your reputation, it starts with your character. Getting invloved in a dubious situation which you either failed to properly investigate or willingly accepted as such begins internally.The circumstances we find ourselves in are a direct result of how we live our lives, how we consider courses of action and, ultimately, how we think. If we have no regard for others, then we will act in ways which will demonstrate this character flaw. If we are generous, thoughtful, considerate, altruistic these character strengths will come out in our actions too.What bothers me is the idea that one must defend their character (the real issue here) in the wake of unsubstantiated attacks. If a character flaw emerges, then we must take responsibility for it. We can neither defend it nor allow others to defend us.I don’t know the story behind Zynga and I don’t really want to address it specifically. The general feeling I have about the “free” marketplace is I think the sincere lack of integrity which exists will be its undoing. A return to premium services, wherein, paying subscribers should have expectations of quality, will result.Long live the good side of capitalism.

  13. Jan Schultink

    As people become more used to reading comments, they also will learn how to separate genuine/constructive criticism from baseless attacks on a person.The same way as people are learning to size up an online profile correctly with very little data points.

    1. Tereza

      “As people become more used to reading comments”True. I’d add: As people become better at writing comments as well.

    2. CJ

      As site owners become more aware of the value of constructive contribution they’ll choose better commenting systems which allow for more accountability rather than the sea of anonymous or semi-anonymous comments that permeate the internet now. When your own brand could take a hit from lies and false accusations you tend to watch what you say, well most people anyway.

    3. Matt A. Myers

      I’ve seen some very well-written propaganda that any passer-by would see as legitimate, valid, and truthful.

      1. Jan Schultink

        I did not say it’s impossible. But this would require careful orchestration and some resources. Maybe competing manufacturers posting on product review sites?

  14. Chicago Private Equity

    With one of my companies we get 1 out of 100 negative comments online and you can actually see a dip in sales after that period for a short while. We just do the best we can to respond accurately and sanely and then move on with our lives.

  15. curmudgeonly troll

    People are smart enough not to know there will always be haters, and not to give much credence to a few of them (especially anonymous cowards). Rather, they look at how your reputation compares with your peers, and what people who themselves are trustworthy think.In my experience the guys who say [online reputation, mainstream media, etc.] can’t be trusted, are themselves the guys who are trying to game the system and can’t be trusted.You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.The global village is here, you can say and act the way you want, but you have to live with the consequences.SIGNED /an anonymouse coward/

    1. curmudgeonly troll

      edit /smart enough to know/

      1. curmudgeonly troll

        but the counterexample of the troll mob is also here -http://www.cbsnews.com/8301…

  16. Fernando Gutierrez

    One thing to consider is that haters tend to express themselves much more that satisfied people. For that reason I agree with Arrington. There will be/are so much rants that we will all ignore them if they are next to positive reviews.

  17. Oo Nwoye - @OoTheNigerian

    Hi Fred,I think the safest bet is to have a good reputation and I am certain people will be there to defend it for you. But that does not mean you do not have to do your own part by creating a presence in various places.By reading your blog, I can possibly vouch for you even though I have never met you in person nor have we had any dealings. That is the value of ‘owning your brand’.

    1. Mark Essel

      Fred commented in the same HN thread not long after I did. The social media pro move, “showing up”, which takes time and google alerts looking out for us.

    2. fredwilson

      Exactly

  18. RichardF

    Just read the article…sounds to me like Arrington has a big skeleton that is about to hit the net!I agree with you. I think you do need to defend your reputation on line. You do have to balance that with the fact that you cannot waste time correcting every moronic comment made anonymously.Arrington has to take the view that all he can do is ignore them because he gets many many moronic comments on TC, to the point that the comments section on TC is a waste of time unfortunately.For companies where reviews are written about them anonymously on Trip Advisor or Yelp I think it is far harder to deal with. User reviews of companies and products are becoming increasingly important and it would be great if those review sites or sites incorporating reviews did more to encourage the reviewer to authenticate themselves via Facebook/Twitter/Disqus. You’ll never eradicate the anonymous moronic comments but you can devalue them.

    1. Mark Essel

      I’m a little frustrated by how poor the TC comment threads are. It causes me to wonder if any site becomes too popular, that it’s comment threads will go down the drain.

