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Duncan Riley Accuses Us Of Spamming Him


**Update10.21.07 6:22 pm**

The link below is to a scraper blog, not any site owned or maintained by Duncan Riley. This was my mistake.  and I apologize to him for the error.  The post was originally listed on TechCrunch but was removed within a few minutes.

Duncan has responded in the comments section and at his own blog.  I have left a comment below and at his site as well.


At least he strongly suggests it with this post:

I’ve had some private discussions with the organizers before about the conference, and I’m certain that Michael will be providing good coverage of it, which is why I’m somewhat dismayed to note that they are spamming bloggers in an attempt to get people to attend.

So lets clear the air. We are not spamming anyone period. The company who sent the clumsy email (particularly given the nature of the post they referenced) to Duncan is OuterJoin. They are an exhibitor in our show. They offered to send some emails to bloggers on our behalf to help promote the show and we thought it was a good idea. I still do.

We are trying to attract as many bloggers from as many different communities as possible to this event and do something that hasn’t ever been done before. We are doing it because I personally love this medium and want to see it grow. I want to see my fellow bloggers prosper and succeed and I think it is going to be a boat load of fun! Trust me I wouldn’t be losing sleep taking the time to respond to something like this if I didn’t love it. So we are glad to have people like OuterJoin’s help in letting people know about the show. Believe me we are using every ethical method we can think of to get the word out and we still haven’t even scratched the surface. No matter what number you believe 15 million active blogs, or 40 million or 80 million it is a huge number and there is no way we are going to reach everyone all by ourselves.

Sally Falkow responded to a similar message just the other day and asked about attending and covering the event. Brian at Outerjoin forwarded it on to me and I got back to her right away. Several other people have replied with emails, glad to have heard from us/ Outerjoin and registered to attend.

So lets come back to Duncan. I don’t know Duncan Riley. In fact until I received a Skype message from another BlogWorld exhibitor linking to this Twitter post from Duncan I didn’t even know who he was:

I heard a rumor yesterday that I was dropped from the Blog Expo in Vegas due to a sponsor request.

04:52 AM September 20, 2007 from twitterrific

Now I found that strange as we had never to my knowledge invited Duncan to speak in the first place and no exhibitor had ever mentioned his name to me let alone asked me to drop him as a speaker. For the record no exhibitor has asked me to drop any speaker and I am the guy they would come to with that kind of request. As soon as I heard about the Twitter post, I found out who Duncan was and then told him exactly that and invited him to speak:

Hi Duncan,

Jim Turner at OnebyOne media alerted me to your Twitter post.

Honestly I have no idea where that came from and I am the guy any sponsor would talk to about something like that. No sponsor has ever asked me to “drop” a speaker. Lots of them want to push their own speakers =p but no requests to 86 someone.

Did we ever have you scheduled to speak?

We would love to have you join us and have Mike in the program already. I am confused. It’s late. Send me an email and clue me in.

Best regards and….

Blog on!
Rick Calvert, CEM
CEO & Co-founder
BlogWorld & New Media Expo
1804 Garnet Ave. #518
San Diego, CA 92109
Ph. 858.309.4747 ext. 102
Fx. 858.430-3491
cell 951.723-7157
Skype rick.calvert

He never told me who started this “rumor” and I never heard from him again. Then today someone else sends me a link to his latest post slagging our show. I tried to leave a comment on his site but got a message that comments were closed. I thought about sending him another email but figured if he could publicly accuse us of spamming him without the courtesy of an email (I had already shown that I would reply promptly if an issue was brought to my attention) I needed to respond accordingly.

Duncan did send an email to Brian at Outerjoin and stated on his blog that he had not yet received a reply. I asked Brian about it and he forwarded me Duncan’s original email to him and his reply nine hours later. Seeing as we have a huge difference in timezones, I think Brian’s response was a timely one. Here is the exchange:

Sent: Tuesday, October 16, 2007 10:01 AM

Subject: Re: Come Join Us at the World’s Largest Blogging Conference

Hi Duncan,

Not sure sure what happened when I sent this…caffeine overload maybe? I didn’t realize you’ve already talked to Rick and/or Dave. If you’re still interested in speaking, would you like me to inquire from my end?

Let me know.

