Influence is in the eye of the beholder, and that certainly holds true with the industry analyst bloggers. I wanted to know how the blogs I highlighted at Tekrati during 2009 ranked in Jonny Bentwood’s (Edelman analyst relations specialist) “top analyst blogs” table. I’ve posted the cross-reference below. It’s a good reminder that there’s no single correct list of top analysts. You have to conduct research to figure out which analysts hold sway in a given market.
Jonny and I share a common starting point: the entire analyst blogs directory I publish at Tekrati. From there, we travel along entirely different roads:
- Jonny uses a hybrid qualitative/quantitative method to rank analyst blogs. He looks at stats and applies math.
- I use a purely qualitative approach to recommend blogs to Tekrati readers. I read blogs and choose ones that offer consistently high quality content over time and are written by one or more analysts with solid reputations in their market sector.
I’ve learned a great deal about influencer rankings and attributes this year. Some of that thinking will show up in what makes the cut as a featured blog in 2010.
Tekrati Featured Analsyt Blogs with Technobabble Top Analyst Blog Rank
Blogs are listed in the order they appeared as a Tekrati Featured Analyst Blog during 2009, from early January through next week.
James Govenor’s MonkChips, Redmonk: Technobabble #7
Brandon Hall Analyst Blog - Janet Clarey, Brandon Hall Research: Technobabble #35
ThreatChaos, IT-Harvest: Technobabble #52
Technology Marketing Blog, IDC: Technobabble #288
A Software Insider’s Point of View, (then, Forrester Research) Altimeter Group: Technobabble #20
Craig Mathias’s Blog, FarPoint Group: Technobabble #313
Lopez Research Blog, Lopez Research: Technobabble #376
Pike Research Blog, Pike Research: Technobabble #269
Michael Fauscette (personal blog), IDC: Technobabble #156
Column 2 by Sandy Kemsley, Sandy Kemsley: Technobabble #17
The TEC Blog, Technology Evaluation Centers: Technobabble #145
Unified-View, Unified-View: Technobabble #190
Yankee Group Blog, Yankee Group: Technobabble #68
Enterprise Mobility Matters (personal blog, Philippe Winthrop), Strategy Analytics: Technobabble #152
ABI Research Analyst Blogs, ABI Research: Technobabble #314
GigaOM Pro Blog, GigaOM: Technobabble #350
Thinking Out Loud, Outsell, Inc.: Technobabble #280
Jon Arnold’s Blog, J Arnold & Associates: Technobabble #148
Service-Oriented Architecture, McKendrick & Associates: Technobabble #9
Supply Chain Reaction, (then AMR Research, Inc.) Gartner, Inc.: Technobabble #176
Workplace Learning Today, Brandon Hall Research: Technobabble #5
Vendorprisey (personal blog, Thomas Otter), Gartner, Inc.: Technobabble #47
George F. Colony’s Blog: Counterintuitive CEO, Forrester Research: Technobabble #46
Pattern Finder (personal blog, Guy Creese), Burton Group: Technobabble #135
Supernova Hub, Supernova Group: Technobabble: #159
Parks Associates, Parks Associates: Technobabble: #134
Javelin Strategy and Research, Javelin Strategy and Research: Technobabble #105
The Guidewire, Guidewire Group: Technobabble #115
Rabkin’s ROI, Market Insight Group: Technobabble #343
Gartner - John Pescatore, Gartner, Inc.: Technobabble #40
CCS Insight Blog, CCS Insight: Technobabble #210
Gartner - Jeffrey Mann, Gartner, Inc.: Technobabble #65
SharpBrains, SharpBrains: Technobabble #3
Many of us are ready to recognize social media as a standard subset of our B2B and B2C communications channels. Even the slow moving Fortune 500 is adopting public-facing blogs, according to SNCR. So it’s time to stop thinking about analyst-written blogs as a novelty and start thinking about them as part of standard analyst business practice. One of the central topics we can start talking about openly is vendor sponsorship. That’s right: analyst-written blogs as vendor sponsored content.