      1. Jeff Pester

        It seems to me that much of the “hater” posts would be virtually eliminated if publishers would just not permit anonymous commenting. I’ve heard all the arguments about how being able to post anonymously is important is some cases, but those use cases are EXTREMELY rare.I think (hope) that over time people will simply start to disregard comments that are not tied to a verifiable identity.And yes, TC comment threads are unfortunately not worth reading in virtually all cases. Again, not allowing anonymous commenting would eliminate 90% of the garbage.

      2. ShanaC

        mostly because I monitor, be aware that we get into the 200-300 range easily. A lot of it is group dynamics….and I am not sure what causes it.

        1. Mark Essel

          There are a lot of the same faces thought which helps keep the commenting constructive and on track.If a thousand new folks showed up and started commenting we’d have to adjust + Fred would have more trouble keeping up with the feedback. I’m pretty sure that’s why Seth Godin goes with no comments (and instead reads all his email), the flood of comments would be too large for him to handle.

          1. ShanaC

            There are enough that I’m having a hard time tracking

          2. Mark Essel

            I can imagine the growing difficulty.What do you think about starting a community wiki where members of the community can come forward and describe their professional backgrounds. Like a Crunchbase for Fredland? I recognize that you’re strapped for time as much as myself so it’s more a question of how much life the project could take on it’s own with minimal direction from the get go. I’d love to put my 2 cents on such a page, I’ve never been bashful about sharing links to my blog or proto-startup.

        2. kidmercury

          IMHO the disqus UI facilitates active membership

          1. Mark Essel

            Hey Kid what do you think of a wikipedia page for Fredland and it’s active members? I’ve got to describe why the page should be kept alive before the auto-cleaning bots take it down (kinda cool, reminds me of the graffiti cleaning signs from Demolition Man)

          2. kidmercury

            woudl wikipedia allow it? and can we defend it from spam that may comefrom fred’s archrivals like mikey?there is much that can be done….i’ve always advocated a socialnetwork/group blog/forum for fredlanders….could be the spot wherefredbucks is introduced to the world…..could be a place whereapproved fredland entrepreneurs could pitch their wares…..the national anthem and the flag are what i’m most excited aboutthough. lol that’d be the best.

          3. Mark Essel

            They nuked it.Something more than just comments would be nice. A dedicated social net would be interesting. The twitter list was a great start but the cross conversations there are limited.Fredbucks like all virtual currencies can result from good old fashioned behavior changing game mechanics. The Startup Game:Each pitch adds a pointmaking a deal for funding is +10 for each roundrevenue generation (points based on revenue, +10 for every order of magnitude)net positive companies get a one time FAT bonus, +50points are earned by cancelling unnecessary meetings +1user traction is mega points: +10 for every order of magnitudethe leader board visually shows the points

          4. kidmercury

            Yup. We need game play/badges too. “Fredsquare” lol thank god his name is fred and not something like ignatius (no offense to anyone named ignatius). Fredsquare could be the game you play to get funded by USV, or just an entrepreneurial game in general (USV funding would result in the better game, but of course could be a trickier issue)I proposed this before, but I don’t think fred was down (or at least not down with my suggestion, perhaps another would be more appealing). We could in theory do it without him although that might be weird and inappropriate. I wonder if he could sue us? Will we need to set up fredcourt? Lol

          5. Mark Essel

            Fredcourt ha. No need to go that far, the least we can do is respect Fred’s name usage (it’s his brand to leverage). Of course we’ll help cook up all kinds of fun things (I can’t help it but come up with eccentric ideas).I dig the whole game / behavior influence even though common sense should guide us on constructive endeavors anyhow. The game actually makes it interesting to do things that can help us out.

          6. fredwilson

            Disqus is working on some ideas along these lines

          7. kidmercury

            hope they will call it fredsquare

          8. Adrian Palacios

            there could be pop quizzes based on mba mondays!!

