What Makes an Analyst Independent?By: John Honovich, Published on Feb 05, 2010
Those who make recommendations on products need to be independent of those who develop them. We are committed to maximizing our independence.
An upcoming February webinar makes this matter timely. Aimetis is sponsoring a webinar where an analyst shares his 'independent' test results on Aimetis as well as two of Aimetis's competitors. This raises the question: How can a webinar sponsored by one vendor be objective or independent about the comparative test results of other vendors?
The webinar does not disclose financial considerations. However, the analyst's initial reporting of their findings [link no longer available] mentioned that they received no funding for the test but that they would charge publishing rights for re-printing of the findings. Subsequently, Aimetis issued a press release touting the results with multiple quotes from the analyst. Now, a webinar is being held.
In light of this we would like to explain our own approach to independence. Specifically:
- We do not accept consulting from manufacturers.
- We do not accept sponsorships nor advertising from manufacturers.
- We do not sell re-print rights to our reporting.
- We do not charge for our product tests, reviews or other reporting.
- We do not accept trips or entertainment from manufacturers.
- We do not charge for speaking (whether webinars, events, etc.)
- The only money manufacturers can spend with us is to sign up for our subscription service (like anyone in the community). We purposefully set low rates for unlimited company access ($499 per year) to make sure that manufacturers could not use this to bribe us (e.g., buy more seat licenses to our subscription to influence us).
- Many of you know I am speaking at Milestone's MIPS event [link no longer available] in February about IP camera tests. I am paying my entire way - airfare, hotel, car rental, etc. etc. Furthermore, I am not being paid (nor have I ever been paid by Milestone). The Milestone event is useful for me to meet lots of integrators, camera manufacturers and analytic developers in one place, in a small form where I can have extensive conversations with people. That being said, even the suggestion of impropriety worries me and I may not go again. [Related Note: Read my critical review of Milestone's VMS]
We believe doing this is critical to our long term success and our commitment to providing high quality research and analysis. The easy way out is clearly to take significant money from manufacturers. It's a short term sacrifice but key to building a strong foundation to benefit our members.
If you have questions or concerns, I encourage you to raise them so we can provide the utmost transparency.