The website of paid-for corporate blogger Steven Forrest, Free2Innovate.net, has disappeared from the Net.
Which is a shame because I was planning to archive all the biased nonsense – written by PR man and pseudo-journalist Bill Hobbs – before the domain expires on 19 December.
Mr Hobbs, who admits making a chunk of his income being paid by companies to blog anonymously, is widely assumed to have acted for VeriSign – something that became swiftly apparent to anyone that reviewed his coverage of the dotnet and dotcom contracts, and, in fact, any issue whatsoever that affected VeriSign’s bottomline.
However, all posts on the site stopped in July this year when journalist Kevin Murphy, followed swiftly by blogger Brett Fausett and myself, outed “Steven Forrest” as Hobbs. Nothing else appeared after a 25 July posting which ironically quoted some article I had written.
What is Mr Hobbs doing? Well, somewhat ironically, he is championing the cause of bloggers, laying into a New York Times reporter only yesterday who had criticised bloggers for not following “the standards and ethics of the journalism industry”.
Would you believe it but Mr Hobbs disagrees with this. And he should know. I think I know which I’d rather go with given the choice of reading Judith Miller writing under her own name and with a strong sense of professional objectivity, or reading the words of someone writing under a false name and being paid by a company to push its corporate interests.
But it gets better, Mr Hobbs is also complaining about abusive comments left on his blog and has banned someone from his site. But he is keen to stress he has a broad policy on people’s comments and debate. Have been at the end of countless personal attacks from Mr Hobbs when I was reporting facts and he was reporting misinformation, fear, bias, emotive nonsense and paid-for corporate cock, my sympathy is not overwhelming.
Still, Steven Forrest and his site is dead so we need not worry about its reporting poisoning the debate surrounding the Internet any longer. Rest in Peace.