          9. Tereza

            If this were a real MBA program, we’d be playing “The phrase that pays”.One of the students, behind the professor’s back, randomly generates a word or phrase. The students hustle to artfully weave it into their comments, in a way that must relate to the discussion (a key element to this is that students are being graded on the quality of their comments — providing natural tension). First one to spit it out wins for the day.For example, Kid generates a random word of the day, “lawnchair”. Essell says, “If Arrington is correct, my online reputation is as secure as a lawnchair on the deck of the Titanic”. Essell wins.You get the idea.Problem, though, is Fred’s not supposed to know.Also at the end of the school year the person with the most points partakes in a pot of money.That’s the full, high-value MBA experience.

          10. Adrian Palacios

            hahah, oh the things i missed not getting an mba!hmmmm….is it possible to dm an entire twitter list? kid could get a random article from wikipedia, we dm the link to everyone on the list and we keep track of who uses it in a comment.but then again, there’s no incentive to *not* use it if fred isn’t grading us :-/

          11. Fernando Gutierrez

            If you want a dedicated social net you should check Ning. I tried it a couple of years ago for a side project and haven’t gone back since, but it’s supposed to be just what you are looking for.

          12. Mark Essel

            Thanks Fernando, I heard about it from a group Seth Godin formed a while back but never tried it myself.

          13. Fernando Gutierrez

            Glad to help. Let me know if you need a hand should you decide to go ahead with your idea.

          14. ShanaC

            The backend UI is extremely confusing and they know this. They’ve been working on it, but it is one of those things that really need careful thought….even I’m not sure exactly what is best.

      3. Mark Bao

        There are ways to prevent being ‘poisoned’ with awful comment threads. Part of it is targeting a non-mainstream, more professional audience (it seems like anyone in tech and social media are reading TechCrunch these days, understandably), and part of it is a comment worth system such as Liking (which Disqus does, but Reddit or even Engadget does better.)I’m generally very pleased with the comment quality here. A VC is not a generally mainstream audience and comment threads have been established as areas for informed discussion with real names, so that definitely helps.

        1. Mark Essel

          I’ve had mixed reactions in Reddit, so much that I eventually nuked my account and gave up on that social group. HackerNews is much friendlier, and AVC is even more polite/laid back.I did meet a few pretty awesome folks on reddit though, and I sometimes wish I stuck around but I can’t afford to hang out in communities that drain my energy, I’m an inspiration junky and fairly empathetic.

      4. falicon

        I’ve found that the popularity of the site is less a factor than ‘authoritative’ engagement…ie. if Fred as the owner of the blog just let the conversation run wild without participating, it would quickly stray off point and become spammy…and much like the old circus saying, nothing draws a crowd like a crowd (nothing draws spam like spam).

        1. fredwilson

          Agreed

      5. fredwilson

        We may have to test that rule right here. I think there are a lot more people who could and should contribute to this community

    2. fredwilson

      Agreed. That was the point I was trying to make with my “own your online brand” post

  19. gorbachev

    I think the best defense is having enough counter-points for anyone without an agenda to come to the right conclusion on their own.Everyone goofs off or makes errors in judgment once in a while, but if you’re “out there” every day, like you are Fred, over time a body of evidence gathers that can not be refuted.

    1. Earl Galleher

      This would argue for not trying to defend your reputation, which I agree with. If Fred is out there everyday as he is, then there will be a large enough sample that will end up getting it generally right without Fred having to artificially manipulate it (defend is a cloak word for manipulate).

  20. Herb Greenberg

    Fred, as a guy who staked his career on his reputation, the concept in question is little more than writing on the bathroom wall. (I think that’s what one judge said when he ruled against a hedge fund tried to sue some message board posters.) This type of personality-driven defamation, of course, has been done on financial message boards for years. And there are sites dedicated to rating teachers and professors.The trouble with a site that will widely be used to defame others to is obvious: There is no accountability. None. Zero. Zip. At least on Yelp or Tripadvisor you can track a person’s posts to determine whether their reviews are credible (or in line with your own tastes!).When I was repeatedly attacked publicly with lies an innuendo by what appeared to me to be an emotionally ill CEO who was trying hard to divert attention from his company’s troubles (hmmm, I wonder who that could be?) the media lawyers said, “Just let the truth win out.” And it is. (His company is in a heap-O-trouble.) I spent an enormous amount of time on my blog, when I had one, debunking the critics (especially those associated with that nut) and set up my own rules about who I would allow to post. I chose to allow the critics to post UNTIL they refused to engage in CIVIL discourse. (You simply cannot argue with crazy people.)Based on principle, I actually consulted with two attorneys about possibly filing libel suits against the CEO, but the upshot from them and Dow Jones — my employer at the time: Journalists don’t sue for libel and libel suits aren’t worth the hassle. (Right on both scores.)At some point, however, if personality defamation is ENCOURAGED via a public site I believe that in time, there will be (or should be!) the libel suit from hell that will remind people that reputations DO count and are somehow protected against lies and innuendo. If not, my prediction: After an initial frenzy of interest, the defamation site (because that’s what it really will be, even if people say nice things as well) will turn into a cesspool whose stench will cause its popularity to fall as quickly as it rose.Can’t wait to see who the venture firms are backing that thing.

