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.
(Updated Jan 2014 to include more of my investing activity, and again in 2023 after the sale of The Recount.)
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 Sovrn, a company that spun out of another company I started, Federated Media Publishing. I was the Founder and Chair of that company, which sold to LIN Media in 2013.
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 no longer do this as of around 2015), 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 have worn many hats in my career. I am very proud of the work we did on the Web 2 Summit conference, or my work writing The Search. 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. More recently I started NewCo (sold to Vision7) and The Recount (sold to The News Movement).
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 still have a few speaking commitments each year. Touring the speaking circuit is very normal practice for writers, 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 folks who manage 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 big Internet names (though 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. 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. **
**UPDATE: January 2014: I actually don’t pick any stocks anymore. I do, however, pick individual seed and early stage companies. My AngelList profile is here. It has most of my investments (a few aren’t on AngelList). I invest in about six companies a year.
I am still chair of sovrn, the company we spun out of FM. I am also on the Board of LiveRamp. I hold significant positions in both these companies. I also partner with P&G on their Signal platform – which includes a major conference each July and a monthly publication.
I have in the past written about companies that I do business with. I likely will again. I feel like, after 30+ years in this business, I’ve earned the right to say what I think, and that I have the respect of my partners 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 **fourth** draft of many to come.