Jason Calacanis – The Great Master Baiter

Jason Calacanis Master BaiterValley Boy Jason Calacanis recently spoke at the Affiliate Summit conference and as his usual style, tossed grenades and threw in a few useful thoughts for good measure. He is a brilliant guy no doubt, but most of what Jason does is talk about himself or one of his projects. He’s such a great guy, he’s the only one who knows how to do it right, Mahalo is it, life revolves around Jason, he wants everyone on the net to play by his rules, blah, blah, blah. It’s time to grow up Jason and stop focusing on yourself.

Jason Calacanis did create the rather notable web venture WebLogs Inc that he later sold for $25 million and has played around at Netscape and Sequoia Capital and is currently working on the joke of a search engine known as Mahalo. However, Jason is probably best known for dropping bombs through irrational statements at web conferences that bait people into visiting his sites or wasting time writing about him such as I’m doing with this post. He is the ultimate self-indulgent Internet entrepreneur. In effect, you could say that Jason is the Great Master Baiter.

Mr Calacanis’ latest fire spitting rant at Affiliate Summit took issue with almost all of the affiliate marketing community and how we are pathetic for posting checks on our blogs. I’ve posted a couple of checks here at Affiliate Confession strictly to motivate other affiliates and Internet marketers, but they are minuscule compared to the $300,000 checks he really takes issue with. That’s right, Jason Calacanis thinks it’s pathetic, sad and embarrassing that people like Zac Johnson displays a month’s worth of earnings that total over $300K. Well Jason, I’m sure hundreds of thousands of people disagree with you and think you are the embarrassing one throwing out bait the way you do.

Mr Calacanis thinks affiliate marketers should stop spamming the search engines and instead build much more useful sites that are beneficial in the long term to a large amount of people. While I agree with him that there are way too many affiliates not adding any benefit to the net and just creating spam, he couldn’t be any more off base about affiliate marketing in general. Good affiliate sites provide information to the user, a traffic channel to the merchant and yes, an income for the affiliate. Affiliate sites work because people use search engines to look for specific items or information and don’t go directly to the merchant.

I use Google at least 20 times a day because I don’t know the source of the information or the product I’m looking for and sometimes I end up on a site that has an affiliate link on it. In all fairness I have checked out Mahalo about 2 times, but I will never go there again because it’s just another useless search tool I don’t have time for and the 2 times I’ve used it, it gave me irrelevant results for my “log cabins” query. I was looking for a cabin rental Jason, not Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I could find that at the library, but thanks for wasting my time. Sorry, I won’t be back in 2 years or so when some editor decides to add a relevant search result.

Mr Calacanis thinks that the only reason affiliate marketers do what they do, is to make money. Well yes Jason we are out here to make money, but so isn’t every person who goes to work at the factory or office every day. Many affiliate marketers such as myself have been able to take the step away from the office and now work at home. We still have to make money to pay the bills and eat.

Jason instead only thinks in the rarefied air of his elitist Silicon Valley mentality and assumes it is as easy to create sites like Digg, StumbleUpon and Twitter (yea, there’s a useful site) as it is to start an affiliate project such as a BANS site. He suggests that it would be easy to add a couple more zeros to those $300,000 checks if we all just created more sites like Mahalo.

I’m not quite sure what would be easier; to create a multi-million dollar project on the net, or for Jason Calacanis to stop being such an attention whore?


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16 Responses to “Jason Calacanis – The Great Master Baiter”

  1. Hi Alan,

    New visitor – but just had to say thanks for the post – and there I was, thinking I’m the only person in the world that just does not get Mahalo.

    BTW – have to let you know I got here through Twitter (yep – did it after a year of procrastination – signed up two days ago) – and guess who pointed it out? One of the coolest people on the Web. So, you’ll have to join if you want to figure out who 😉

    Thanks again

  2. Alan who?

  3. Eric,

    And your comment is relevant to what?

  4. Wow.. he’s a good baiter then based on your post.

    Money is second priority, passion comes 1st.

  5. I like people who post about their earnings. It was what motivated me and made me believe that it can be done, and why not, maybe one day I will be able to make a living doing what I love. It’s definitely not shameful to show some checks. If I ever made a dime out of my blog, I’d post it, to motivate others. Good job Alan!

  6. Hey Alan. Thanks for the post and link back. I’m sure Jason is happy with the amount of exposure his keynote at Affiliate Summit is bringing towards himself and his blog.

  7. Well, in comparison he’s not nearly as big an asshole as dave winer. That’s something.

  8. The “Master Baiter”… haha but could not resist the play on words there, intentional or not! 😛
    I’ve never met Jason, but he seems like a pretty ruthless jerk.

  9. Wow. I thought I had strong opinions. Me thinks you are unfairly (and perhaps jealously) attacking someone who has been hugely successful on the internet. I’m no JC-fan, but can you not see any good in the man?

    It seems so easy for all the peons on the net (that’s us) to attack and barrage the big shots. Maybe instead of sitting in Palm Bay and firing cheap shots at the man, you should have taken all your affiliate income and gone to the summit – and maybe met Jason face-to-face. I can’t imagine that such a meeting wouldn’t have helped temper your backlash toward someone you’ve never met. Maybe it might have been a profitable meeting (as in friendship, not money).

    Oddly, the more successful we all become, the more we tend to be more narrow in our views (and more bold in pronouncing them) which does tend to alienate those who might otherwise learn from us. Maybe Jason (like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Mike Arrington, etc) has fallen victim to that weakness, but frankly, I think it is up to us to determine how we can learn from them – both their successes and failures – and then be our own person. Calling him an “attention whore” strikes me as not only uncharitable, but somewhat ironic. Aren’t we all doing the same thing as soon as we “publish” a blog? He’s just better at it, has done it longer, and has made a lot more money at it.