    1. fredwilson

      I hope its not me herb!

  21. Brennan

    Having worked with many companies and high-profile individuals on managing their reputations I would say the largest thing is being proactive. The days of just hiding things and using old-school PR tactics are all but over. Anymore transparency is very important but most of all having established communication channels in social media is the most important. We are in an evolutionary period of how things are done and how we communicate where a major corporation can no longer just not respond online to a crisis without having their reputation and revenues hurt, sadly many companies have still failed to notice this.

  22. Aviah Laor

    There is smoke without fire.Hard to get used to it, though.

  23. William Mougayar

    It’s true that each one of us has their own network of “online defenders/supporters” who will come to the rescue & validate claims or neutralize negative comments. Social media has accelerated the rate of exposure, good with bad.This reminds me of Don Tapscott’s famous quote “If you have to be naked, you had better be buff.”

    1. Mark Essel

      Ha, never heard that quote William and it’s a good one. We’re going through a pretty big overhaul at Victus Media (from Twitter to feeds which are service agnostic). While we created a lot more work to do in the short term that puts us in a better position for wider appeal and utility later on.The good news is that once we’re set up with a working version at opengard.in users can identify any feeds they want easily (like Eqentia) and tag, curate and remix/reshare new social feeds.The bad news is I think I may have to pony up cash to hire an expert on the curation feature (it will take me several months where it would take the person I’m thinking of hiring a fraction of the time).

  24. MrColes

    That hacker news example is great. However, do you ever personally respond to crazy comments on other sites or do you just avoid them? These cases seem to appear the most when (1) a post gets republished to another site with a different readership and (2) it’s super easy to comment anonymously.

    1. fredwilson

      HN and TC are two places I comment fairly regulalrly, particulalry when the convo is about me

  25. Brian Hayashi @connectme

    It’s been my impression that no one likes to hear the whiny person who always feel the world has done them wrong. In my opinion people want to be around people that are happy – or failing that, people who have a similarly themed outlook on life. So when it comes to defending your reputation, I’ve heard that the best thing to do is to have a very specific statement that leaves no room for ambiguity, but make sure it’s just one of dozens of posts, so people don’t think you’re obsessed about defending a specific issue.I’ve actually thought of creating a post along these lines. I had a situation a ways back with a former partner who said one thing in public, but was engaged in a smear campaign in the backchannel as a way to gain control of an asset. He surreptitiously sent his cousin to collect documentation under the guise of an “audit” and then after he thought he had the originals, brought the smear campaign into public in an effort to gain control. Comprehensive records, independent counsel, and having patient capital to withstand litigation were the key to defending my reputation. I’ve often wondered if I should talk to the state CPA board or the SEC about their actions — and perhaps other readers may have helpful advice for me — but I’ve never regretted taking appropriate steps to respond.Ultimately, other outside investors and key members of the engineering team saw through the perfidy for what it was – and we collectively made the decision to move on. But when you’re in the eye of the storm, it’s a hard lesson to learn, one for which there is little support or reference on what to do. There are some PR professionals who mint money because of their expertise in such situations, I’d hope that posts like this help hard-working professionals from ambushes and looters.

