I've been flirting with the technology research world for the past year, consulting for two of the biggest names in the business on a few editorial projects and discussing a full-time position with one of the big players.
Today's (2.14.05) NYT has a piece in the business section by Eric Pfanner on the disruptions in the market for paid IT research, pointing to the wide availability of information through trade pubs (who I also have been consulting and considering a full-time position with) and good old Blogs.
The kickers in Pfanner's piece are:
""The costs of entry in this field are very small," said Mark Newman, chief research officer at Informa. "A bunch of guys with good contacts in the industry can do an awful lot with very little." That dynamic could threaten research companies and trade publications alike, particularly as the open-source ethos spreads on the Internet."
The furry rodents in the new world of IT information are the Glen Fleishman's and Om Malik's of the blogging world, who are not only faster than their big counterparts at Forrester, Gartner, Meta, etc., but a heck of a lot cheaper. The trade press is already getting kicked around by printless players like TechTarget, but it's further down the food chain, at the niche tech news blogs, that the first cracks in the information monolith are beginning to show. Team up a few strong tech bloggers with a conference program, a print newsletter for the browser-challenged, and the fun could really begin.
To continue with Pfanner's piece in the Times:
"After all, a free blog is cheaper than a magazine subscription ... [out of sequence] Analysts say corporate executives increasingly turn to technology publications, which sometimes offer similar information at a small fraction of the price. Particularly on the Internet, the distinction between an expensive research report and a low-cost piece of journalism is less apparent."
The fix is in. Crack the economics of supporting smart tech information bloggers by banding them together to present a unified sponsorship model, put them on stage at their own conferences, and continue to undersell, undersell, undersell the big boys and the dinosaurs will be wondering what happened to their eggs.