More on the ethics/conflict of interest/independence: there are two schools of thoughts here -analyst firms either do white papers or they don't.
- When they do -and we have nothing against vendors paying for white papers as long as it's done openly- it can be quite tempting to influence analysts (check this old but excellent Ben King article) or even threaten them if they're small. We've seen in the comments about "Get the facts" in our previous post that it can backfire.
- Or they don't. The point we were making here is that it is hypocritical to oppose independence to doing white papers -because the vendor influence then moves away from public scrutiny to paid for "consulting session" (that is getting x analysts in a room -Gartner charges @ $10-12k each- for what is in fact a paid briefing).
Additional note: the argument that smaller firm are less independent may be true for some, but those who compromise their business model by having short term vision don't usually last long as a reputation is quicky compromised. We also question what benefits IT vendors would get from analysts they employ that would only agree with them?
Check also this Computerworld article by Thomas Hoffmann on the same subject: Market research providers confront credibility concerns.
Finally, more circulyperlink orgy: Joe presses reporters to "ask the tough questions about research you use, or not use the research at all." in his GartnerWatch blog.
Can't agree more: D.O. Y.O.U.R. R.E.S.E.A.R.C.H.!