If any of y'all are contacted by, or are considering blogging for, CitySceneBlog.com, my recommendation is, don't.

I saw the Craig's List ad, and inquired for more information. I received in response an email talking about "teach you how to make $100K by blogging", which wasn't a good sign. On the other hand, I thought it would be fun to blog about my city three times a week. And the owner required only what rights were needed to have the posts on the blog. So, even though you can't hang any weight on "will start paying our featured authors in 3-4 months", it seemed like a harmless venture. I joined up.

Right after my very first post, I got wind of this:

anatomy of a rip-off

Sean Bonner was taking issue with this upstart having a look-and-feel suspiciously similar to his own Metroblogging website. He did some research and turned up some URLs and email addresses that made CityScene's owner, Tim Gilberg, look, if not downright scammy, at least questionable. For details, click the link and read both the post and the comments.

Well, Mr. Gilberg started replying to Mr. Bonner's accusations in the comments thread of that blog post. You can also see his responses in this follow-up post. I was amazed by how much Mr. Gilberg sounded like the agents and publishers maligned here who pop in to "defend themselves"--in other words, fling around insults, deny the obvious, and threaten lawsuits at everyone even listening to the discussion.

While I myself am not convinced that Mr. Gilberg has done anything worse with CityScene than copy Metroblogging's look-and-feel, that in itself is a pretty heinous offense. And the fact that he is unrepentant about doing so (in a sort of "I'm not admitting it but if I had done it there'd be nothing wrong with it" way) is enough to make me cut all ties to his site. His rudeness and his threats don't help his case, either.

If you are considering blogging for Tim Gilberg at CitySceneBlog.com, I recommend reading what Sean Bonner of Metroblogging.com has to say about it, and how Mr. Gilberg chooses to field his accusations. I recommend comparing the two sites and deciding for yourself the likelihood of unethical copying. And I recommend following Mr. Bonner's research into Mr. Gilberg's online history and deciding what kind of picture it paints for you.

That is all. Thanks for reading,