DNJournal editor cites conflicts of interest in decision.
Ron Jackson of DNJournal has always been known as “Mr. Nice Guy” and a class act in the domain industry. He recently joined up with industry veterans including Sahar Sarid to start Bido.com, a domainer platform for managing domains, selling domains, and several other future services.
Previous to this venture, Jackson had never ventured into the actual business side of domains (other than owning a portfolio of domains), citing both lack of time and the potential perception of conflict of interest and bias with his writing. At first it looked like Bido would be an exception, but he announced today that he is stepping down from his position at Bido:
My decision to depart now has nothing to do with our working relationships or the Bido business plan which I still think is an exceptionally strong one. My decision is based on relationships, but they are relationships outside the company rather than inside it.
While Bido.com was an exciting joint venture for me, DNJournal.com remained my primary enterprise. I have been able to report on the industry in the way that I have for the past five years because I have taken time to build key relationships and trust with people and companies in every part of the domain business. As long as I call on them as an independent party, the door is always open. If I had to call on anyone as a potential competitor that would change the dynamic with those parties and make it more difficult for me to do my job at DN Journal.
I was somewhat surprised by the initial backlash to Jackson joining Bido. In fact, one commentor on Domain Name Wire said:
“Regardless of the features embodied in Bido.com, it appears that Ron Jackson may have crossed the line on DNJournal where his famous dispassionate journalistic commentary has now partially become self-serving promotion. Sad.”
Personally, I think Jackson could have pulled it off. He doesn’t write negative articles about companies in the industry, so he certainly wouldn’t have put down the competition. But as the business behind Bido became more clear, the conflicts certainly popped up. DNZoom didn’t create a conflict from what I can see, but auctioning domain names certainly put him squarely against companies like Sedo and Moniker.
It’s hard to write an editorial site and sell ads while maintaining independence, but it can be done (I think I do a good job of it on Domain Name Wire). But if I were to start my own domain parking service, for example, I could certainly see a conflict.
Jackson’s decision surely means leaving a lot of money on the table. I’m sure it was a difficult decision, but he made the right choice.