I hadn’t paid too much attention to the news surrounding Forrester’s revised blogging policy. But when two people I know and whose opinions I respect come out, seemingly, on opposite sides of the discussion, the topic makes it to my “read and formulate an opinion” todo list.
First, some quick history. Forrester currently maintains multi-analyst blogs grouped by topical areas. This is great if you want to keep track of research about, for example, application development strategy. However, it’s difficult to filter posts by a certain author within a topical area. To address this Forrester announced that its analysts will be given individual blogs at Forrester.com. Analysts will also be required to move any blogging pertaining to Forrester-related research to their individual Forrester.com blog.
Early coverage focused on the personal brands of Forrester analysts. Frankly, I don’t see this policy negatively impacting an analyst’s personal brand. If rock star analyst Jane Doe leaves Forrester, finding Jane’s new blog and or new employer is, at worst, a Google search or Twitter status update away. I follow blogs and twitter accounts of people whose opinions I respect. The fact that they work for Redmonk, Microsoft, Forrester, Amazon, IBM, Oracle or any other entity is secondary.
The larger concern seems to center around the equitable distribution of the value created between Forrester analysts and outsiders who engage in a conversation with these analysts. This sentiment is captured by Matt Asay’s comments:
“More pertinently, why would I want to purchase Forrester’s expertise if I have no real taste of what the company has to offer? I don’t get that taste by reading teaser blog posts that promise “a wealth of knowledge–but first you pay!”
Why is this important? Because that’s what I’m buying. When I engage an analyst, I’m not interested in paying for what they thought. I’m paying for what they’re thinking. About my business problems.”
Having followed Forrester’s application development blog, read their for-fee reports and engaged in client discussions with Forrester analysts, I have to say I’m not seeing the connection to less value being provided on Forrester.com blogs as a result of the new blogging policy. Maybe the area of Forrester that I follow is more evolved in its ability to provide good, yet free, content, while being able to monetize the tailored analysis around the content in question.
For instance, I can read this Forrester.com post to find details on Java vs. .NET adoption. That’s a great factoid. But this insight from Jeffrey Hammond is more valuable:
“What this data underscores is that we are seeing steady shifts in the application platform technologies developers use. We think the data also shows that it’s increasingly less meaningful to think of the development world in terms of “Java vs. .NET”, because you risk missing the increasing importance and adoption of Web technologies that are “Neither of the above”. “
Now, it’s important to note that Jeffrey adds:
“If you’re interested in digging into this data in deeper detail drop us a line, we’d be happy to discuss what it means to you and your application development strategy.”
The data and some generalized analysis are available for free on the Forrester.com blog. As a paying customer you can expect the complete data and insight applied to your company’s unique situation. And yes, you’ll have to pay for that. Seems to make sense to me, and I don’t see the new Forrester blogging policy changing this approach.
Taking a step back, when I worked in market intelligence 10+ years ago the only way to access an analyst’s thoughts or research was to purchase a research subscription and consulting hours. Today, virtually every analyst, whether it’s Forrester, Redmonk, Gartner, The 451 Group, IDC or others, give away some degree of their intellectual property (IP) and monetize other elements of their IP, and in different ways. No one approach works for all analysts. However, each firm has built or adjusted their business model to the reality of a market in which users expect some value at no cost before becoming paying customers.
Follow me on twitter at: SavioRodrigues
PS: I should state: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.”