Not long ago I read that Google was under investigation by American regulators over whether it manipulates results to block competitors and promote its own services. The FTC investigation is driven by claims that Google is using search results and search advertising placement to punish competitors and to allow it to get a leg up on the competition in new markets.
Of course every business promotes its own services and attempts to stop competitors. However, the Google situation is unique because Google is taking money from its competitors by selling them advertisements and placing them in search engine listings. Although Google has been transparent with the types of businesses and products it owns or partners on, it still has a conflict of interest which remains the root cause of these types of allegations.
Within the media industry these types of conflicts of interest often exist, but I’m proud to say that for years Quirk’s has had policies in place to avoid them.
No owner, board member or employee of Quirk’s is allowed to sit on the board or own any direct shares in a research company. Likewise we are prohibited from consulting or being employed by a research firm. We take it one step further and also never hire a research firm so as to not give the appearance of supporting one firm over another.
Our pledge to readers
Likewise, on the editorial side we never sell editorial space nor is the publishing of an article contingent on purchasing advertising. We choose content based on its merit alone. Anything else would undermine our credibility with our readers. And our readers, after all, are who we serve. Don’t get me wrong – we couldn’t do what we do without our valued advertisers. But, to draw an analogy from the world of television, you don’t write a TV show for the advertisers, you write it for the viewers. Our belief is that producing content across a range of media that delivers an engaged and devoted audience is the best way to serve our advertisers.
What is your pledge to customers? And, are your vendors willing to make a pledge to you?