Ken McCarthy

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Ken McCarthy (born September 20, 1959) is an American activist, educator, entrepreneur and Internet commercialization pioneer.

Born in New Haven, Connecticut, McCarthy's father Francis W. McCarthy (1922-2003) was pioneer in the practical applications of data processing technology for the insurance industry.[citation needed]

McCarthy's maternal grandfather, Andrew Paretti of the Bronx, NY, was the preeminent granite masonry contractor in the New York City area from 1936 to 1955. His firm did the stone work for the Chapel at West Point, Keating Hall at Fordham University, and the Peace Plaza of the UN as well as numerous public works projects during the Robert Moses era.

McCarthy graduated from Regis High School (New York City) in 1977 and Princeton University in 1981. At Princeton he was the program director[citation needed] for WPRB-FM[1]. While at university and immediately afterwards, he produced numerous concerts including several for his college roommate, multi-Grammy nominee Stanley Jordan[2]. His studies at Princeton included neuroscience, cognitive psychology and anthropology.


Contributions to the Internet industry

McCarthy is best known for his pioneering work in the movement to commercialize the Internet in the first part of the 1990s including early experiments with legitimate e-mail advertising, contributions to the development of the banner ad, practical applications of pay-per-click advertising and Internet video.[citation needed]

In 1994, he organized and sponsored the first conference ever held on potential commercial applications of the World Wide Web.[3] Marc Andreessen co-founder of Netscape and developer of the first commercially successful web browser was the keynote speaker. Other Internet pioneers who acknowledge the impact McCarthy's ideas had on their own work include Ed Niehaus, Rick Boyce,[4] and Steve O'Keefe[5] . In a talk at Pac Bell in 1994, McCarthy described in detail the new content marketing and distribution model the Internet was making possible, a model now sometimes referred to as the The Long Tail.[6]

In 1998, he sold his company E-Media (a term he coined and owned the federal trademark for) to an investment group which rolled it up into Nine Systems, which in turn was absorbed by Akamai Technologies. He remains active in the Internet industry as an advisor, investor and entrepreneur operating under the name Amacord, Inc.[7]

He worked as a consultant to NEC's Biglobe, Japan’s largest online service, from 1996 to 2001. He wrote the first book on Internet entrepreneurship published in Japan: The Internet Business Manual.


In 1995, McCarthy organized and sponsored a conference on the topic of using the web as a local publishing medium to assist community building.

Projects that came out of that conference include one of the first detailed studies of an election fraud to appear in any medium (the 1997 49er Stadium bond issue in San Francisco) [8]; a virtual museum dedicated to recovering the forgotten story of one of San Francisco's most historically important neighborhoods (the Fillmore) [9]; and documentation of the largest and most successful maritime evacuation in history (New York City on September 11, 2001.)[10][11][12]

McCarthy has also worked with challenged communities - Hudson, NY and New Orleans, Louisiana - to develop strategies to use the web to organize citizens and engage in public education and outreach. His work in Hudson resulted in the defeat of a plan to build what would have been North America's largest coal fired cement plant on the banks of the Hudson River. [13]

Since 2006, McCarthy has worked with been a key adviser to[14], the New Orleans-based organization dedicated to ensuring that New Orleans' levees are rebuilt correctly and that levees in other parts of the country with similar engineering flaws are tended to and repaired.

Internet video publishing

In the summer of 1994, McCarthy commissioned Hank Duderstadt, then head of the Video SIG for the San Francisco chapter of the International Interactive Communications Society (IICS), to write a cover story for the Internet Gazette on the potential of streaming video on the Internet.[citation needed]

The Internet Gazette, a short-lived print publication distributed for free in the San Francisco Bay Area, was founded and published by McCarthy to serve as a vehicle for disseminating practical advice to members of the Bay Area digital interactive communications community on how to use the Internet as a publishing and marketing tool.[15]

In 2005, inspired by the launches of YouTube and Google Video, McCarthy began an online publication on Internet video called The System Video Blog. In this publication, McCarthy tracked the development of the Internet video industry and reported on his own experiments in Internet video publishing.[16]

The projects included providing support for [17], the New Orleans based non-profit and creating an online video encyclopedia about the city of New Orleans,[18]; a searchable compilation of clips from television newscasts and independent video makers,[19]; a search engine for videos of jazz performances, [20]; and an educational site on nutrition and food safety issues, [21].

Other activities

In addition to his work in the Internet industry, McCarthy has been involved in the music industry, as a concert producer and promoter; in the film industry, as co-founder of one of New York City's first digital film audio post production studios (When We Were Kings, Like Water for Chocolate); and on Wall Street, as a technical communications consultant to Bankers Trust and First Boston.[22][citation needed]

In the 1980s, while still in his twenties, he guest lectured at the business schools of Columbia University, MIT and New York University as part of a project called Optimal Learning[22] which was based on practical applications of his academic studies in psychology and neuroscience at Princeton University.

