Blogger Wars: How Jason Calacanis Gets Even

Nick Denton (pictured left) likes to use his blog Valleywag to take shots at competitors – his most recent attack was on Jason Calacanis (on right), who founded and then cashed out of the blog network Weblogs, Inc. Denton has always played second fiddle to Jason, never quite achieving the same level of success. Many say this is because he can’t handle it when his writers get more attention than he does, and he finds subtle ways of undermining them. His recent firing and public trashing of writer Nick Douglas certainly lends credibility to this rumor.

Yesterday Denton used fuzzy math and incorrect statements of fact to suggest that Jason’s most recent project, a relaunch of Netscape, is falling apart. It turns out Denton didn’t factor in the fact that Netscape moved millions of email accounts over to a new domain name, which resulted in the drop in traffic. Denton was wrong, but didn’t correct the post even after Jason left comment corrections. We have certainly taken our own shots at the new Netscape here at TechCrunch, but Denton’s post just reeks of a poorly researched hit job.

Jason fires back today by lobbing a subtle but potentially devastating bomb into Denton’s back yard. He writes a post about one of Denton’s top bloggers, Gina Trapani at Lifehacker. Disguised as a tribute to the blog, Jason notes that revenue must be $400k – $1 million/year and says Gina is the “one blogger I wished we had landed at Weblogs, Inc.” He also says “She’s grown LifeHacker from nothing to 7M pages last month–that’s big time.” He continues:

The one blogger I wished we had landed at Weblogs, Inc. was Gina Trapani from LifeHacker. I tried every two months for a year I think… no offer was good enough. Very, very frustrating. :-)

This post should cost Denton – Gina is clearly going to be getting a flurry of attention and competing offers. At the very least it gives her significant salary negotiating leverage. Whatever the outcome, Jason has made one thing clear – take a shot at him and he’ll try to make it as financially painful for you as possible.