How Transparent Is Michael Arrington?
After an intern payola scandal, Arrington issues an apology
On Thursday, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington apologized to his readers for a payola scandal involving one of his interns. Arrington said the colleague in question was given an Apple computer in exchange for covering a start-up tech company. After confirming the bribe, Arrington "terminated" the internship and removed the boy's blog posts from the TechCrunch Web site:
We are all shaken here at TechCrunch - this is someone who was our friend and who we trusted to be honest with our readers. Our hope is that the intern learns something from this experience and grows into the kind of person that will be more welcome in this community.
I apologize to each one of you. I promise that we will always maintain complete transparency with you on how we operate, even when it isn't such an easy thing to do.
Since issuing the apology, tech bloggers have praised Arrington for being forthright and transparent. "Well done to Mike," wrote Jason Calacanis. "[He handled] every publisher/editor's worst nightmare... with complete transparently." Loc Le Meur gave the most resounding applause:
Awesome move by Michael Arrington at TechCrunch to post as soon as possible...Kudos to TechCrunch for being upfront about it before someone reveals it and jeopardizes the entire credibility of the team and damages the brand... We're in a world where companies like Zappos thrive because they are transparent and honest, answering 24h/24 their customers in public on Twitter and even advising them to call competition if they do not have what you want.
On the other hand, some say Arrington hasn't been transparent enough. Mark Hopkins at Silicon Angle says the TechCrunch editor shouldn't have deleted the intern's work:
While it may make sense from the perspective of a business person protecting his many interests, taking down the blog posts that Daniel put out over the course of his nine months at the company is exactly the opposite of the transparency