  26. ShanaC

    Whenever I see posts like these, I always think of this link:http://www.nytimes.com/2009…If some law students can get all this information on a supreme court justice, then forget your own privacy. Forget defence You just hope you have done enough good that enough of the world thinks benevolently as you grow into the many roles you have- because someone out there can and will develop a dossier on you…hang out and grow the community which does care, all I ask….(and I am not a truther, that’s the Kid’s role..I just sort of expect not everyone to love me…)

    1. fredwilson

      That is kid’s role in addition to bouncer

  27. inm

    Interesting topic.But how can we defend ourselves when websites like http://www.dirtyphonebook.com allow people to rip us anonymously?

  28. findeverything

    Meh. We are free to do we want.

    1. ShanaC

      I think we function within constraints. The flip side in having information out there is the awareness that information is out there- and having to act with the burden of having a matching digital body. I kind of want to float free from it some days. I feel bound by the community here. On some days, I actually don’t like it.It isn’t a true freedom to act however we want at all.

      1. findeverything

        That is the most retarded response i have ever read. Grow up.

        1. ShanaC

          Why do you think that?

          1. findeverything

            I am always free. IF you are referring to Mead and social interaction, i still have to like my community.

          2. ShanaC

            I’m slightly pessimistic, so no: I think you still need to answer for structure, and I happen to like Foucault’s answer about the locus of body and power and the shift away from physical body to mental/informational/psychological body in a social sphere.Manuel Castells follows that tradition…

          3. findeverything

            I have absolute internal locus of control. What the fuck is wrong with you?It must be biological <_<

          4. ShanaC

            So if the gov’t arrests you based on information from a social network- yourlocus is internal? Even if the information fake? Or has nothing to do withyou, you fit a profile? (oh some teens in philly) Remember, you can’tcontrol who is observing you- see what happened to Scalia- he didn’t chooseto have a bunch of Fordham students make a dossier….and for some of us,knowing that idea, is a burden. So if you posted under your real name- whatwould I find about you? About your family, where you live? Your criminalrecord, perhaps?(I’ve found the drunk driving record of a guy who’d pickedme up in a train station online, would you like me to find your potentialrecord?) If you hold a patent, if you are in Edgar? Do you really want toknow what control you’ve given up by being in Public?So you are telling me you are in complete control?- Right. If you leak outanything, someone can eventually make the connection. It isn’t free. It’sa burden. I have to answer to those pieces of information. It can be aburden. The only thing protecting you is your lack of name, and we’ll seehow long that lasts.Also, I don’t curse at people in public. I try to be polite.

          5. findeverything

            I am not retarded. I don’t get arrested ; )

          6. ShanaC

            Nor do I…I’m making the point that the information is out there and infact, you don’t have control over it. And that is a terrible burden.

          7. findeverything

            Tragic to meet people trying to get famous and so retarded. Die early.

          8. ShanaC

            Fame freaks me out actually. The original life plan where I come from is fairly traditional, and any fame that happened largely because of a trip-up in that life plan. I find there is a slight disconnect recently between me here and the me in person and it’s preventing me from “taking the next logical step in life.” In my own head and every day life, trust me, I bet you wouldn’t recognise me. Fame really isn’t my goal- and it is probably why I find moments here unappealing. As I said, considering there is all sorts of random information out there about me- it’s easier for me to think and grow. I’m a person, and like most people, I have real life issues, some simple and silly, some complex and difficult. Which is sort of how I ended up here in the first place. (It involves an ex boyfriend being slightly foolish with his computer in my opinion, and me going, hey, that’s a solvable problem, I should start looking around. That, and religion?) Even odder, I actually had no idea where I was when I first started posting. It was just a random blog, it was explaining stuff I wanted to know about, and I liked posting, I thought I was learning a lot. I had no idea who was here. On some emotional level, I still don’t. Just because other people think this is very high profile ect, doesn’t mean that has hit me. I emotionally think that idea is odd. To me this is just something I do because this is who I am.Some people find that their passions in the strangest ways- and they will actively work, even for free, to make thing happen, because it is part of who they are. It worked out that I found parts of my passion here. I love what I am analyzing here. (though some days are killers) I wasn’t expecting it. It came at the oddest moment. I’m unsure what to do next (and I figure, that’s normal…) I wish I could turn it into a full time paying job. Now I just need to figure out how…If people happen to read this, they see I have spelling mistakes…that is what I get out of me….

          9. Tereza

            Red card.