Sent: Tuesday, October 16, 2007 1:01 AM

Subject: Re: Come Join Us at the World’s Largest Blogging Conference

I know Michael is speaking, I write for TechCrunch. I’m not sure whether to take this as spam or not, particularly given that I’ve already discussed with the organizers the rumor that I wasn’t invited due to a sponsor. In fact the face that you’ve pulled out a random post on my personal blog makes this sound a lot like spam.

Best of luck with it.

As you can see Brian received the message at 1 AM in the morning and unlike me typing this message at 3 AM was most likely in bed. Duncan has not updated his post with Brian’s reply. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he is bed and just hasn’t read the reply yet.

For the record, I am the organizer. We never had a conversation. I sent him an email letting him know this “rumor” was BS and inviting him to come to the event and that was the end of it. Beyond that why would an exhibitor in our show have any idea about that?

Duncan never Twittered that I had told him the rumor was BS. Did he?

So until now the only two people who knew anything about this “conversation” were Duncan Riley and me.

let me try to close on a high note and extend the olive branch again, Brian at OuterJoin made a very clumsy mistake, he knows it and acknowledged as much. I want to apologize to Duncan for that on our behalf. Particularly due to the nature of the post Brian referenced and the fact that Duncan admires Matt Price. Receiving an email like that might get me a little riled as well and I might post something before I gave someone the benefit of the doubt too.

Finally if anyone ever gets anything from us, or someone working on our behalf that you believe to be spam please let me know about it rick@blogworldexpo.com and it will stop.

Blog on!
Rick Calvert
CEO & Co-founder
BlogWorld & New Media Expo


  • Leesa Barnes

    Duncan is craving for the attention he neither gets at home or at work and boy, did you give it to him. It’s funny because it appears that whenever someone blogs something negative about someone else, the offended bends over backwards to appease the offender.

    Posting a response to Duncan was the right decision. Offering him a chance to speak was the wrong one. You shouldn’t reward bad behaviour with favours.

  • Dave Taylor

    Sounds like the common “stirring of the pot” to generate some heat and infamy. I too got the email message and though it was, at best, clumsy, but sheesh, given the ghastly appalling spam I get every day, an invite to attend what’s going to be a great conference is hardly anything to worry about in my opinion!

    Anyway, I think you have been more than fair, Rick, and both of us have put quite a bit of effort into being transparent with our decisions regarding speakers and sessions too, albeit while everything kept changing at a dizzying rate.

    I’m sorry that Duncan feels that, I dunno, we’re out to get him? But I can unequivocally say that it’s absolutely NOT the case and that even at this late date I’d love to talk with Duncan about having him moderate a session or otherwise get involved. Goodness knows we’d love to have him join us in Vegas! 🙂

  • Rick

    Thank you for the kind words Leesa.

  • Old School Bill

    I am new to the world of blog, please correct me if I am wrong, is it not about communicating, getting a different perspective, seeing a different side of the story. Letting people know what’s going on in you world?

  • Barry Ritholtz

    I got an unsolicited commercial email from blogworldexpo@gmail.com advertising:

    Discount pricing expires Oct.19th…hurry! Save up to 25% on registration for the World’s Largest Blogging Tradeshow and Conference!

    That sure looks and sounds like Spam to me . . .

  • TC

    So this whole Memeorandum thing is just another play?


    Nothing personal, but some folks noticed. You Marios play the Meme ratings like small little fiddles.

  • TC

    You guys cut me off for saying the obvious?

  • Rick


    I will contact you directly to make sure you don’t get any more of those emails.


    I don’t really know what you are talking about. Could you elaborate?

  • Duncan

    I’m interested to know how exactly I’m suppose to change a post on a spam blog (the one you’ve linked to) which isn’t mine. The post wasn’t interesting enough for TechCrunch and was pulled in less than 5 minutes after going up…so basically there is NOTHING to correct because simply it’s not published at the source.

    As for these attacks that I’m some how desperate for attention is bizarre, I write for a publication with a readership in excess of 1 million people with over 600,000 RSS subscribers so I find the commenter attacks odd to say the least, and certainly seem to be motivated by my prior business relationships. There are far, far more important stories in the world and I’ve probably written 50-100 posts since this time, none of which related to your convention, and some of which have been quoted extensively in the mainstream media, including TV.

    End of the day I corresponded with a number of people involved with your conference, received apologies and what not and was happy to leave it at that, particularly given that my original post is not live at the source. If anyone is attempting to gain free and cheap publicity it’s you Rick, not me.

