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What does PandoDaily mean for technology journalism and technology PR?

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 17th January 2012

Earlier this month, I wrote a piece for Econsultancy looking at the changing fortunes of technology blogging and what it meant for those of us that work in technology PR.

As the saying goes, you wait and wait for a new technology blog and then two come along at once (or something like that). For not only has the last month given us the launch of the Kernel (and if you haven’t read Max’s two blog posts with Editor Milo Yiannopoulos then you should) but, yesterday, we bore witness to the debut of new US startup technology blog PandoDaily (named after, er, trees).

Technorati? Tick.

And boy does this new offering have some pretty powerful geek-celebrities behind it. It’s founded by Sarah Lacy, former senior editor at Techcrunch and features guest columnists Michael Arrington (ex-Techcrunch), MG Siegler (ex-Techcrunch) and Paul Carr  (ex-Techcrunch). (Notice any trends?)

Clearly there are political maneuverings galore playing out here as you can tell from Lacy’s fairly lengthy (hopefully she’ll be more concise in future) introductory blog post where she talks a lot about not selling out (*cough* AOL *cough*) before dropping a caveat that she might sell one day…

But politics aside, it will be interesting to see what this new technology blog brings. There are many in the industry that feel Techcrunch has lost its way (if not its traffic and influence yet) and the development of sites like TNW and, of course, the Kernel has made this little media ecosystem more varied in recent times.

And, just to add a little bit more spice into the whole affair, it is interesting to note that the list of 17 individual investors that have stumped up $2.5m in funding for PandoDaily read like a Who’s Who of Silicon Valley – Marc Andreessen, Peter Thiel, Tony Hseih (Zappos), Zach Nelson (NetSuite), Andrew Anker, Chris Dixon (FounderCollective), Saul Klein (IndexVentures), Josh Kopelman (First Round Capital) , Jeff Jordan (ex-CEO, Open Table) and Matt Cohler (ex-Facebook & Benchmark Capital). It seems there are others too that are betting on there being space for at least one more tech startup commentator in town.

[And to be fair to Lacy she admits that many will see the potential conflict of having these guys supporting a publication that might well write about their interests…]

Good times for technology PR

But for the technology PR industry and the technology startup clients we represent, this move can only be seen as a positive one. And it is interesting to note some of Lacy’s comments about exclusives and embargos in what will be an increasingly fraught media environment:

“We are insanely competitive. We want to break every story. But we also want to bring more civility into the blogosophere. We’ll link to people who beat us on a story and be good sports about it, as much as it pisses us off… 

“And yes, we’ll honor embargoes, but here’s how it works. That thing on the left side of the homepage is called the PandoTicker. It will contain every piece of notable news that happens every day in the startup ecosystem… But here’s the thing about the PandoTicker: Each post will only be a paragraph long, with one sentence of our analysis… Think of the PandoTicker as the news and information you can find elsewhere, we just want to make it easier on you.

“If we don’t have value to add, we won’t waste your time with a longer post.”

[my emphasis]

This is an interesting approach and relates back to the point I was making in my Econsultancy post on the importance of value in blogging. Lacy is clear that this is becoming a commoditised space and, that to survive, original content is where it’s at. That lays down the gauntlet to tech startups and technology PRs to create content that adds value and stands up against the competition.

So for all the firepower behind the site mentioned above, it is this last point that makes it particularly interesting to me. It’ll be interesting to see if it is able to carve out a niche for itself.

Danny Whatmough