          10. fredwilson

            What’s tragic is your choice of words

          11. findeverything

            I am a linguist. How about you show me some apt words to use in describing this uneducated woman?

          12. Fernando Gutierrez

            What’s the point on commenting just to insult and offend?

          13. findeverything

            What is the point of this conversation if you comprehend nothing?

          14. fredwilson

            I have to say that your choice of words is not cool

          15. findeverything

            Nope. But they sure are swell.

        2. Tereza

          Yellow card.

        3. fredwilson

          Whoa. Retarded isn’t a very nice thing to call someone. You might not like what she wrote but please don’t call her retarded

          1. findeverything

            How about you not be clever and allow the woman to defend herself?

  29. Sam Whiteman

    I’ve heard that Microsoft has a 48 hour stand down period for negative commentary in blogs before they consider whether or not to intervene to set the record straight.The rationale is that the advocates for Microsoft will do the heavy lifting for them in a forum where Microsoft generally wasn’t invited.Seems smart to me, would love to have this confirmed.Sam

    1. fredwilson

      Microsoft can’t hold a candle to apple’s fanboys though. I’ve seen them come out in droves on this blog when I go negative on apple and it is impressive

  30. steveplace

    You couldn’t go one more parent up to include me in the HN screenshot? Disappointed.

    1. fredwilson

      Sorry. I wanted to be efficient with screen real estate

  31. daryn

    Fred – I think the real value in social media is that you don’t need to try and control or defend your own reputation. After all these years of honest writing, you’ve got an army of loyal AVC community members, myself included of course, who will gladly fight that battle for you.

    1. fredwilson

      Yes. That post was a bit muddled

  32. Mr. Dictionary

    On one hand, this could be a modern-day application of Gresham’s Law, i.e. “bad money drives out good.” But I see the situation evolving much more towards an application of the principal of behavioral economics known as the “availability heuristic.” There will be so much good, bad and indifferent information about people online – and so much exhaustion at some point with regard to both checking someone’s reputation and contesting those who challenge yours – that we will default to those pros and cons, those expressions of beatitude or venality, which confirm our own pre-existing beliefs.

  33. Dave Pinsen

    “You’ll see that Mark Essel, an active member of this community, took the time to come to my defense.Mark’s good like that. You’re lucky to have him as a commenter and a reputation defender.

  34. Prokofy

    I think a) you shouldn’t obsess about your reputation online to the point where you become paranoid and constantly self-censor and let some oppressive future boss who won’t hire you dictate your life and b) when you are harassed and bullied, fight back hard, and if they need a taste of their own medicine, use it, do not fear sharp criticism, ad hominem attacks, and parody.I don’t know the SEO secrets, and wouldn’t bother with them if I knew them, so I don’t worry about “how I look”.I do marvel that figure like Umair Haque apparently use the skills and secrets of powerful ad firms like Havas to *keep themselves virtually anonymous and virtually free of any independent criticism online*.Umair has no Wikipedia entry. None. Zip. Not one that is controversial, argued over, short, hype — NONE. Because that’s what these firms apparently recommend — better not to have one, that attracts vandals, than have one that is fluffy but vulnerable.I wonder how he performs that neat trick. Tells anybody who makes one to take it down?And how does he keep only his version of his fabulous narrative on top? (Edelman does exactly the same — go search for them, and the critical Wikipedia on this controversial ad agency is pushed down). What, does he hire legions of people to type links and that one-line hypey biography about him and his boutique agency everywhere? How is this technically done, and why does Google allow this sort of spamming?Of course, something else is quite possible, that Umair has so many legions of fanboyz willing to sustain his utopian narrative that he really always rises to the top with that narrative.Meanwhile, I’ve seen the most outrageous attempts against me to try to harm my already controversial reputation, including geeks going to technical communities and pages intended to crowdsource information on malware pages, and trying to register my blog (!) there as if my speech is “malware” — something that took a lot of fighting to get to change, in part because of the cynical geeks in charge of these “crowdsourcing” pages refusing to police something like the misuse of their service to report *content* and not *bad scripts*.I’ve had Technorati simply blank a blog entry out of their search findings even with 250 cred under their old system because it was critical of a spimes project that Joi Ito invested in and held dear to his heart. Imagine! I complained loudly and it got back on eventually.I’ve had people file complaints to Google to me in an attempt to get my Ad Sense pulled — and I consistently fought back and had it restored (and not everyboy can do that even very wealth California lawyers — Google has absolutely no fair due process on this).I’ve had people spam my page with literally thousands of comments forcing Typepad to take it down temporarily.I’ve had people file false DMCA takedown notices on me as if I had “violated copyright” merely because I criticized their bad behaviour.And that’s not even counting the dozens of specious libel threats I’ve had.I’ve even had Fred Wilson (!) ask me to have coffee with him because he seemed curious as to why this person was calling him names. Few people would likely emerge after such a call from a venture capitalist (!) and keep criticizing the person. (I’m an upstart, not a start-up).Honestly, the new lords of the cloud that we have now as “thought leaders” exert a powerful means of control over people, intimidating them from legitimate and needed criticism in a democratic society. You have to be phenomenally persistent and sincerely dedicated not to be pushed under the bus or merged into the hive mind.

