I am most well known for my writing in the search marketing industry. I am also the CEO of RustyBrick, a New York based web and mobile development company that does consulting work, publishes some popular Jewish mobile apps and web software.
Since many people in the search marketing industry follow my writing, I try to avoid conflict that would give off the appearance of bias and favoritism in what I write. This page will give you more background on that and disclose specific things that might create an appearance of favoritism.
Note: I based most of the structure of this document by copying the style from Danny Sullivan's disclosures and disclaimers statement.
This document was last updated Novemmber 10, 2015.
No Payment For Coverage
I do not and have not received payment from companies for any type of coverage on any of my writing including this site, my personal blog and my writing at Search Engine Land and Search Engine Roundtable. In fact, I do not believe I have ever accepted payment for coverage of any company or product in my writing career.
I Don't Handle Ads
I currently do not handle the display advertising or sponsorship actives at Search Engine Land or Search Engine Roundtable. Third Door Media manages the ads on both these properties. Third Door Media owns Search Engine Land and has an agreement with RustyBrick, my company, to manage the ads on Search Engine Roundtable. I have a small equity stake in Third Door Media.
I have in the past managed the ads on the Search Engine Roundtable, but honestly hope to never do so in the future.
Some of these sites, including my personal blog, do have Google AdSense on them. I have placed the code there but Google manages the advertisers and payments. They play no role in my editorial writing.
The ads do not and have not influenced or play a factor in the editorial decisions I have at Search Engine Land or Search Engine Roundtable.
The Search Engine Roundtable has text ads that I do sell directly. They are not display ads, they are simply a way for people or companies to say thank you for the work I do on the Search Engine Roundtable. I have a long public post about the conflict I have around selling text ads and you can read more about it at https://www.seroundtable.com/links.
At Search Engine Roundtable and Search Engine Land I have not posted affiliate links, that I am aware of, in my writing. I may have posted some disclosed affiliate links on my personal blog but I have not done so at the main two search blogs listed above.
I do not perform paid consulting with any of the major search engines. I've been asked to consult with non-major search engines but have turned down such offers.
I may offer uncompensated advice to new search engines but only in a non official manner.
I have been involved in focus groups and other meetings at major search engines in the past. I was never compensated with cash. Although I believe they did give us promotional wear and stuff like that as a thank you.
I and my company, RustyBrick, does not offer search engine optimization services. This decision has been made in order to stay unbiased and trusted by both the search engine companies and the search engine industry. I do not want either to feel they can push me to any viewpoint or not trust me when sharing something.
I will however offer phone or in person consultations about future thinking search engine marketing strategies. Much of this I do for free on the various sites I write content on, but if someone wants one-on-one advice, I do offer hourly consulting to explain one-on-one those messages and strategy.
My company does build web sites, mostly backend office systems and apps. We have built and continue to build many frontend facing web sites. Those web sites are built and designed by employees of RustyBrick, who I do help train on best SEO practices. We do not perform keyword research, content development, link building, ranking reports and most typical SEO services. We do build very search engine friendly web sites. We have also done some PPC campaigns for clients in the past but try to avoid doing so for the most part.
I am often asked for referrals to companies for search engine optimization work. In response, I usually provide a list of resources where people can locate companies. I will also recommend specific companies based on reviewing the web site to a company that might focus more on specific SEO areas.
I have received referral fees from some of these companies but 99% of the companies are asked not to provide referral fees. I do not and have not given any specific reference to a specific company because of any referral fees. These referral fees are a tiny amount of my income and thus do not play a factor in who I recommend to those seeking SEO companies or consultants.
Conferences & Events
I speak, coordinate, moderate and manage search marketing related conference. Most often with the Search Marketing Expo (SMX) brand, where I cover more of the advanced and leading-edge SEO topics. I am often compensated for the time I spend with the SMX conference. I also fully run, from soup-to-nuts, the SMX Israel conference. So while at all other SMX events, I do not deal with sponsors for the event, with SMX Israel, I do deal directly with sponsors. SMX Israel is financially backed by RustyBrick, my company, whereas the main SMX events are backed by Third Door Media.
