Showing just how vulnerable bloggers are in the world of business journalism, a college senior who ran a blog about Apple rumors will be shutting his site down after reaching a settlement with the computer company. Think Secret blogger Nick dePlume, whose real name is Nick Ciarelli, announced on his website yesterday that he would no longer be publishing. The settlement he and Apple reached was "amicable," he wrote.
In an interview, the college senior would not tell the New York Times whether he got paid by Apple to quit blogging. He added that he was pleased with the outcome. Apple had sued Ciarelli, saying he was publishing trade secrets, but two years ago the blogger had successfully gotten the lawsuit put on hold under a California first-amendment protection law.
Bloggers and media watchers alike reacted to the news of his website's shuttering. “It’s great for the individual critic to be paid to be quiet, but the public is worse off if we lose the ability to get more information in the marketplace of ideas,” Paul Alan Levy, a lawyer with the Public Citizen Litigation Group in Washington, told the Times. Another website, paidContent.org had a wrap up of blogger reactions. As you can guess, most were disappointed with Ciarelli's announcement.
Think Secret had established itself as a site where people with news about Apple could go to leak it. Remaining on the site today are instructions for sending Ciarelli encrypted emails, leaving anonymous voicemail messages, and sending old-fashioned letters in the mail.
It's not clear what plans Ciarelli has now that he's done with his site, but the Times reports he is studying at Harvard and working at the school's Crimson newspaper, traditionally a position that can lead into good jobs in traditional media. Ciarelli wrote on his site yesterday, he would "now be able to move forward with my college studies and broader journalistic pursuits."