    1. kidmercury

      damn prokofy you’re bad ass

      1. fredwilson

        That she is. A high compliment

  35. Mihai Badoiu

    Yes, online slander is an issue. I am no stranger to this — several of my friends and colleagues have been affected by this. My guess is that this will only get worse, and will not be fixed anytime soon. Fixing it should not censure the internet. I am particularly fond of the free spirit of the internet, and I believe this is one of its strengths.What I did notice is that people without an online presence are hit the most, especially if they have a not so common name. For example, if somebody were to slander me and I had no online presence, then Google would return the slander as the first hit. All the cases of people affected that I know of involve uncommon names and negligible online presences.

  36. RacerRick

    I hope you didn’t lose any sleep over that dude.

  37. barryhurd

    Having a background in the recruiting and reputation side, I think Mike is pretty far out there thinking that people should just not worry about it. It almost sounds like he is advising people to ignore the “bad people” at the party and just live and let live.I really don’t agree. You need to realize what people are saying about you professionally and take appropriate actions to keep a good reputation, else a sixteen year old with a texting problem can wreck years of positive history.

  38. im2b_dl

    Fred there will always be people who want to spin for their own gain. I have it on a daily basis. There is nothing sweeter when the facts (publicly) end up baring them out wrong. lol. as evil as this sounds I love when people think they have one up on you and spread that news..and they find out as does everyone …they weren’t even close. ; ) As my salada teabag said “character is what you are when no one is in the room” me- Reputations come and go …rise and fall… your character is it’s foundation

  39. paramendra

    I read that Hacker News comment. Oh boy. That is quite an attack. But it is called being a public figure. You can’t have a Fred Wilson level of visibility and still come across only the guy next door kind of talk about you.I think you should give people an option to know who you are directly. But you can’t stop some people from not wanting to know who you really are, and only going on tangents like this anonymous dude at Hacker News. This guy obviously got carried away by all those Arrington pieces on “scamville” from months back. He knows nothing about you except what got told about you by inference in those posts by Arrington. I think Arrington put out a total of 22 posts. When was the last time he waged a campaign like that?TechCrunch is a great blog. But that behavior made me think maybe Mike Arrington is not exactly a crystal ball guy. He is not good at looking out on the cutting edge. My take on Farmville is it is the media savior. This Pincus guy could teach the media people what Steve Jobs can’t. I know Farmville. I am an avid player. I can vouch for it from my own experience. But if I did not know Farmville, and all I knew was that you were an investor, I’d think it was a sexy application, something out on the edges.But my compassion for Arrington is that this guy is just doing what he can to get some page hits for his blog. When he can create controversy around figures like Fred Wilson and Pincus and around popular apps like Farmville, that will get him some page hits, guaranteed. That is how a big chunk of media works. They don’t report on dog bit man. They report on man bit dog. That is the nature of the beast. The problem is sometimes they say man bit dog when there is no man and no dog around.Fred, if you are going to get bigger – I think you will, I think the 2010s will be your best decade yet – you should expect all kinds of talk about you, some of it outright nasty.But, hey, if there is someone who really wants to know who Fred Wilson is and what he is all about, all they have to do is drop by AVC.com, no appointments necessary.

