Well-known and outspoken entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, founder of blog network Weblogs, Inc (now a part of AOL), has walked into a potential mea culpa by publicly challenging Blogads, one of the blog world’s earliest franchises.
On technology blog Valleywag, Mr. Calacanis was asked about rumors he was planning to compete against Blogads, arguably the largest blog advertising network. Here’s what he had to say:
Q. So, poor Henry Copeland [of Blogads]. You’re finally coming after him.
A. That’s like Michael Jordan going after a 12-year old in a game of 1-on-1.
Subtle, right? But instead of letting Mr. Calacanis’ snide (yet typically boastful) remark fade, as it initially appeared it would (“Jason…makes me smile”, went Mr. Copeland’s first post), today Mr. Copeland posed an interesting challenge on the Blogads weblog, proposing a $10,000 wager on which network– his Blogads, or Weblogs, Inc– earned more money for its bloggers last year:
“…Let’s talk about the key performance metric. Does Jason want to put his big money where his bigger mouth is? I’ll wager $10,000 that in 2006 Blogads earned more for bloggers than did WIN. After all, blogger earnings is the true measure of a blog business, right?
What kind of odds would Michael Jordan give a twelve-year-old in a game of 1-on-1? A million to 1? Maybe 10,000 to 1… with the MJ blindfolded and his shoes tied together?
Well, this twelve-year-old would be happy with 10 to 1 odds, Jason’s $100K to my $10K. If those odds make Jason queazy, I’d be happy to discuss something gentler.
Jason apparently got $25 million from AOL and is the Michael Jordan of blog businesses, so he’s got the cash to toss on the table. Does he have the guts?”
Blogads owns much well-deserved respect within the blogosphere, so I’m a bit surprised to see them coming out swinging like this, particularly considering Mr. Calancanis’ fairly well-known reputation as a person who enjoys self-promotion, stunts, and often uses braggadocio in his personal writings. Frankly, I don’t see what Blogads could gain from this wager– as Mr. Copeland writes in his post, his network is a clear winner in terms of customer feedback; and with AOL’s recent jettisoning of several of the lower-trafficked Weblogs, Inc titles, it seems a bit like a bit of an off comparison to pit Blogads distributed network of ad carriers against the now-streamlined Weblogs, Inc. network of blogs.
Considering all that– plus the fact that Blogads is likely to win the wager by a large margin– I expect Mr. Calacanis to either ingnore this come-on completely, or else shoot back with some variety of mis-direction, changing of the terms, or some other similar stunt.
As Paul Giamatti once said in an interview (and I’m paraphrasing), “It’s not the competition. It’s the challenge.”
UPDATE: In a comment on this post, Mr. Calacanis calls this a “silly bet”.