CEO Blogs - A viable source of corporate announcements Sunday, October 08, 2006
Roger Enherberg has a post about Sun's CEO Jonathan Schwartz proposing to the SEC that he be allowed to issue company announcements on his personal blog. Roger, whose blog I greatly enjoy reading probably because of the huge similarities in our careers/backstory, is also COO of Monitor 110 which is soon to offer a service search and aggregating blogs to capital markets firm.
I think the issue does present some fascinating challenges similar to those being thrown up by MiFID in Europe.
Firstly fragmentation. If companies can publish, will they have to nominate their "official blog" or can any blog written by a company rep or its agent count? Without the former, I can imagine chaos could follow (how many blogs would you need to track, not to mention find to monitor a company). Equally, gaming newsflow would be easy since who can be sure that the content of blog "X" does not represent an official company announcement.
Contrast this with the Regulatory News Service (RNS), in the UK which acts as a focal point for announcements in the market. Whilst the tech enables disperate sources to be consolidated, with this method the onus is on the person announcing news to make it easy for the consumer to locate/find it, rather than for the producer by making consumers find them.
Yet oddly enough, MiFID in Europe will permit fragmentation of price formation data. In part this has followed concerted lobbying by the investment banks who are sick of Reuters/Bloomberg taking their market data for free and then reselling it back to them. Now they will be able to be a publishing source in their own right. Will this make price discovery easier or harder? Presently, I think the latter, despite knowing that tech can alleviate the burden.
Secondly, will the burden of becoming an official source, materially temper the personality of CEO blogs, which IMHO are already struggling to be "honest" v PR mouthpieces? Definitely - no more immediacy of publication; PR and Legal need to check out those posts (assuming they already don't!)
Perhaps the compromise is that it could act as a parallel outlet - thereby putting price pressure on the existing outlets that could otherwise become disintermediated with free P2P services. Might it also start disemination latency "service war", reminiscent of DMA, on who can be fastest getting information - probably.