Accusation, Denial, Anger, Acceptance...
Techcrunch did three articles regarding the apparent handing over of IPs for users. Last.fm claim that techcrunch are full of shit (literally, they aren’t pulling any punches). This is retarded on both ends of the stick.
So now I’m going to go all Mediawatch on your arse!
First, let’s go for my small beef: Techcrunch appears to be acting like tabloid journalism. To some extent, I buy the idea that they did try and check with last.fm before publishing their articles, but they basically haven’t provided very much evidence, if any. The last.fm guys basically have some right to be angry with the way Techcrunch have handled this.
However, maybe it’s their britishness, but the way last.fm have handled this has been awful. When rumours about your site come up, you have to take them seriously, and answer them using the most official channels possible, or at least with your serious voice. The crap they put on twitter, and the sheer pompousness of their denial is quite off-putting:
I denied it vehemently on the Techcrunch article, as did several other Last.fm staffers. We denied it in the Last.fm forums, on twitter, via email â€“ basically we denied it to anyone that would listen, and now weâ€™re denying it on our blog.
It smells a bit like “How could you not already know that this is all lies!? We're really offended now.” — I get that it’s your company and you care for it’s credibility, but you’re not helping it by talking down to everyone who is holding you to account. Deny it plainly and with some humility.
The real kicker is from the forum comment:
I hope that CBS will issue their own denial soon, but the wheels of large companies run slowly
Wait, what? You cannot make excuses for friggin' CBS. They are the new owners of the company. If they don’t care about your users, then your users really ought to shop elsewhere. CBS have also denied the accusations, but that’s beside the point here. If I walked into a shop and asked about a shirt, and the chick behind the counter was all “I could talk to you, but the wheels of a large company runs slowly”, I’d get the fuck out of there.
There are other things which the folks at last.fm ought to know not to do:
The article claims that â€œThis sourceâ€™s information comes directly from Last.fm employees who he has spoken with.â€� Nobody at Last.fm knows anything about such a leak.
Repeat after me: Waterboarding your employees, Australia says no!
OK, unless there’s three people working at last.fm HQ and they’re all the company’s founders, you can’t ethically ask your employees whether they’ve been leaking this sort of information. Of course they’re going to say “no”, but the fact that you asked has put them in a tough situation, one they really shouldn’t be put in. Whistleblowers are an important part of an accountable society.