I’ve always admired Jeff Jarvis’s disclosure page, and wanted to do my own. So here it is. I’ll be updating and revising this from time to time as things change.
As the guy who writes at Searchblog, I wear many hats. I’m began this site as a companion to my book, but it’s become more than that – a place where I sound off on things I find interesting, or pontificate, or ask those who wander in for insights, help, and opinions.
What Searchblog is not is pure, objective, New York Times style journalism. I make no pretension of objectivity, though I do try to be fair, transparent, and accurate. When I’m not, readers generally slap me back into shape in any case.
At Searchblog, I take advertising. That advertising is largely driven by a company I started, Federated Media Publishing. I am the CEO of that company, and I’m hopelessly in favor of it succeeding. I try not to use the site as a platform for FM, but I will mention things I think are of interest to Searchblog readers from time to time. It’s entirely possible that I’m biased in my linking toward FM authors, because I tend to read them all as a matter of course. I also tend to think they have the best sites, of course.
When it comes to the site and marketing, I follow FM’s Mores, which can be found here. When I work with marketers who support this site, I let readers know (examples here, here, here.) My company has a deal with Google for Adsense, I’ve also tried Yahoo and others in the past and will again in the future.
Besides my work at FM, I also chair the Web 2 Summit conference and am a partner with CMP and O’Reilly in the various Web 2 related businesses like the Web 2 Expo. I am very proud of the work we’ve done on this conference. My role is as program chair and consultant, I’ve run many conferences in my career, in particular at The Industry Standard, which I founded and ran from 1997 to 2001. That company was run by IDG, and readers of my site know my bittersweet feelings about that particular chapter in my life.
I am often asked to speak, for a fee, at a wide range of corporate events, and I turn most of them down due to time constraints. However, I used to do more of this before starting FM, and I still have a few speaking commitments, mostly driven by my book, that are pending (I think my last one is this summer). Touring the speaking circuit is very normal practice for authors, it’s rather like touring as a musician. I wish I had more time to get out there and converse with people, but at the moment, I don’t.
In the past worked with Steve Rattner on the Foursquare conference, and have tremendous respect for him and his colleagues at Quadrangle.
My family owns individual stocks, but I don’t trade or pick stocks myself. Since my days at Wired, I work with a fellow who manages that for the family. I make sure, however, that they do not own stocks in companies I write a lot about. Hence, I do not (knowingly) own Microsoft, Google, Yahoo or IAC/Ask (it’s possible that some mutual fund owns them that my broker bought). My wife is utterly unhappy with this, as she suggested we pick up Google at the outset and I demurred. Oh well. Back when journalism was my full time job at Wired, I passed on AOL and Microsoft for similar reasons, in the early 90s when those were very cheap indeed. DOH.
**UPDATE: January 2011: I have begun to occasionally “pick” stocks, but not for my own accounts, rather, for my kids’ accounts. So yeah, I will be motivated to see those shares rise, but not for personal gain, more to see my kids inheritance do well. I will probably continue to pick a stock here and there in this way in the future. If I write substantively about any company I’ve picked, I will note that in the post. I won’t mention it if my reference is in passing. So far, the only stock I’ve “picked” that I’ve written about in the past is Demand Media, which I covered back in October. I find the company very interesting, and owning a shares on behalf of my kids seemed like the right thing to do, given I passed up on Google, AOL, Microsoft, etc. over the past couple of decades. I guess my wife has finally convinced me that I have the right to buy shares of companies and not stress out about it. **
I often write about companies that sponsor Searchblog. That’s the way it goes. However, I feel like, after 20 years in this business, I’ve earned the right to say what I think, and that I have the respect of my sponsors to do so. So far, I think my integrity is intact. If I lose it, I lose you, the reader. I’m not eager to do that, so I write what’s on my mind, and I’m respectful of, but not cowed by, my sponsors’ support.
I’m sure more will come to mind as I think through these disclosures. Consider this a **second** draft of many to come.