    In other words, be nice. Life is short. Love everyone.

    As an aside, you didn’t really have one objective criticism (that I could figure out) about Jason’s ideas in and of itself.

    Lastly, I want to believe Mahalo will do well, but I don’t know. I’ve used it a few times (all succesfully), but I always forget to use it when I just need general knowledge – I still tend to go to Wikipedia. But it is becoming a pretty good resource for basic encylopedia-type knowledge. But I welcome all comers to the SE marketplace. There are so many great ideas being tried and tested that will one day be helping all of us be smarter, work better. I love Google’s high-tech algorithms as much as I do Mahalo’s personal touch. I sure don’t want robots to rule the world!

  10. Hey Lawrence – I did say he is a briliant guy, didn’t I? I do recognize Jason has built businesses way beyond what most of us only dream of. I don’t feel I’m attacking him though, only defending the affiliate marketing space and those in it that he so rudely derides.

    Telling those at PayPerPost to go kill themselves, calling SEO “bullshit”, calling people pathetic who display $300,000 checks? That goes way beyond the mere marketing of products and yourself as a brand and into the realm of a publicity stunt (attention whore) when you have a captive audience such as at Affiliate Summit.

    To be fair to Jason, after reading the many negative posts about his speech I was angered and started to write an even more scathing criticism of the guy than what I published, but decided to listen to his talk first. I was a bit stunned at first because It really made me think about what we are doing in affiliate marketing and the responsibility we have, so much so that it literally took me all day to write the post.

    I could have responded more to what he said (I did somewhat in stating how I use Google and don’t mind using affiliate sites myself), but there is only so much you can say in a post before you start to bore your readers, so consequently, I responded to his negative comments.


  11. Jason who?

    Alan you’ve made a brilliant post. These self-indulgent celebrities really are nobodies to the rest of us on the internet. Who is Jason, what does he do? I don’t really care. I’ve seen mahalo, it’s a kiddie search engine, it doesn’t deliver real results and really is like a kindergarten wiki.

    So many people go to those conferences and get brainwashed into believing these toolshops are the future of the internet. JC is nobody. He is a no one, he is going nowhere, and he isn’t worth a cracker. Forget about the past, and look toward the future. I would much rather read about how someone made $300k last month, than how some relic of Netscape’s past thinks the net will go.

    Bye bye Jason, your days are over. Time to retire and put your tired celebrity out to pasture you clown.

  12. Jason Who,


  13. I think today’s TechCrunch (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/02/when-will-we-have-our-first-valleywag-suicide/) point on the recent Valleywag nonsense is a bit more of what I was alluding to. While you might think J.C. and others are fully capable of being berated by peons and minions because they are famous and often critical of others themselves, I still think you have a duty to be responsible and hold your tongue, so to speak.

    You seem to forget that these people are in fact people, created by God, and although they may have dumb ideas from time to time (don’t we all?), I hardly see how it benefits anyone here to read your character-bashing of someone you’ve never met (nor likely ever will after the above article).

    Seems as if the world is drifting ever faster into a bunch of lonely successful types. Everyone is right in their own eyes, cloistered in their dark cabins hunched over their keyboard, bashing everyone else that they’ve never even met in the real world. Bizarre.

    Personally, I read your blog because you are my friend, even though your subject matter isn’t very relevant to me. But I’m not feeling too good about that article about J.C. He hasn’t done anything to you at all – just challenged your notions of the way money should be earned on the internet. You can’t just decide that because you don’t like his ideas (despite his own track record) that you are going to attack his person. Saying he’s smart doesn’t undo the incredible personal attack you have smeared him with here. It’s unjustified, hardly Christ-like, and really doesn’t focus on the key points of his original argument. If you want to disagree with him, fine. Just don’t resort to ad hominem attacks. It accomplishes little and makes you look bad.

    Personally, I think you should withdraw the entire article – or write an update. If someone committed suicide because of your personal attack, would you then maybe feel a bit different about your attack?

    I was going to email this to you, but I happen not to be near my email machine right at the moment. Besides, I feel that if you can dish it out, you can take it (ha ha). Seriously, I have J.C.’s email address and I’ve thought about emailing him this so he can see it, but I don’t want to contribute to making him feel bad/angry/upset, etc, nor give you unnecessary link-bait yourself. I just think you should delete it and move on. It’s ugly all the way around.

  14. “If someone committed suicide because of your personal attack, would you then maybe feel a bit different about your attack?”

    I’m a little perplexed by that statement Lawrence, when it was Mr Calacanis who said that those who worked for PayPerPost should “kill themselves” in front of 2,500 people. He shows pictures of people displaying their $300K checks and then calls them pathetic in front of those same 2,500 people, that is an attack. Please listen to his speech.

    Besides calling him an attention whore, my writeup of him is hardly an attack. It is a defense of those that work in the industry I work in.

  15. Ugh, I wish this guy would just fall off the face of the earth. I love to see people doing well – it’s great to see technology enabling people to make more money in ways that work for them. Guess what – barring major medical expenses, there’s not a person in the world that needs even $300k. To call someone pathetic for not earning more is just…well, pathetic.

  16. I have never liked Jason Calcanis, and not because of his success, but because of his self-professed arrogance about…..well – everything!

    As Alan pointed out – he puts his foot in his mouth and just comes off as an unprofessional egotistical boob. Successful or not, you don’t come off well degrading people.

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