Rumors & Acquisitions: Hacker News Allegations, a Fast-Follow Start-Up, and Leave Groupon Alone!

FLACKER NEWS. A week ago, someone uploaded this incendiary! infographic! to Pastebin and Imagur: “Hacker News and Y Combinator exposed as scam!” Betabeat does not know the origin of the image; we were sent the link today by a tipster. “In twelve months of observation (since before and after the recent re-factors), we have determined beyond a reasonable doubt that “Hacker News” uses the following techniques,” it says. 

Some excerpts:

1. Silent downvoting of competitors
If a favorable article about a competitor is on the front page, that link may silently get pushed back to the 3rd or 4th page. After about an hour, it will then slip off the site completely …

2. Silent upvoting of YC-backed companies
If a YC company-based article is on the “/newest” article page, or the 3rd or 4th page of the main site, it may jump to the front page … The deviation of the (votes) and (time submitted) is much higher than its siblings.

3. The use of undetectable “silent jails”
… Hacker News uses a devious silent banning mechanism for user accounts and domains. If you have been banned, or are tryign to post a link to a banned domain, everything will appear normal from your IP address, user account, and session. If you submit an article or comment, it will appear on your screen as normal, however no one else can see what you wrote or posted …

4. Special front-page posts meant for YC backed company announcements (which cannot be voted on or commented on by users)
Ever see an article which you can’t vote or comment on? It’s a YC-backed company announcement. YC posts several of these a day …

5. Poorly implemented circle voting counter-measures
Circle voting is a big problem for social bookmarking sites. It’s the process of people abusing a large social network of friends to articially up-vote articles … Hacker News has implemented this so poorly, that any articles that even get mildly upvoted too quickly by the same group of people are marked as “circle-voted,” and put into a silent jail. If the article happens to be from a YC-based company, moderators simply take the link out of the jail and put it back on the front page.

The infographic goes on to claim Y Combinator is a pyramid scheme, with companies pressured to buy each other’s products and failed companies fed to the strong ones.

All the stuff about the banning is true,” a source tells Betabeat, but questioned the allegations of a pyramid scheme. “Plausible maybe, I have no idea. They must have 300+ companies … I only know of like, 10.”

TECH BLAH-GOSPHERE. Silicon Alley newbie hipstress Brenna Ehrlich has left the cushy confines of Mashable, where they have lolz the cutest greeter evar, and resurfaced in Times Square as a senior writer for MTV O Music Awards, honoring digital musicians.

AND, NOW HIRING. Silicon Alley veteran Jason Calacanis is looking to poach talent: “I’m looking to add three more rookies to the team … and one star to help lead them (if a star like +MG Siegler or +erick schonfeld or +Marshall Kirkpatrick or +Staci D Kramer becomes available),” he wrote on Google+, the newsletter mogul’s latest venue for pondering.

AND YA COULDA CALLED ME, HENRY. Henry Blodget (BI/SAI) and Kara Swisher (ATD) had a Twitter/blog tiff over a Groupon internal memo obtained and published by ATD. Mr. Blodget wrote the memo had likely come from CEO Andrew Mason, seeking alternative routes to gossip during the start-ups quiet period in advance of its IPO; Ms. Swisher told him to stop trolling.

@karaswisher: I take issue with henry for claiming I made a deal to get Groupon memo, which is fictional

@hblodget: “No “claim”. My speculation RT @karaswisher: I take issue with henry for claiming I made a deal to get Groupon memo, which is fictional”

@karaswisher@hblodget Please. You really take the cake here. Let me be explicit: I made no deal with Groupon on this. I got lots of copies.

@hblodget Henry Blodget @karaswisher Got lots of copies from random Groupon employees who weren’t asked/authorized to send it to you?
@karaswisher@hblodget here’s my view today, henry, and thankfully, you’re not in it: (got it via airbnb, so go to town)

Mr. Mason’s memo says he’s still very bullish, despite trash-talking by the press. (Who are these jerks?)

ON THE ROCKS. A local social fitness start-up is on the rocks, firing a significant number of staffers this week in advance of a serious pivot.

CELEBRITY STEALTH MODE. FuckedCompany’s Philip Kaplan is rolling out his new project, a music start-up called Fandalism, within the next month or so. “I can’t tell you what it is yet, but I will soon. If you’re a musician, it’s something you’ve wished for many times,” he writes. Money? Hos? Respect?

OUR VC INTEREST RUNS DEEP. Onepager, a local start-up that provides an easy for businesses, is usable and beautiful–and we’re not the only ones who think so! One or more entrepreneurs in Austin are looking for a technical co-founder via Craigslist, and “If you can build something like this that would be perfect” The ad opens strong: “Our team is working on a social start-up that is layered on top of Facebook and we have strong backing from within Facebook itself in addition to deep VC interest.” Anyone applying? Tell us what you know.

Rumors & Acquisitions: Hacker News Allegations, a Fast-Follow Start-Up, and Leave Groupon Alone!