JupiterResearch Passes Around The Kool-Aid

06/29/2006

JupiterResearch released some highlights from the findings of a study about corporate blogging that has the blogopshere buzzing like bees to a hive of honey. According to the smart analysts at JupiterResearch by the end of 2006 corporate blogs will not only have tipped but it will be a blog, blog. blog world!

Their findings revealed that “… 35 percent of large companies plan to institute corporate Weblogs this year. Combined with the existing deployed base of 34 percent, nearly 70 percent of all site operators will have implemented corporate blogs by the end of 2006.”

Hot diggity dog! Kool-aid for everyone. But hold off on the party for a moment or two. Something seems off to me.

According the Fortune 500 Business Blogging Wiki (written by Chris Andersen of Wired and Ross Mayfield of Socialtext) Wiki to as of April 18, 2006 29 (5.8%) of Fortune 500 companies had a blog. If JupiterResearch’s analysis is correct and “nearly 70% of all site operators will have implemented corporate blogs by the end of 2006″ a lot of Fortune 500s (not to mention other large companies) are are going to be pretty busy building blogs during the next six month.

Before I posted my my thoughts, it only seemed fair to ask JupiterResearch for a behind the stats explanation. I shot an email off to Peter Arnold Associates (PR agency..that was the contact information on the media release.). In true bloggy fashion I explained I was working in the social media space, was a blogger and wanted to post their client’s findings. I also told them that I found the analysis odd and asked for clarification on the methodology, how JupiterResearch defined “corporations” and “large companies” and how they came to their conclusions.

The good people at Peter Arnold Associates sent me two lovely responses. The first: “Let me check in with someone on the research team at JupiterResearch to find answers to your questions. I’ll be back in touch as soon as I hear.”

The second: “Information about JupiterResearch reports are available to accredited members of the press for free and clients.

After looking at your blog link JupiterResearch has decided not to fulfill your request for more information since the blog is closely tied with your company that serves as a consultancy. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you this earlier, I didn’t realize that your company and blog were so closely affiliated.

If you’d like more information about becoming a client or purchasing a report, please let me know.”

Girlfriend, I tried to find out the story behind the numbers  before I posted that I thought these findings were .. shall we say out of the ball park optimistic. Based on the information presented in their media release, I caution you to look at JupiterResearch’s conclusions with with a few grains of salt.

If anyone has read the report and can explain how “nearly 70 percent of all site operators will have implemented corporate blogs by the end of 2006″ please drop a comment. I sure would like to know.

Lessons Learned: Look behind the numbers before you reach for the kool-aid party shooters.

Sidebar: Cross posted on BusinessBlogConsulting

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Comments

Toby - glad you tried to check it out. Anyone who posts the results of their research without posting the methodology, should be banned from the blogosphere (and all other media.) All this goes to show that we still have a lot of people doing a lot of worthless "research" that is ultimately designed to be self promoting. Just another form of SUGGING!

Posted by: Bill Neal on Jun 29, 2006 7:32:00 AM

Toby:

Thanks for this post. I also thought the Jupiter results were a little bit funny. Especially because of the Harris/Makovsky poll indicating that many Fortune 1000 execs don't think blogs are very credible. (Of course that study also has its limitations.)

Now, Jupiter is talking about the Fortune 500 here, but I would be surprised if some Fortune 500 execs didn't have the same feelings.

Also, is Jupiter referring to corporate public blogs or "dark" blogs? From the report it looks like they are talking about both. These are very different animals as you know.

I remember reading a story in Biz Week recently talking about the use of Web 2.0 technologies and how companies are deploying blogs and wikis internally and how they are getting more traffic and participation than very expensive Intranets. So, Jupiter may indeed be talking about dark blogs.

Nice post.

Posted by: Fard Johnmar on Jun 29, 2006 9:16:40 AM

Ooh... I'm getting lightheaded. This stuff is strong! Who spiked the punch?

Umm... yeah... by my findings (and I'm not sharing the methodology with anybody who doesn't pay me first), all SMART businesses will have a blog by the end of 2006. 100% of the smart ones will do it and 100% of the stupid ones won't. (I allow for a margin of error of +/- 100%.)

Yeah, sounds totally possible to me.

Drink slowly folks- the bubbles just go straight to your head.

