Blawg Review

It's not just a blog carnival; it's the law! ~ a fool in the forest

ALM & Blawg Review

Matt Homann was asked by someone, whose anonymity he apparently respects, "Why does American Lawyer Media own Blawg Review?"

In a recent post, he passes this question along "without comment" but with a link to the domain name registration for, adding "this nugget" -- "the telephone number listed for 'Ed Post' belongs to Jennifer Collins at ALM."

Sleuthing around the blogophere, Matt found a post by Lisa Stone about Blawg Review Awards and thought, "Now it makes more sense."

Well, turns out he was wrong about that. Lisa Stone set him straight in the comments to his post that "Jennifer Walters" is an alias for She-Hulk, not Jennifer Collins. And, Monica Bay confimed in the comments that Blawg Review is an affiliate blog in the ALM Law Blog Network, but that American Lawyer Media doesn't own Blawg Review, as Matt suggested by "passing along" the question on his blog without comment, as it were.

Matt Homann, a good friend of Blawg Review and our Contributing Editors, also sent several very nice emails to your Editor in the past few days attempting to guess his identity, and pressing the editor to admit he was she. I have replied to Matt's emails, first to assure him his guess was wrong, and then to clarify the confusion in his post, suggesting he might update his post with a link to Not the Editor of Blawg Reivew.

Hopefully, Matt will add that link as an update to his post for the benefit of his readers, who might otherwise be misled by his erroneous speculation. My email reply to Matt was lengthy, but contains a lot of accurate information for anyone who wants to know more about this. It surprises me that so many people seem to care.

In fairness, there's no reason only Matt should have more information about the relationship between ALM and Blawg Review, so I'm sharing this explanation with all our readers, as follows:

When ALM approached Blawg Review about joining the network, there were conditons.

Respect for the anonymity of the Editor

They were interested in Blawg Review on the strength of its "business model" not the personality of the Editor. They pointed out that they already had a working relationship with an anonymous blogger at The Wired GC. In the case of Blawg Review there were three Contributing Editors, one of which was already affiliated with ALM's blogger network. ALM agreed that it would include their names in the bio section, along with any others who became Contributing Editors of the project. ALM does not have any input in the editorial policy of Blawg Review or the hosts, apart from the standard terms of their affiliation agreement.

Committment to the continuity of Blawg Review

One of the aspects of anonymity that concerned me from the outset, was continuity of the project if I became incapacitated or died. To ensure continuity of the project one of the other Contributing Editors has all the necessary passwords and login keys to continue with the administration of the project without my involvement. I am in regular correspondence with all of the Contributing Editors, who know that if they can't reach me by email, they are charged with the responsibility to carry on. At all times, more than one editor of Blawg Review will have the keys for the safekeeping of the project.

As well, ALM has agreed to maintain the registration of the domain names associated with the Blawg Review project, so it made sense that the contact information in the domain regisration provide that organization effective control of the domain registration, subject to the special terms of our affiliation agreement for succession.

Concerning your conjecture

The "Jennifer" mentioned in Lisa Stone's post is Jennifer Walters, the real identity of She-Hulk in the Marvel Comics theme of this year's Blawg Review Awards, in which Lisa read this quote:
"Jennifer Walters always thought being a criminal defense attorney was in her blood...until a gamma-irradiated blood transfusion gave her the ability to change into the world's sexiest, sassiest, and strongest superheroine -- the She-Hulk."
While your post about the anonymous Editor working for ALM was an interesting guess, it was based on circumstantial evidence, which turned out not to have much probative value. Interesting it was, though, and well-written I see from the copy my friend just emailed me. FYI, it had occured to me from the outset that it would be relatively easy for anyone to search the Whois directory in an attempt to discover the identity of the Editor, so even the original registration had a false identity.

I have added the name of Jennifer Collins to others in the Not the Editor of Blawg Review post, to clarify the fact for those who might find your conjecture persuasive. In the interests of accuracy and fairness, you might now update and add that link to your post suggesting she is the anonymous editor. And, notwithstanding your reasons for thinking it would not be of any interest to anyone to include your name and a link in the Not the Editor of Blawg Review, I have now included your name as well as a link to your excellent blog, just to assuage any possible concerns of anyone at ALM that you might be pulling the most excellent prank on them. I am not a shill for ALM or anyone else, and I don't have any stake in anyone's disagreements.

Concerning anonymity

Apparently, it is difficult to blog anonymously once a weblog achieves any critical mass, as Jeremy Blachman and David Lat have discovered. There are increasing pressures from enquiring minds. I expected that, to a degree, and took reasonable precautions to preserve my privacy, which people may or may not respect. It's up to them.

Blawg Review is not supposed to be about me, really. And if my persona gets in the way of the success of the project, if the success of the project really requires an identified editor, I will not be that editor, but will resign and hand the work over to an elected Editor in Chief, provided anyone even wants the position.