If you’ve ever read our About pages, you probably know that Zoho is our exclusive sponsor. This is a rather unique arrangement, where all Zoho gets in return for its support is the ability to advance the cause of Cloud Computing while leaving all editorial decisions in our hands. When we launched half a year ago, clearly not everyone believed that: the speculation that CloudAve would turn out to be a Zoho PR outlet in disguise was fairly inevitable (and understandable).
In the past six months or so we have worked hard to earn our readers’ trust. If anything, we’ve probably had a negative bias towards covering our sponsor, while often writing about their direct competitors. If the comments you all left on various posts and the hundreds of articles quoting us are any indication, we are now accepted as a neutral, unbiased, publication We’re also seen, we’d like to think, as a group of specialists – well worth hearing out.
Well, let me take it back – the bias part, that is. We probably are biased, just like any blogger is: our own knowledge, interests and likes determine what and who we write about. Thanks to my fellow Editor, Ben, you’ve probably been exposed to more startup news from New Zealand than ever before. If you read Krish’s Living in the Cloud series, you’ve probably got an overdose of Google-related analysis. I tend to write a lot about Atlassian, simply because they are a bunch of likeable folks who also happen to have built a very successful business without taking a single cent of funding – what’s not to like there?
So yes, we are biased in what we like or dislike as individuals, and that’s what we write about. But the bias stops at what we feel inspired to cover: it never taints our evaluation, our fair judgment. I’ll repeat again: we do not have any financial incentives or any other material conflict of interest that would taint our coverage.
We do get access to free accounts of services we want to write about and we do get complimentary blogger / press passes to conferences – that’s all fairly standard industry practice. If any of our contributors has a story about a company they do business with or have a stake in, they will disclose such relationship. This has not happened so far, but with a growing number of guest bloggers, it’s likely to one day.
Talk about contributors: we are a very diverse group, made up of bloggers based in the US, New Zealand, Australia, India, the UK, Norway, Israel and Dubai – the list will likely grow. We do not have any editorial agenda, calendar, directives; we are a group of independent bloggers. Sometimes we disagree, and we express that quite openly in comments on each others’ posts or via point/counterpoint style posts. We believe debate is healthy, as long as it stays a professional exchange of opinions – you’ll never see our debates degenerate into name calling or personality attacks – a standard we hold ourselves to in our external, as well as our internal, professional relationships.
We have been lucky to be able to feature CEOs and representatives of SaaS businesses who all avoided the temptation for direct self-marketing opting to discuss industry trends instead. (We do get product pitches dressed up as guest posts, and they all get the same treatment: the delete button). Yesterday we crossed another milestone: Raju Vegesna, Evangelist for Zoho, our Sponsor, published his first piece as a guest blogger. Once again, this may raise some eyebrows, but we’re confident you will soon see him for what he is here on CloudAve: an industry observer who is not here to push his employer’s products but rather to express his own thoughts. As an aside, we’ve invited bloggers from Google, Microsoft and many other vendors to publish here – this is something we are still waiting for, butsomething that we hope will happen one day…
So this is where we are, six months down the road: We’ve put our heart and soul into CloudAve and we’d like to think that shows in the quality of our output. We can’t tell you where we will be six months from now, but we’re sure CloudAve will be far more eclectic, have more writers, and be a far more interactive community than we are today.
Thanks for reading us – stay tuned in the months to come.