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Privacy Policy for this Space

I just got a very thoughtful email response from a vendor regarding one of my recent blog entries, and in considering a response/follow up piece, I also thought it’d be useful to define some ground rules for what I will/will not use in a blog.

As Scoble highlights here, people’s reactions to having their opinions blogged without their permission/advance knowledge vary. It’s of particular concern to me personally and RedMonk more broadly because we have frequent conversations with vendors, trade groups, or enterprises on highly sensitive topics. So to put everyone’s minds at ease, here are my rules for blogging. Now, I have to give the typical “I Am Not A Lawyer” caveat, so consider this more a set of guidelines than legally binding contract, but I think it’s a good start. Think of this as the tecosystems blogging-privacy policy.

Off Limits?

  1. Your content (not mine) from individual interactions with me (email/IM/phone)
  2. Explicitly NDA or private material (obviously)

And generally, anything that might be construed as private. I default to private, so generally any 1:1 interactions are covered.

Fair Game?

  1. Anything I can link to or otherwise access on the public internet
  2. Conclusions, content or ideas generated by publicly available information or private conversations
  3. Additional context to public quotes in the media or otherwise from me that I feel were taken out of context or don’t properly convey my full opinion
  4. Content of group interactions (blogs/listserv/chats/phone)
  5. The fact that an individual interaction occured – unless explicitly requested otherwise (i.e. I may mention that I talked to so and so about a topic, but will not disclose what the actual contents of that discussion were)
  6. Other explicitly public material (obviously)

This outline may seem to undermine the transparency that we believe in passionately for our own firm and for our clients, but it’s necessary for my business (this may or may not be true for other businesses). Violations of this policy can only harm me; I’m not a news outlet, so scooping someone does nothing for my business except alienate a potential contact.

I’m all for transparency, but we’ve worked very hard at RedMonk to establish a relationship of trust for our clients, the media, and our contacts, and do our very best every day to respect that. And I certainly will do nothing to jeopardize that here. The rule of thumb for me is if in doubt, ask for permission. Not, I repeat, NOT, “it’s better to beg for forgiveness than ask permission.”

Plus, we provide a means to comment publically and transparently – the blog. Feel free to use that, either by commenting here or by posting on your own and linking here. If you use email or another channel, however, I’ll assume that you’d prefer not to have the contents of our interaction grace these pages. And if it’s a gray area, I’ll ask you, and you should feel free to say no (I’ll never say something like, “Well, I asked so & so for permission and they denied me). So communicate with me knowing that I’ll do my best to respect your boundaries on information.

Seem reasonable? Questions, thoughts, concerns? Things I forgot? Things I got wrong?

Categories: RedMonk Miscellaneous.