Over the years, McCarthy has published a large number of articles on a wide variety of subjects including business, eCommerce, the history of media, economics, the business cycle, financial markets, geopolitics, US politics, political dissidents in China and other countries, medicine and public health, agriculture and military science. These articles have been a mix of investigative journalism, analysis and prediction. Some of these articles have been posted to [23] and [24]

The content of Brasscheck is the property of the First Amendment Defense Trust[25]. This organization was created after McCarthy's investigation of the San Francisco 49ers stadium bond issue election.[26]

BrasscheckTV features videos on a wide range of contemporary topics, available via e-mail subscription. Ken McCarthy has been an advocate of independent journalism and activist journalism. He is quoted in an interview on July 9, 2007, with Wes Unruh, of, describing traditional news reporting;

"I think because traditional news reporting is so incredibly inept, most people that are interested in what’s going on have pretty much figured out that you can’t rely on anything that appears in the news anymore, if you ever could. If you’re going to get any information you’re going to have to piece it together yourself, and that’s what the internet is for...But that’s a relatively small percentage of the population. Most people are either not interested in the news, probably fifty, sixty percent, and another huge portion is willing to accept whatever they’re told. So for that small percentage of people that really wants to know, the internet’s been a blessing and I think it will be very persistent. "[27]

McCarthy talks about in a July 2007 interview on Alterati;

WU: So it’s that is your primary independent journalist site at this point?
KM: Yeah, I’ve gotten lazy in my old age, basically I just go out and find good videos and then I put them up on the site. Then I write about them and send people to them. And occasionally I do something on my own, like the Scott Ritter interview, but the bulk of the stuff is stuff I find on the internet. I think what I’m doing, the service that I offer is that I’m putting the videos into context and giving people background on the significance of what they’re actually seeing sometimes in these videos, as a way of connecting them to other phenomenon that’s going on.

In 1999, McCarthy collaborated with filmmaker Rick Goldsmith to create an online archive [29] of the work of American investigative journalist George Seldes (1890-1995) in support of Goldsmith's Academy Award-nominated film Tell the Truth and Run: George Seldes and the American Press.

The name McCarthy gave to his own investigative efforts - "Brasscheck" - came from a book by Upton Sinclair about which George Seldes made the following comment: "In 1920, Upton Sinclair, an outsider to journalism, wrote The Brass Check, the first book exposing the press. It was this book, plus a friendship with the author lasting many years, that influenced me and the books I wrote on the press, beginning in the 1930's."[citation needed]


  • Comm, Joel (2008). Click Here to Order: The World's Most Successful Internet Marketing Entrepreneurs. Morgan James. ISBN 1600371736.
  • Dushinski, Kim (2009). The Mobile Marketing Handbook. Information Today. ISBN 978-0-910965-82-8.
  • Gross, Ronald (1991). Peak Learning. Tarcher. ISBN 0-87477-610-4.
  • Jacobson, Howie (2008). AdWords for Dummies. Wiley Publishing. ISBN 978-0-470-15252-2.
  • Kennedy, Dan (1996). How to Make Millions with Your Ideas. Plume. ISBN 0-452-27316-1.
  • Kennedy, Dan (1996). The Ultimate Sales Letter. Adams Business Media. ISBN 1-59337-499-2
  • McCarthy, Ken (1996). The Internet Business Manual. Japanese Language, Bunksha (Tokyo). ISBN 4-8211-0515-2
  • O'Keefe, Steve (2002). The Complete Guide to Internet Publicity. J. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-10580-5.
  • Pepin, Elizabeth and Watts, Lewis (2006). Harlem of the West: The Fillmore Jazz Era. Chronicle Books. ISBN 0-8118-4548-9.
  • Reid, Robert (1997). Architects of the Web: One Thousand Days that Built the Future of Business. J. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-17187-5.
  • Vee, Jimmy; Miller, Travis; and Bauer Joel (2008). Gravitational Marketing: The Science of Attracting Customers. J. Wiley. ISBN 978-0-470-22647-6.


  1. Website: 1970's Recollections WPRB Accessed 14 JAN 09
  2. Website: 1970's Recollections
  3. Website: Video and transcript: November 5, 1994
  4. Reid, Robert (1997). Architects of the Web: One Thousand Days that Built the Future of Business. J. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-17187-5.
  5. O'Keefe, Steve (2002). The Complete Guide to Internet Publicity. J. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-10580-5
  6. Website: Video and transcript: November 5, 1994. (video: 3:38-6:35)
  7. website
  8. Website: [1] San Francisco Election Fraud
  9. Website: [2] The Virtual Fillmore Museum
  10. "Boats evacuated one million New Yorkers after WTC attack"
  11. "Who Was in Charge of the Massive Evacuation of Lower Manhattan?"
  12. "Harbor Heroes"
  13. Website: [3] David Cements Goliath. Tad Clarke. DM News. May 9, 2005.
  14. Acknowledgement on Website: [4] Blogs, New Orleans, LA Accessed 15 JAN 09
  15. Online archive of select articles from The Internet Gazette: [5] The Internet Gazette
  16. Blog
  17. web site: [6]
  18. web site: [7] Food Music Justice
  19. web site: [8]
  20. web site: [9] Jazz on the Tube
  21. web site: [10] The Real Food Channel
  22. 22.0 22.1 Website: "E-Media's Ken McCarthy" Ish, David. The New Fillmore, 1996
  23. Website:
  24. Website:
  25. Website: Dated August 1, 2002
  26. Harris, Bev Black Box Voting Book Chapter 4, Footnotes, p. 5 BBV Footnotes
  27. Interview July 9, 2007
  28. Interview: July 9, 2007, Alterati
  29. Website: Tell the Truth and Run

Related Articles

  1. Alternative Media
  2. Conspiracy journalism
  3. Internet Marketing

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