"Red Herring" is slang for the S-1
filing, the document compiled for the Securities and Exchange Commission
when a company wants to go public
. It's from that slang term that the Red Herring financial magazine got its name.
Red Herring the magazine is run by Tony Perkins (not the actor) and is famous for a flip attitude and elbow-rubbing insider's perspective. It covers technology business: start-ups, established public companies, venture capital. Perkins has expanded the Red Herring business to include conferences and newsletters.
The magazine's coverage of startups got particularly tiresome during the dot-com boom, as Red Herring became a little too willing to suck up to the New Economy. During this time they hired dozens of reporters, most of whom were let go about a year later when the dot-com crash came around.
To their credit, they never completely lost their healthy skepticism. Exhibit A: Every April, they would run a special April Fool's Day article touting some glorious new start-up that didn't exist. They'd load the article with hot buzzwords and lots of tempting technobabble, and then -- this is the best part -- include a picture of the young, entrepreneurial staff. The picture was of the Red Herring editors themselves. Later, they'd print the letters from people who wanted to invest in the company or buy its products. It was hilarious. I doubt they'll continue to do it, given that the joke is out.