Why is TechCrunch Offered As a ‘Celebrity Publisher’ for Adly?


In May, we wrote about Adly raising over $2 million for celebrity endorsement ad campaigns. These ‘ad campaigns’ seem to primarily involve Twitter mentions, and we also noticed something fishy after we signed up for a preview of the site’s free matches –namely, that Adly was pitching us TechCrunch’s twitter account as a “celebrity publisher.’

Conflicts of interest are not new to TechCrunch, of course — some say the site has been going downhill ever since founder Michael Arrington, the ULTIMATE conflict-of-interest, was fired by Arianna Huffington. But considering Adly also offered us Mike Tyson and the cast of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” as endorsers, we started to think that it was the Adly folks who were being duplicitous.

TechCrunch writer Anthony Ha told us via Twitter that he had no idea why TC was being offered as an endorser, and assured he would talk to the TC leadership and follow up. It’s been almost six weeks; still no word from Ha. That’s alright, he’s a busy guy. But Adly also never responded to our e-mail asking for a quick interview, so I’ll just take this chance to float my original question: what exact kind of game is Adly playing?

Did they really recruit tech blogs, professional boxers and reality TV stars ALL to become endorsers? Are endorsers paid? And if TechCrunch has signed up to be a celebrity endorser…shouldn’t they be disclosing that in the articles they write about the company? Or at least telling their staff reporters?