Is it Duncan Riley, or is it Techmeme?

This one is a real can of worms in more ways than one, but I can’t help myself. I recently came across (as many other people have, judging by my FriendFeed and Google Reader shared items) a piece by Duncan Riley at his new site, Inquisitr, in which he embarked on a fairly extended rant about Techmeme and how he believes he has been slighted by Gabe Rivera and the secret tweaks he makes to the ranking system on the site. Duncan’s overall message seems to be that he doesn’t mind — and yet, you can tell that it rankles more than a little that he hasn’t had a post appear on Techmeme in over a month.

One of Duncan’s theories (which he tosses out there almost as an aside) is that Mike Arrington’s friendship with Gabe has something to do with it — both because TechCrunch’s posts show up even when Duncan argues they really shouldn’t (because they have no links to them), and because he believes that Mike has something to do with his lack of presence on Techmeme. Why would that be? Didn’t Duncan used to write for Mike? He sure did, and Mike and the rest of the TC team said lots of nice things about him when he left to start Inquisitr — although Mike’s post doesn’t seem to turn up any more at the old link.

So what happened? No one really knows. But there are some tea leaves, if you’re into that sort of thing. Valleywag was the first to note that there was some coolness to the relationship, after Duncan mentioned a person he thought was a friend getting upset and freezing him out over a relationship with a competitor. At about the same time, Mike posted a cryptic Twitter message saying something about people he thought were friends — and Inquisitr started running company snapshots from TradeVibes, which competes head-to-head with Mike’s CrunchBase (I bet posts like this probably aren’t going to help either).

So is there some kind of conspiracy to keep Duncan off Techmeme? That seems pretty hard to believe (Gabe even makes a joking comment on Duncan’s post via FriendFeed). Gabe has always struck me as the straight-forward type — although I admit that I wonder sometimes about posts that appear on Techmeme without any links to them — and the idea that Mike would try to keep him off because of some childish falling out seems absurd. But I guess we don’t have to worry about it too much, because Duncan claims he doesn’t really care.

10 thoughts on “Is it Duncan Riley, or is it Techmeme?

  1. No one will know – ever – unless Gabe publishes his code. He's unlikely to do that, so this [type of accusation] will remain unprovable in either direction.

    I've met Gabe & Mike and have seen them interact. Gabe came off as socially awkward (not that there's anything wrong w/ that), and seemingly very interested in what Mike A thought. But that was 2 1/2 years ago. No idea if my impression means anything to anyone but me – but I clearly saw a behavior that could have morphed into this.

    Did it? No effing idea.

  2. So I learned of Duncan's odd little war with Mike when he complained (without merit) that TechCrunch interlinking was gaming Techmeme. That gave way to accusations that he'd been banned, which gave way to my favorite so far: that Mike asked me to manually remove one particular link to Duncan's blog, while leaving the rest intact. At that point I knew I was part of the story in Duncan's head, and said as much here http://friendfeed.com/e/2edaf624-8301-4f12-a1bc… (see “please disregard…”).

    John: that's the most socially awkward thing I've read all week. If we ever meet again, whoever you are, could you not…study me…so much? Thanks.

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    • I admit it probably doesn't interest that many people, but it
      interests me — and it's my blog, which means (I'm pretty sure) that I
      get to write about whatever I want. By definition, some things are
      only going to appeal to a small number of people — and some
      (possibly) might appeal to none at all. Plus, it was late at night 🙂

  4. I find it interesting that if Duncan doesn't get on Techmeme it's bc Gabe doesn't like him. If Scoble doesn't get on Techmeme it's bc Scoble has shifted his focus and doesn't care about Techmeme. If I don't get on Techmeme I guess it's just cuz other people have more interesting content than me? No slag to all the “A” listers (whatever you wanna call them) but often I've written things and then days later months later they do and they end of on Techmeme and I didn't. I don't take it personally. I don't think Gabe hates me (actually i'm quite sure in my case Gabe has no clue who i am). That's just the way the “A” list blogger ball bounces.

  5. I admit it probably doesn't interest that many people, but it
    interests me — and it's my blog, which means (I'm pretty sure) that I
    get to write about whatever I want. By definition, some things are
    only going to appeal to a small number of people — and some
    (possibly) might appeal to none at all. Plus, it was late at night 🙂

  6. I find it interesting that if Duncan doesn't get on Techmeme it's bc Gabe doesn't like him. If Scoble doesn't get on Techmeme it's bc Scoble has shifted his focus and doesn't care about Techmeme. If I don't get on Techmeme I guess it's just cuz other people have more interesting content than me? No slag to all the “A” listers (whatever you wanna call them) but often I've written things and then days later months later they do and they end of on Techmeme and I didn't. I don't take it personally. I don't think Gabe hates me (actually i'm quite sure in my case Gabe has no clue who i am). That's just the way the “A” list blogger ball bounces.

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