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My 3 Big Beefs with A TechCrunch Writer and Her Article Featuring 500 Startups-Backed Kibin

My 3 Big Beefs with A TechCrunch Writer and Her Article Featuring 500 Startups-Backed Kibin


Kathleen Blackwell (aka "Tech Bitch" for the purpose of this article)

Okay, so I should probably entitle this article “Tech Bitch,” as that’s the way I’m going to sound, alas I can’t hold back anymore. I suppose I am prompted to let go here based upon an article I read earlier today that was posted in the Los Angeles Startup Digest Reading List for this week. The article? “Getting Users For Your New Startup,” in which author Philip Kaplan (Pud’s Blog), simply states to “Start Controversy.”

Here we go. Ready?

I have three big beefs and it’s in regards to another article I read today. TechCrunch writer, Alexia Tsotsis, wrote about 500 Startups-backed Kibin in an article titled, “Editing Community Kibin Helps You Proofread Your Writing Fast And For Free.” Tsotsis writes, “Kibin is an editing community that allows you to upload a piece of writing and get it edited and proofread for free in a matter of 24 hours.” Tsotsis then goes on to make this statement, “You have no idea how much I want this to succeed.”

Great! Me too. The problem I’m having with Alexia Tsotsis’ statement is that I don’t believe she really wants this startup to succeed and as a practicing editor and writer myself, that totally bums me out. Why do I feel this way? To be honest, it’s because I think an editing service like Kibin is desperately needed. They are aiming to fill a market void with a creative approach and when I heard the concept emerge as one of the favorites at 500 Startups Demo Day earlier this week, I was thrilled…until I read Tsotsis’ TechCrunch article today.

My 3 Big Beefs:


The proofreading example provided by Tsotsis showing how Kibin works had a huge, glaring, grammatical, this-is-not-rocket-science mistake. Whether the example provided was insisted upon by Kibin, or not, or whether Tsotsis drummed it up herself, I feel that since Tsotsis appears to post her own articles, she had an editorial responsibility to at least review the example, find the this-is-not-so-rocket-science mistake and as a common courtesy to Kibin, ask that they provide another example.

Kibin – Proofreading Example – TechCrunch


Tsotsis’ article had several obvious mistakes, er typos. I realize that she specifically states in her article,

“I’m sure there at least 20-30 mistakes in this post even but I just don’t have the time to figure out which ones they are. Also, I am typo-blind. Anyways my point is there’s a market for this.” She also writes, “…This will be a godsend for bloggers, who — I don’t have to tell you guys this — usually sacrifice grammar and punctuation for speed.”

Hmm. Outside of at least one, although arguably three, mistakes above, my main and only point here is since this article does not necessarily fall under the guise of a breaking news story, maybe Tsotsis (and Kibin) would have been better served had she just spent one more minute pretending like she cares and proofing her own work…or using Kibin herself, which leads me to my biggest beef here in point number three.


From a PR perspective—this article is somewhat of a nightmare for Kibin because of the sample provided and honestly, it gives TechCrunch and blog writers in general (aka “journalists”) a bad rap. Look, we’re living in a world where “casual” rules, okay I get that, but c’mon—really?! Casual versus oblivious? Boutique press is hot right now, and even though TechCrunch is a household name, it’s still not an excuse to be lazy because others are nipping at their bud.

Also, according to Tsotsis, “Kibin is currently 40K into its 400K seed round and has just over 3,500 users according to Biziorek, growing at 44% week over week.” In other words, they’ve raised 10% of their seed round, which is awesome, yet still young. As any founder and startup knows, any kind of negative light early on in the press (especially big press), unless the negative light is an internal discovery in order to pivot, simply sucks.

Sadly, the first reader comment received on the Tsotsis article pointed out the glaring mistake in the Kibin example provided. Notably, there were mostly positive comments after that and regardless, I think Kibin is totally cool and Founder Travis Biziorek was certainly on the front lines today. I just find myself wishing the example provided showcased their finest work (both Kibin and TechCrunch), as everybody makes mistakes and every startup goes through a learning curve, but this one was avoidable.

Lastly, Tsotsis opens her article saying, “I am primarily writing about this startup because I need it desperately… .” Yes, yes, you do—we all do. Maybe some people will consider my “beefs” unwarranted…and that’s okay. I’m speaking up anyway.

Go ahead, bring it on—what’s your beef—with me, this startup press site, my article, or anything in general? I dished it out, so you can dish it back. I am FAR from perfect; I just hope that we writers could all slow down a bit more to double-check our work, respect the written language (at least until new algorithms develop to supersede the human editor), and do the best we can to help each other out—especially startups!

About the Author

Kathleen Blackwell Kathleen Blackwell: Founder & Editor HOLLYISCO • Freelance PR for Tech Startups in Silicon Beach • Previous Executive at Sony BMG Music Entertainment • Founder/CEO Saucy-Wear designer aprons sold at Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, Neiman Marcus • Founder of multiple Music/Tech brands (including:) The Techie Awards | The Techie Minute | The .CONTENT. Conference | ROCK STOCK │ Cougar Rock │

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