Posted by: Tim Jackson on Jun 29, 2006 9:35:08 AM

Many thanks for your comments. What surprised me even more than the half-baked press release was that JupiterResearch wouldn't come forth with their methodology.

I wasn't asking for a free copy of the report simply clarification. I'm betting someone took a quick look at Diva; decided it wasn't a blog worth bothering with and thus the second response. Wonder what their reply would have been if an "A list" blogger had made that same request.

Posted by: Toby on Jun 29, 2006 9:49:31 AM

Interesting to see the combination of (a) hyping blogs and (b) ignoring blogs that want to discuss the study. I expect to see poor blogger relations, just not from the same people who hype corporate blogs.

Posted by: Nathan Gilliatt on Jun 29, 2006 10:36:04 AM

Umm... Diva... aren't you an "A" lister anyway? I mean... it's you we're talking about here.

Posted by: Tim Jackson on Jun 29, 2006 11:14:40 AM

Toby –

Thank you for unveiling a classic case of blog-hypocrisy. This is outrageous! I’m not the corporate blogging expert you are, but even I can see the myriad of mistakes made in this exchange … not the least of which is discounting bloggers as unequal to so-called "professional journalists". [I believe there have been a number of court rulings of late which assert bloggers 1st Amendment rights, etc. That might tend to indicate that the idea of segmenting bloggers from “professional journalists” is ludicrous.] In any case, I’m not even a “Z-list” blogger, but I do manage to have some influence in certain corners. You can bet that I’ll be advising my clients to look for market research elsewhere.

Posted by: Leslie on Jun 29, 2006 1:40:06 PM

Toby, I wrote to Carl Bialik from WSJ (the author of The Numbers Guy* column) about your attempt to verify the report's methodology. The accredited journalists have free access to the JupiterResearch's reports -unlike the bloggers :)- so maybe he will consider writing about the report on his column.

* http://www.wsj.com/numbersguy

Posted by: Constantin Basturea on Jun 30, 2006 5:45:32 AM

Toby, I submitted this story to Digg to see if it can't get a huge pick up from the blogosphere and make this mainstream news. Find it here: http://digg.com/business_finance/JupiterResearch_Passes_Around_The_Kool-Aid_about_Blogging/blog

Posted by: Josh on Jun 30, 2006 12:31:57 PM

Thank you, Toby, for this wonderful bit of investigative reporting.

Posted by: Jane Genova on Jul 3, 2006 10:03:39 AM

I have to agree with Bill on this one and extend beyond the blogosphere to any public arena. It is the ethical responsibility of any organization that makes a living publishing and selling research results to fully disclose its methodology. To me, failure to do so means the researchers have something to hide. To Fard, I would add that all research has (and should have) its limitations. We don't mix our colored wash with the white wash just because there is room in the machine.

However, if the Harris/Makovsky poll discloses the precise focus of the research and the science behind the results were demonstrated to be sound, then I would not have a problem with the indications.

Posted by: Rob on Jul 6, 2006 10:28:52 AM

I've been digesting this whole issue for a week and it's high time I posted my thoughts about it (which I will do later today). Thanks, Toby, for your work here. I think so many of us are prone to accept what others say about the growth of corporate blogging without doing any research ourselves.

Posted by: Easton Ellsworth on Jul 7, 2006 6:32:22 PM

Toby--
You (and everyone else here) are absolutely right to question that figure of 70 percent. I don't care what their methodology is...(well, I do *care* but only a little)...It's just not 1) possible or 2) probable that 70 percent of corporate website owners will have blogs by the end of this year. I have spoken to many a group on corporate blogging--including groups of the really Big Guys--and the reaction about corporate blogs is still, overwhelmingly, a big, "Huh?"--despite efforts by smart women like us who have been saying it for two years or more--blogs are good for business. Too bad it looks like we'll never get a straight answer out of Jupiter. Perhaps they are really from Mars?

Posted by: Christine Halvorson on Jul 11, 2006 8:29:10 PM

I am a student at Texas State University and have just learned about the concept of blogging. Unsatisified customers have been treated unjustly by many companies for years. Blogs give the consumer a voice and have already impacted and improved the way that companies are reacting to complaints. Personally, I have had troubles with a major phone company. I found many blogs that noted extra charges and customer service complaints.Their customer service has improved recently.Hopefully blogging will continue to help with customer service and not be taken advantage of.

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