Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2012-01-17 11:01:50  [WARNING – POSSIBLE RANT]So where do you get your eDiscovery news from? Obviously you get some of it from the eDiscovery Journal, but no one should rely on any one source. A while back, my friend Browning Marean complimented me on a blog post. Turns out, he reads my blogs from another website. Luckily, that site at least attributed my blogs to me. It got me thinking about how easy it is to get high search ranking with the right domain name. Google and Bing have gotten smart about having multiple web addresses that redirect users to your site, so one ‘best’ practice for search engine optimization is to create microsites that reinforce your brand/message/perspective through proxy domain registrations.While checking to see how many places our latest eDJ Expert blogs had propagated to, I found many new eDiscovery resource and news sites. Many are clearly and prominently owned and run by service and software providers, law firms, or other well known eDiscovery personalities. Do not dismiss the value of provider publications just because of potential product bias or marketing messages. As long as you know the source, you can compensate for overly enthusiastic product evangelism. That brings me to a disturbing trend, eDiscovery resource sites of unknown providence.Chain of custody, or providence, is the foundation of legal and academic evidence. I like to peruse the About Us page of any new eDiscovery site to look for familiar names and faces. The eDiscovery world is relatively young and a surprisingly small at times. That makes me cautious of blogs and sites without clear ownership or means of support. I understand why some eDiscovery professionals have to blog anonymously, but you can usually tell a personal blog from a professional site. We can tell you how much time and capital it takes to create a rich, dynamic portal with real research and content.Independent sites like Chris Dale’s Information e-Disclosure Information Project clearly, prominently display their sponsors and provide a balanced perspective. The eDiscovery market is incredibly skeptical of traditional marketing campaigns. This puts a lot of pressure on providers trying to get their messages out.Let’s start with three sites whose ownership and authors are completely hidden behind proxy domain registrations. I could not trace their ownership or authors down through public WHOIS queries:

  1. http://legalholds.typepad.com/legalholds/ – Legal Holds and Trigger Events – Seems to be a pure search engine for blogs/articles that mention legal hold and does not have any ads.
  2. http://www.forensicfocus.com/– takes ads and blogs from providers
  3. www.ediscoverytrends.com –sponsored ads

Now we move onto sites that you can trace to a source, even though they do not identify themselves on the actual site. I found most of these sources through a Network Solutions WHOIS lookup. Before I go to my favorite examples, I want to make it clear that I do not see anything sinister in provider run blogs and web sites. I just like to know the source of any information:

  • www.houstonediscovery.com – “Houston Texas E-Discovery information, news and articles” – actually run by CloudNine Discovery, a service provider. They also publish www.eDiscoveryDaily.com, but at least make that reasonably obvious that CloudNine is the source. Brad Jenkins ALSO blogs his own name at www.Litigationsupportblog.com.
  • www.ediscovery-news.com – When this site first appeared, it was syndicating eDiscovery related news items. It is now ‘currently under maintenance’ but we were able to trace it back to 7Safe, which recently merged with another consulting group.
  • www.ediscoverychannel.com – Registered under a proxy domain, but every blog seems to feature one provider.
  • http://www.ediscoverypeople.com/ – a “Community of Information Retrieval scientists, eDiscovery Attorneys, Project Managers, and Litigation Support leaders” is also registered under a proxy domain. It actively solicits registration without explaining who runs the ‘community’. I like the M&A timeline page, but I wish I had more than a suspicion of who was collecting all those email addresses.
  • http://www.jdsupra.com/ – is actually a legal marketing company, but it comes across as a blog and news aggregation site. They do not hide their identity, but their business model conceals their sponsors. I have to give the JDSupra team credit for blending aggregated news feeds and sponsored information to give their clients targeted exposure. I just wish that it was easier for a reader to understand who was paying to have their message and brand promoted.

My list goes on, but I hope that I have gotten you to question your favorite eDiscovery web resources. There are some fantastic blogs and sites out there. So whenever you stumble onto a new site, look beyond the clever domain name to read the About page. If you cannot easily understand who is behind the site and how it is funded, that should raise a red flag. Just as you need to be able to authenticate ESI produced in discovery, you should be able to authenticate the sources of your eDiscovery news and opinion.

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