Monday, September 10, 2007

Criminals, content and competition

A longtime reader of this blog wrote an email to tell me that in my recent series of posts on content marketers I should have mentioned what he called "the first and maybe the best B2B site published by nonpublishers."
And he's right, I should have.

The site he refers to is Security Focus, the self-described "vendor-neutral site" owned by Symantec Corp., makers of Norton anti-virus software. Security Focus covers the world of hackers, viruses and other security issues -- a world where its parent company is a major player. But Security Focus offers news and information without the obvious bias that many journalists would expect to find in a site run by someone from outside the world of media.

Security Focus' has a rather unusual history in the world of publishing. It was made famous by the work of notorious black-hat hacker Kevin Poulsen, who turned to journalism when he turned away from crime. Symantec acquired Security Focus in 2002 (and Poulsen moved on to Wired in 2005. ) Today Security Focus is a premier, online-only publication that has maintained a reputation for reputable reporting "that is not influenced by Symantec corporate policies or products."

It's worth noting that Security Focus does accept ads -- making it different from the classic content-marketing site. As a result, Security Focus competes with traditional publishers for dollars as well as readers.
So it's worth asking -- what company in your space has the prestige and reputation that, if it opted to become a publisher, your readers and/or advertisers would trust it as a source of bias-free information?

tags: , , , , , , , content marketing


  1. Uh... 10 seconds of click time would have shown you that Security Focus does have advertising... lot of it in fact. They have ads in their masthead and they have ads throughout the pages. And then they double up that effort by having not only Google Ads BUT also their own distributed hyperlink ads.

    So I am curious what site you were actually visiting to conclude that they have no ads.

    BUT WHAT THEY DON'T HAVE are ads from any of Symantec's competitors... just anyone else who will pay money to have an ad hosted on a corporate web site.

    But I will agree with you that they are fair and report Symantec's bugs and vulnerabilities just as quickly as they do for Trend Micro, Kaspersky, McAfee et others...


  2. Anonymous,
    Uh....10 seconds of reading time would have shown you that what I said was "It's worth noting that Security Focus does accept ads..."
    I repeat -- I said Security Focus DOES accept ads.
    So I'm curious what post you were actually reading.

  3. Paul...great post. Another one that's not bad is Intuit's Jump Up ( It's worth noting that they use Google Coop for their search functionality.

  4. Hi Joe,
    Thanks for pointing me to Jump Up. I hadn't see it before. And a quick look indicates that there's stuff of value there for small-business owners like me.