They can have blogs but official information cannot be disclosed there. They usually have contracts and disclosures on the blog itself that the thoughts aren't related to the company/brand. Matt Cutts exception.
I guess I should have been more descriptive, and I apologize for that...
(My tin foil hat is always on, Leosghost, after some of the things I have come across, successful lawsuits included...think AdWords)
I have no problem with a search engine employee running a blog, as long as they have no intention of monetizing it in any way.
If a person is employed by a search engine, and they are running a side business such as an ecommerce or information site with knowledge that the common person/webmaster doesn't have access to, that doesn't raise a flag of concern in your eyes? Sorry, no offense, but I don't find the analogy completely relevant.
On one hand, you have the situation where employees of a company running a contest aren't allowed to participate, for obvious reasons. On the other hand, how could a search company control what employees do on their time, other than making them sign a contract? It's easy to make a web site anonymously. I don't know, you raise an interesting issue, but it doesn't exactly keeps me up at night.
It has been said here a few times in the past, and I think confirmed ..that Google employees, in particular at least one of the previous ASAs have sites with adsense on them..
When it comes to acting upon knowledge that the "hoi polloi" are not privy to ..what wall street and its friends the politicians and bankers gets up to and is considered within the law gives me far far greater cause for concern ..( you may think their rules are strict ..they are not ) ..given the number of Employees at search engines and the numbers of their families, forbidding them to have monetised websites would result in a huge number of people being forbidden to gain their at least some bread in a way that many ( and all of us here ) do..
And what would you do about the relative of someone who has a website and their spouse or close relative later goes to work for say Google ? ..
Take their website away ?..
Make them wholly dependent suddenly upon another..?
Google ( or other search engine employees ) are not your competitor(s), ( there are checks and balances and ethical procedures in place in all of them to prevent "insider advantage" )..The competitors you have to be concerned about ( If one should be concerned about any ) are the rest of us out there / here all fighting for the same eyeballs and the same dimes.
btw..Your tin foil hat is looking somewhat used ..can I interest you in a new one ? ..bigger, better stronger ..and only slightly more than you paid for your old one..and available on interest free credit for the first three payments..or free*
*if you give me the names and emails of all your family members and your pets and you all "friend me" on facebook..here.. have an ascii smiley ( with hidden tracking pixel ;-) for your email..information may be divulged to our "partners"
**no kittens were harmed in this post ..may contain humor and or nuts, a tree may have been plated in a country you have never heard of by a small child on their way to a sustainable school, and a unicorn was seen to shed a tear at the spot ..a sky fairy told me ..honest
This isn't about web sites at all, then. It's just the basic question of: are you allowed to use information acquired at work for your personal advantage? Depending on the nature of the information, that may be a matter of law or it may be between you and your employer. The exact form that you use the information-- www site, live consulting, physical business etc-- doesn't really matter.
btw, I believe it has been conclusively established that tinfoil hats focus and magnify radiation, so they are generally counterproductive. Unless you're actively trying to pick up signals, of course.
Remember: this isn't the year 2001. Regardless of your awareness of the inner workings of Google's secret sauce of algorithms, any website you create is still going to be subject to those same calculations, just like everyone else's sites. There's no secret ingredient that'll give you a head-start, no working around Panda.
OK, yes, you're right, I did miss the point. But frankly I wish it had stayed that way because, well, uhm, it's like, er, you see...
... so we postulate that the mere fact of being employed by or working at* a search engine gives you a full knowledge of their inner workings in every last detail. The ingredients of the secret sauce. So you set up a website and it leaps to #1 in all SERPS, trampling Wikipedia and Amazon in its climb.
And then what?
* Apparently the trend among major employers in the US is not to hire at all. They pay an agency, and the agency employs the people. So, for example, lots of people work at Microsoft, but the only ones who work for Microsoft are the six-figure-and-up programmers.
Search engine employees are free to pursue web interests that a)abide by the best practices suggested by the search engine and b)do not use or rely on or disclose search engine secrets or data. While not specific to search engines all employees are required not to embarrass their employer :D
Be more concerned about AFFILIATE programs that allow their employees to create competing sites IN THE SAME affiliate program they manage.