    1. fredwilson

      That’s the point in a nutshell (the last paragraph)

  40. ronnichols

    The right way to do it is by actually being there, finding your focus on your specific niche market that will follow you because you provide them what they need. Get involved where they are already involved, so they can know more about you. Shape your social network profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and customize them according to your likes.Be honest, transparent and show exactly who you are.Join conversations, ask, share knowledge, create relationships and increase your network. Accept when you’re wrong and learn to listen!Good places apart from social networks are innovative Q&As like Startups.com or Aardvark

  41. laterzab

    After I read the post I looked for more on the web and found one on CNN particulary interesting – “A recent survey commissioned by Microsoft found that 70 percent of recruiters and hiring managers in the United States have rejected an applicant based on information they found online.”bit.ly/97zsA2

  42. Rob K

    Craig Newmark recently said something to the effect of (paraphrasing) “Trust is the new black” and “Trust/reputation management is the next killer app.” I think he may be on to something, although there is splendid irony about the fact that Craigslist hasn’t implemented even the most basic self-policing and ratings that eBay has.

  43. James Alexander

    Great thread…good thinking going on here. Anonymous defamation is like digital terrorism. As the volume of commenting goes up, human limitations for processing it will create new opportunities for digital capture, scoring and tracking. We already have quantitative financial reputations. What company will become the Fair Isaac of personal reputation?A computer doesn’t understand the squishy concept of ‘truth.’ But a negative comment says as much about the target of the comment as the person making it. A successful algorithm to quantify reputation will impact the reputations of both. Anonymous posters with habitually negative remarks will carry far less weight than any individual with a high reputation score.Advocacy is also an interesting concept here. I like the real life example where someone came to Fred’s defense. Advocacy is clearly taking hold on sites like LinkedIn with personal references so the model is being established. It would also seem that it is much more powerful to have someone else defend your position for you. If Microsoft does in fact have a ‘48 hour rule’ to wait for advocates and key influencers to weigh in, I wonder what the parallel will be for mere mortals. But here again, these challenges will create new business opportunities.In the end, I hope we don’t lose sight of the fact that good people can agree to disagree.

  44. Matt A. Myers

    Worry about your character and not your reputation: Worry about how you react to situations and learn from past mistakes, and remembering you did the very best you could at the time.And if you keep making mistakes, well then you’re not learning very well and maybe should try something differently. 😛

  45. Donna Brewington White

    Love this post! Thanks.

  46. msuster

    LOL! Oh, boy. Now I’ve just propagated my own worst press! 😉

  47. MikeSchinkel

    No problem, just be sure to wear kevlar gloves… 😉

  48. Mark Essel

    Hahah Charlie defending your gene pool “related by marriage”. Epic!

  49. ShanaC

    there has got to be an interesting back story to that.

  50. fredwilson

    You and the president have something in common charlie

  51. kidmercury

    that was uncalled for boss i don’t think you need to diss charlie like that

  52. Mark Essel

    Waitl you just turned a thumbs up into a ! Is that move even legal? That’s like elbowing your tag team partner of the top rope.Yo I visited your site in hopes of seeing more virtual currencies and contested the “random phrase”. :). Will have to Facebook connect in (no Disqus?)

  53. fredwilson

    Huh?

  54. kidmercury

    disqus disses vbulletin. i actually had a developer i work with try to create sign-on mod allowing people to login to vbulletin forums using the disqus login (like fb connect, but with disqus), but my developer ran into some issues with the disqus API that made it tough for him to really get something nice going. for some reason all these venture-backed companies diss vbulletin and drupal, i’m not sure why, they are major content management systems (it is not like they are only used by kooks like me). everybody bends over backwards to cater to wordpress and blogger though. pfft!lol the random phrase is the favorite part of my site…..i wonder how many propsective commenters have left bcause of it….lol

  55. kidmercury

    agreed, i hope barrysoetoro can rise above his corporate administration. hope he cantell us his real name as well.

  56. kidmercury

    lol it was just a joke, you compared charlie to soetoro in an innocuous way (saying that both were accused of being terrorists); my comment was meant to imply that any comparison to soetoro would be an insult. but i knew you did not mean it that way, so it was just a joke 🙂