Conflicts of Interest
TechTarget’s editorial staff makes final editorial decisions on content coverage. In all ways, editorial coverage is based primarily on reader needs in the view of the editors.
All dealings with non-editorial personnel — including public relations representatives and story sources — are conducted with the clear understanding that no preferential editorial treatment should be expected from the interaction.
Contacts With Advertisers and Advertising Sales Staff
No quid pro quo. There is no trading of advertising for editorial coverage or editorial coverage for advertising.
Editorial staff should never be part of advertiser, client or sponsor solicitation. In the rare instance an editorial staff member accompanies TechTarget sales personnel on calls, it is with the clear mutual understanding that the meeting won’t result in preferential editorial treatment of the sponsor, advertiser or client.
If an editor accompanies a publisher or sales staff on an advertising, client or sponsorship-related visit, agenda items may include discussing industry trends, explaining editorial policy and direction, or describing the readership. Editors are not permitted to be present during any specific discussion of advertising or sponsorship matters.
If an advertiser recommends a story idea or lead, editors make an independent judgment about possible use, based on their analysis of reader needs.
Favorable editorial coverage never hinges on the prospect of ad sales, financial gain or other factors that are not related to editorial integrity.
Non-editorial staff are not permitted to preview an unpublished article. Exceptions — allowed to ensure the technical accuracy of material — include sharing previews or article excerpts for experts, editorial advisory board members or other sources. It may be acceptable for the editor to ask a source to review quotes or sections to ensure accuracy and clarity.
Public Relations Personnel
If a public relations contact arranges for an expert author to produce an article at an editor’s request, the author should be identified as a guest contributor, with company affiliation and job title clearly listed. The article provided should meet all editorial requirements set by the editors, and should be edited in the manner of staff-generated or freelance-contracted content.
When an article idea originates from a press release or PR contact, editors and reporters are expected to seek more details from other sources of their choice.
PR professionals are not permitted to be on interview calls with the parties they represent unless preapproved by the editor. In general, this is discouraged.
When the same person handles advertising and public relations responsibilities, the editorial staff should seek an alternative source to avoid a conflict of interest.
Advertisement Adjacencies, Use of Trade Names in Editorial, Product Placements, and Advertising Design
Where appropriate, it is preferable to use generic names of products or services in editorial content. When product names are mentioned in editorial material, the trade name alone is used, without trademark and similar symbols, and capitalized to show that the name is a proper noun.
TechTarget editors are not permitted to receive paid or implied compensation to mention a brand or place the picture of a product in editorial content. Nor should advertisers be preferentially provided a contextual link in an online story unless it is germane to the editorial content (e.g., the advertiser is a news source or provided information that can be read in its entirety on the advertiser’s site).
Advertisements that may be confused for editorial content are clearly labeled as non-editorial content. Special advertising sections and supplements and single-sponsored issues are labeled as such.
Editors have final approval of all contextual links within editorial content. These are not sold to advertisers. The use of hover text, or other means, allow readers to see that links are advertising before clicking through them.
Gifts to Editors and Writers
TechTarget editorial staff does not accept gifts from sources, advertisers or prospective advertisers, public relations personnel, or agents acting on behalf of these parties. If gift giving is an established custom, or is otherwise difficult to avoid completely, these guidelines apply for acceptable gifts:
- Modest, souvenir-type gifts commonly given out at press affairs or conferences or distributed to large groups of editors or individual editors during traditional gift-giving seasons, are generally acceptable.
- Modest gifts sent to a large number of editorial staff are generally acceptable, although even a modest gift sent to a single B2B editorial staff member should be avoided.
- Money or lavish gifts for single editorial staff member or a select few are not acceptable.
- Avoid acceptance for personal use of samples or gifts of items, products, services or other valued commodities that are or may be the subject of editorial mention.
If samples or copies of books or software are provided for products reviews or for use in the publication’s understanding of a subject, items are to be returned after use or disposed of. Expensive products should always be returned.
Travel and Conference/Event Coverage
To maintain editorial integrity, TechTarget pays for its editorial staff’s transportation, lodging, entertainment and personal expenses incurred in connection with editorial coverage.
Exceptions to this rule may include accepting meals during trade events where all invited press are provided the same treatment with no expectation of favorable coverage in return.
At conferences and trade shows, TechTarget editorial staff’s primary duty is to collect news, learn industry trends, attend press conferences and program sessions, obtain information and meet with readers and other editorial sources.
Conflicts of Interest
TechTarget editorial staff should not write, work, consult for, or otherwise contribute to, competing online or print publications, or those publications’ companies, except as permitted by established and authorized business relationships.
Editors should not hold other non-journalism positions that could represent a conflict of interest with an editorial position.
Editorial staff are not to invest in, or hold stock of, any company that they will cover or be likely to cover. This constraint generally does not apply in the case of investments held in a mutual fund or a 401(k) plan, or in similar plans that benefit the editor and other group members, and over which the editor does not control sales of individual stocks or other financial functions by which they might gain personally. Actual or potential conflicts from investments of any kind made before an editor’s employment should be disclosed to the proper superior to avoid conflicts.
Editors abide by all applicable laws addressing insider trading information.
Editors are free to participate in civic, political, business or religious activities that do not present a conflict with coverage or do not lead to a compromise of trust or respect for the publication.
Feedback and Corrections
Readers are encouraged to offer feedback to editorial management, editors and staff writers. Contact information can be found on TechTarget’s corporate site, on our editorial info page, or by clicking the contact icons for specific contributor profiles.
Corrections, clarifications and retractions are considered by editorial management teams and addressed as quickly as possible. Corrections are noted in a way that is easy for the reader to find.
Suggestions and complaints about TechTarget editorial operations, ethics or quality are taken to the editor. If the issue is not resolved through discussion with the editor, the VP of Editorial or publisher should be informed.
Editorial-controlled webinars: The editor has full and final control of the topics, speaker selection, webinar agenda and other relevant matters.
Editors may seek and accept advice about all matters they deem appropriate and are the final decision-makers on webinar matters (including the selection of an advertiser or potential advertiser as a speaker).
Sponsorships or advertising for editorial webinars may be sold, but sponsors are not allowed to preview the content of the webinar (in much the same way as they would not see a preview of a print publication before advertising in it). In an editorial webinar, sponsors may be thanked by the moderator and given some time to present information about their companies.
Non-editorial-controlled webinars: Even if the material presented in a publisher-driven or advertiser-driven webinar is instructive in nature, such webinars must be treated as paid or bartered content. Editorial staff members must not be directly involved in the creation or production process. Further, editors should not participate in the live webinar, including introducing, moderating or speaking. For non-editorial-controlled webinars, the publisher or a member of the sales staff, or other non-editorial staff person is the appropriate choice for moderator.
In any webinar, all non-editorial-controlled or paid/bartered content is clearly identified and distinguished from editorial-controlled content.
TechTarget’s Editorial Ethics Policy has been adapted from the American Society of Business Publication Editors’ Guide to Preferred Editorial Practices.