February 12, 2006

analyzing the analysts

There's been some great discussion on the idea of taking the keys from the big analyst houses who hold their research tight (and charge on both ends) . With good reason, traditional analyst offerings are another of the old-school approaches that have been made vulnerable by the Web.
As more independent new media pros and smallcos are doing the jobs that used to take place INSIDE the enterprise, we find ourselves wishing for some of the tools we had access to while inside the firewalls of the borg. It's really tough for us indies to get to the data we need, especially at the thousand-plus dollar hit we're expected to pay to download a research paper we might use a few times.

I've had some emails from folks asking, aren't we free to use what's already out there from firms like Gartner, Forrester, IDC, etc.? First of all, they don't release the most current, relevant stuff--it's not in keeping their business model because they charge a premium for the most current/relevant findings.

I learned from my old dealings that you're not allowed to cite anything unless you get permission. What I remember the case to be in the 1990s was that you could only cite research of a firm like Gartner if you were a client. Of course we'd get our hands on reports--always with the caveat, "we're not supposed to have this. don't leave it on a bus."

Looking at the policies of some BigAnalysts -- like Forrester's citation policy, Gartner's Copyright and Quote Policy (including the information on "quote bans" being imposed on violators), and IDC's Terms of Use you'll see that the language is pretty strong:

FROM IDC: (Hint: if you've ever used an IDC stat in your powerpoint without getting written permission, you're a violator)
External reproduction of IDC content in any form is forbidden without IDC's express written permission. External promotion and usage covers sublicensing, leasing, selling, or offering for sale IDC content, as well as any public display, including but not limited to:
  • Advertising
  • Press releases or media alerts
  • Promotional materials and collateral
  • Web sites, bulletin board postings, and online services
  • External presentations

Accordingly, information (research and analysis) contained on this server may not be copied or posted on any network computer or other broadcast media. Copying and/or modifying the information, in whole or in part, is expressly prohibited. Linking back to information at idc.com does not require permission.

From Forrester (HINT: don't do it, but if you do follow these rules):
  • All syndicated Research produced by Forrester, including Forrester weblog content accessed through the Forrester.com Web site, is proprietary to Forrester and subject to copyright and other intellectual property protections.
  • All external or commercial citation of the Research is prohibited without our express written permission.
  • All citations must be presented in accordance with Forrester's core objectivity value and Integrity Policy.
From Gartner (HINT: you KNOW you've broken some of these rules):
Gartner, Inc.'s name and published materials are subject to trademark and copyright protection regardless of source. To use the "Gartner" name, take excerpts of Gartner research or quote Gartner analysts, a usage request must be submitted in writing to Gartner Vendor Relations for approval. Such approval is at the discretion of Gartner Vendor Relations. Gartner reserves the right of refusal.

Gartner, Inc. is the definitive source of objective technology thought leadership. To protect our reputation for objectivity, we require the appropriate use of our company name and research. The Gartner, Inc. name, intellectual property, trademarks, or logo may only be used commercially in connection with advertising, sales materials or other commercial efforts with Gartner's explicit approval for each instance of use. This policy defines the criteria that will be used to issue that approval.


I would love to be involved in bringing a wikipedia-like analyst unfirm site -- what David Weinberger called an "Open Source Gartner" --onto the net, not because of the long-standing debate over analyst integrity, but because it's a natural evolution of what I need to do my job in a new way.

I AM suggesting that the big analyst business model is all wrong for the net, and that their client base -- or their NEEDS base, we who need the information -- is changing. More and more of us are OUT HERE. And when you add us up, someone among us will have some part of the information that, all combined, equals everything the analysts have and more.

David also notes that Information Week's cover story is on the integrity of big analyst cos -- I'm off to go read that now. But again, I'm not suggesting the undoing of the analyst firms--I'd rather see them make some moves to change their business models in such a way that allows them to more freely share the vast stockpile of information they house.

In the mean time, let's at least start getting what we can together in a centralized, accessible, updatable, collaborative place... No?

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