I do also speak at other events, both local and internationally. I am often compensated a speaking fee to prepare and speak to a wide arrange of audience on search marketing topics. I have not been compensated to speak to Google, Microsoft, Yahoo or other search engine companies. I have however been invited to attend events at search companies and search marketing conference, for free, but in some cases they have paid for travel and lodging expenses. Each time, I inform the company that it will likely not result in any media coverage, in fact, I am less likely to cover their news if I would attend the event in-person (which has been true).
I have been consulted by law firms on search engine legal matters. I have yet to be paid for such legal counsel. One particular law firm asked if I would take a particular stance for money and I said no, I disagree with their lawsuit and would not agree with them for money.
I would take on paid legal consulting but only when I believe with what the law firm is asking me to state my expert opinion on.
I have consulted for investment companies and analysts regarding my professional thoughts of how public companies will grow. Some of that involves companies that may have been hit by a Google penalty or a recent Google algorithmic change. I offer my opinion on what, if anything, impacted the public company's web site, if the site is still impacted, what steps I think the company needs to take to resolve the issue and how long it may take to see the changes reverse. Of course, this is all based on my professional experience, as I have no direct insight on a site's ability to rank well, again, in Google or any search engine. There are many variables outside of my control, including but not limited to, the web site's development and SEO team working on the web site, Google's future algorithmic changes and the company's competitors. This consultations are one off 30-60 minute phone calls, mostly explaining how algorithms and penalties work.
Stocks & Investments
I do own stock in search related companies. My stock holdings in the search companies is a tiny tiny fraction of my net worth. I own some token shares of Google (maybe currently about two shares to say I own it), I own some of Yahoo stock, IAC, and maybe some others. I did buy some Facebook shares the day of the IPO but I was not part of the IPO prices.
I do own a significant, in relation to my stock portfolio, of Apple stock but I do not often cover Apple in my writing. I purchased that stock when I was a teenager and I do not believe I purchased anymore since. I am however a huge "Apple fan boy" and that is well known in the industry. Apple has really never been in the search space, that is until Apple acquired voice search engine Siri and placed it into the iPhone 4S in October 2011. With iOS 9, which was released in September 2015, Apple has become more of a search player with Universal Search, deep links and app search. I have written more stories around that topic since, as well as explored the technical documentation and implementation around deploying app indexing, deep links and universal search within both Apple iOS 9 and Google Android App Indexing.
Early Access To Software & Beta
There are times where search engines and search engine tools companies will give me access to preview new features and softwares. For example, to write a story of a new feature Google or Bing might introduce, they may give me early access to the beta to review the software in detail so my story can be ready for when they announce it. I am also given access to tools for review for my writing. Companies such as SearchMetrics, SEMrush, Sistrix, SimilarWeb, Moz and many others give me full access to their tools for free so I can dig into their data for some of my stories. When I use their tools, I will embed their graphs and data in my stories or ask the data provider for additional data that I cannot pull from their tools. I honestly prefer not reviewing search engine consulting tools and often turn down free access to these tools just with the intent of writing a review. As stated above, I do use tools for covering breaking stories around algorithmic changes at Google or other search engines.
I also prefer to not have early access to new search engine features because typically I can find signs of the new feature before Google announces it. Google and Bing typically test their new features on unsuspecting users and sometimes those users will be annoyed enough to post screen shots on forums. I cover those stories before the press and Google announce the features.
Swag & Gadgets & Visits
I routinely visit the offices of major search engines for conducting interviews. It is not uncommon for me to be given a t-shirt, promotional bag and other token that might be given to any other visitor. I have accepted these items and I do not let them influence my coverage.
I have purchased search engine company products in their on-site stores at no discount.
I have been invited to and attended parties run by search engines, typically while at conferences.
I have never received test devices from companies, also have never been given one for free. For example, all my Android devices were purchased by my company and not given to me for free. This does not mean I wouldn't accept a free Android phone if I went to a Google I/O conference, since they give them out to all attendees. But I have yet to go to a Google I/O event and thus have never received a free phone.
All my Apple devices and hardware were paid for by my company or myself. I have never been given an Apple device or hardware for free from Apple and never expect Apple do give me a device. Apple did send some developers the second generation Apple TV for $1, which my company did receive in late 2015.
Overall, I see my role as working first and foremost for my readers. To do the best job for you, I routinely try to avoid conflict.
Should you have any concerns about possible conflicts not already covered on this page, please feel free to contact me using the email me link on my bio. page.