Funny thing about rumors, they can come back to bite you in the butt. When rumors are written in such a way as to drive traffic or get buzz, and the heart of the rumor is patently untrue, it can make even the most trusting audience question your actions, method and reasons.
I guess that's what the difference is between a blogger and newspaper journalist. Journalists, 90% of the time verify before printing, and if they haven't verified, their editors turn around and make them verify and substantiate their facts. Bloggers have no one to answer to, but their audience. They can spread rumors that rage like a California wildfire in a matter of minutes.
If you have heard a rumor about someone, or about something, verify it by going to the source. Why run with a rumor, if you know the source so well and can ask them to verify it? Starting drama and stirring up "buzz" is the only reason I can think of right now, to do such a thing.
Such is the case with Rand's post about "Leaking Rumors... SES, SMX & Speaker Exclusivity". The title of the article just screams for you to link to it, but, you don't find out till the end that Kevin Newcomb's corrected the rumor. However, the damage is done within the first couple of paragraphs - Rand doesn't name names, but swears they are "good sources".
How hard would it have been for Rand to shoot Kevin, Tim or Rebecca an email to ask about this? To verify the rumor or debunk it? Not hard - I emailed Rebecca Lieb and within 20 minutes time, I had a response.
"Kevin’s post says it all – I don’t know where the rumor came from, but it’s patently untrue. Period. No exclusivity agreements are now, or will ever be, required of SES speakers."
What I find most disappointing about all of this, is the fact of how
this will start the animosity between all of the conferences and speakers, all
because of a rumor that got started for the sake of traffic, links and
Author's side note:
Rand, while I do respect you and all you've done with SEOMoz, I do question your action of spreading rumors, without substantiating them. Especially this one, that can start a lot of unneeded "worry".