TechCrunch has edged into the syndicated research business, the traditional turf of analyst firms such as Gartner, Forrester Research, IDC, Burton Group, et al. The idea behind TechCrunch Research is elegantly simple: package up quarterly reports based on the open source CrunchBase wiki database, sell the reports at economical price points and promote the service across the TechCrunch media network.
What are the implications for analysts and influencer relations managers? Hint: This isn’t about the upfront revenues from selling research reports, or annual subscriptions.
The implication for analysts who cover tech and mobile start-ups is serious new competition for the coveted role as a trusted and well-known expert. TechCrunch Research is promoted across the TechCrunch network — a network that garners 5.5 million unique visitors each month and is wildy popular with VCs, start-ups, early adopters and C-level tech execs. Name an analyst firm that can compete with that kind of audience on this particular market segment. In an attention economy, TechCrunch Research looks like a winner.
There is another implication and it goes far beyond analysts who cover start-ups. TechCrunch Research is the first serious competitor basing paid research subscriptions on open sourced content.
Think about that for a minute. Think about the difference this represents in the cost of acquiring data and the options for making money off of it without sacrificing integrity.
CrunchBase covers close to 19,000 start-ups, plus funding activity, acquisition activity and profiles of some people. Contributors include the TechCrunch staff plus readers and those wanting to be listed. In other words, it’s community based.
Plus, it’s published under a Creative Commons Attribution License [CC-BY], thus it is “open source”. It’s also freely available, however try not to confuse open source with free. “Open source” is strictly about the license rights, “freely available” is strictly about the price tag to the buyer.
Finally, what about analyst relations managers and others involved in influencer relations? First, take a hard look at the TechCrunch demographics to understand how the readership maps to your decision-makers and their influencers.
If it counts, then consider what you’ll need to track: TechCrunch Research reports, the CrunchBase database and coverage and comments impacting reputation across the TechCrunch media network.
Regardless of whether or not your interests center on start-ups, take a good look at CrunchBase. How will you manage relationships with research outfits when their researchers include the community as well as the named staffers? That’s an interesting picture.
And just in case your knee-jerk reaction to any of this is, “Never gonna happen on my watch”, remember this: where TechCrunch goes, others follow. Many others.
For more on TechCrunch’s entry into the research market, see my coverage at Tekrati, TechCrunch Reinforces Entry into Syndicated Research Market“.