    As for the invite stuff on Twitter: I heard rumor, posted it on Twitter, heard from a number of sources that it wasn’t true and left it at that. If this was a major issue (which it never was) I would have blogged it: I didn’t and to this date I’ve done nothing more than repeat a rumor someone told me on my Twitter stream that is read by maybe no more than a couple of hundred people, most of whom I know….and I’d note there has probably been hundreds, if not thousands of tweets after that, none of which were in relation to the rumor, because that’s how little I cared for it. I understand and respect that when you’re involved in an event it’s easy to become rapped up and obsessed by it, but seriously Rick, get a grip and some perspective. It sounds like a great event and unfortunately I can’t attend, but I still wish everybody else the best with it, even if I’m now somewhat hesitant to extend those well wishes to you.

  • Rick

    1. never attacked you.
    2. you attacked me at least three times now.
    3. I apologized for anything we may have done to offend you and the actions of our exhibitor and our part in it.
    4. You have yet to apologize for spreading an untrue rumor that you have since learned was false.
    5. I am correcting my error in this post attributing the scraper blog to be yours.

  • Steve O'Reilly

    Duncan – You really are delusional. You say you heard a “rumor” on Twitter that your speaking spot had been canceled. Yet you knew you hadn’t been invited to speak because, well, you hadn’t been invited to speak? How in the world then is it a “rumor” that your spot had been canceled?

    Also, you say “If this was a major issue (which it never was) I would have blogged it: I didn’t and to this date I’ve done nothing more than repeat a rumor someone told me on my Twitter stream that is read by maybe no more than a couple of hundred people, most of whom I know..”

    YOU DID BLOG IT ON TECHCRUNCH.COM which is read by nearly a million people via RSS according to their own Feedburner chicklet. It doesn’t matter that it was taken down – it went into the RSS feed and was read by probably hundreds of thousands of people.

    So stop your foolish nonsense of repeating “rumors” and denying the blog post. Get some accountability and quit hiding under a rock.

    You posted it, you wrote it, and now it’s out there. Deal with it like a mature adult – if you can.

  • Duncan

    when I said dropped I meant wasn’t invited: removed from the invite list (ie dropped). At no stage have I suggested (or for that matter am I aware) was I ever going to speak or what not…indeed this is all news to me, unless Steve it is you with the dillusional issues.

    As for responsibility I take for responsibility because simply its true. I’ve received two spam emails from people claiming to be representing BlogWorldExpo. I’ve privately been told that these were either (or both) sent in error or by people who shouldn’t have sent them, I had happily accepted that and thought it was the end of the matter, particularly given there is NO public record to correct (and by correct I mean add the response because end of the day the facts are true: I received spam claiming to be from BlogWorldExpo).

    you’ve accused me of lying over the spam which constitutes a personal attack in my country, even if it doesn’t in you.

    Having said that given that you feel so strongly about one Tweet amongst thousands I have done, I humbly and sincerely apologise for putting it up. It’s really not that big a deal, so I’ve got no issues at all with apologising over it. Now if only you’d stop accusing me of lying and leading this bizarre hate campaign against me!

  • Rick Calvert

    Apology accepted. Let’s call the whole thing a big misunderstanding. I am not trying to lead any “hate campaign” against you. I don’t know you which is why I couldn’t understand why you would spread rumors about us.

    Again just to be clear I never accused you of lying. Please correct me if I am wrong and show me where I said it.

    I think you and I have a different definition of Spam. The email Outerjoin sent you was not Spam. A real person found your blog, via someone else’s blog roll, or some other means, manually found your contact info, and then sent you an email about an event that is directly related to your interest as a blogger and in fact your profession. They sent this email from their personal email account, signed it with their real name and invited you to reply.

    That’s not Spam. Now the person who did it was ham handed and clumsy absolutely and has since apologized for it. I have also apologized for it. (not something a spammer would do).

    The other email in question came from our newsletter. We use a third party service that has strict policies against spam, if we violated those rules (more than 1 complaint per 1000 emails sent) they would suspend our account. They haven’t so again we are not spamming people.

    The newsletter has an opt out option and a spam complaint option. I have no idea how you got on that list, but your email address has been removed now and is in our suppression file. You won’t get any more newsletters from us.

    Those are the facts as I see them and I can let bygones be bygones if you can 8).

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