In the analyst business at large, most (maybe all) communications channels contain a portion of sponsored content. The mix varies by firm. Some don’t license any content to vendors. Others license any and all content. Most firms are somewhere in between.
Sponsored content represents a mature, steady stream of income for many analyst businesses. I doubt many of us were around when the first vendor co-branded analyst report was circulated as a sales tool. Lots of us were around to witness the first analyst appearances in vendor-sponsored microsites, webinars and podcasts. These are commonplace today. We accept them — even mine them — as a natural part of everyday communications channels.
Why imagine that blogs will be any different? Or Twitter? There’s nothing about blogging as a communications channel that makes it a poor match to sponsorship interests.
Think about it. Some analyst firms won’t buy into sponsored blogs / blog content, some will. The question is, will you buy-in?
Bloggers who are compensated for endorsing products and services could be held liable for any false statements they make, if newly proposed FTC guidelines are adopted. I’m pleased to see some movement beyond voluntary blogger transparency.
I’m a fan of voluntary transparency. It puts peer pressure on bloggers to tell you about sponsorships and other compensation. It has uncovered several unethical promotional campaigns. However, I see shortcomings as well. Voluntary transparency does not hold bloggers’ feet to the fire with regards to the honesty of their statements.
Consumers and brands suffering unfairly due to false statements have little recourse. This situation favors the powerful and wealthy — who can afford to pay for endorsements and posts — and undermines the value of word of mouth (WOM) influence.
Excerpting from coverage at AdAge:
As part of its review of its advertising guidelines, the FTC is proposing that word-of-mouth marketers and bloggers, as well as people on social-media sites such as Facebook, be held liable for any false statements they make about a product they’re promoting, along with the product’s marketer. This could present a significant issue for marketers, including the likes of Microsoft, Ford and Pepsi, who spend billions on word-of-mouth and social media. PQ Media projects that marketers will spend $3.7 billion on word-of-mouth marketing in 2011.
The current FTC guideline on endorsements and testimonials in advertising was issued in 1980.
Hat tip to Andy Beal, Markeing Pilgrim, for raising the topic.
Vinnie Mirchandani is one the enterprise IT influencers not attending Oracle OpenWorld in the flesh this year. Instead, he’s plugging into event content and buzz through the new “Oracle OpenWorld 2008 Influencer Community.” Smart move by Oracle.
Oracle invited media and bloggers alike to join this event-specific influencer community. That means bloggers don’t need to request access from different marketing groups or provide different kinds of information. There’s just one place/process for joining, whether you are a journalist, blogger-journalist, blogger-analyst, blogger-consultant, blogger-pundit, etc.
This is not to say that Oracle marketing, sales and support departments no longer quibble over how to classify specific bloggers. Silos are a fact of life in most marketing departments. It’s just that in this instance, the silo mechanics are hidden neatly behind the curtain.
Big step in the right direction.
Voices arguing that blogger popularity does not equate to influence lost a little more ground this week. A new ad network promises to deliver influential blogs to media buyers. My reaction is a mix of cheering and concern.
What’s up: San Francisco-based BuzzLogic has launched its BuzzLogic Ad Targeting service. Essentially, the service enables companies to identify and place ads on the most popular (linked) blogs on a given topic. The ad service is based on BuzzLogic’s social media monitoring solution for PR.
I cheer because many high-profile bloggers need more and better revenue options. Most find out the hard way that advertising revenues from Google Ads do not trend upward with any kind of reliability. Meanwhile, sponsors can be hard to find and harder to sign. Even influential bloggers like Tom Foremski speak candidly about the challenges of growing new media revenues.
I cringe because there’s been so much controversy over the impact of pay-for-play on the reputation of industry analysts. There’s a deep-rooted perception that vendor revenues taint analyst objectivity. What’s to stop the same sort of backlash from tarnishing the most popular bloggers?