- “35 percent of large companies plan to institute corporate Weblogs this year”
- “Nearly 70 percent of all site operators will have implemented corporate blogs by the end of 2006”
The problem with this report is that it is confusing. Is it true that we’ll start seeing corporate blogs pop out of the woodwork in 2006? We are currently six months into the year. Where are all of the corporate blogs? One skeptical blogger, Toby Bloomberg of Diva Marketing Blog, had this to say about the report:
“Something seems off to me. According the Fortune 500 Business Blogging Wiki (written by Chris Andersen of Wired and Ross Mayfield of Socialtext) . . . 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 . . . going to be pretty busy building blogs during the next six [months].” The Brush-Off (Part I)
Aware that some critics have dismissed bloggers as poor fact-checkers, Bloomberg contacted Peter Arnold Associates, the public relations agency representing JupiterResearch. They told her that they couldn’t answer her questions about the survey because “information about JupiterResearch’s reports are available to accredited members of the press for free and clients.” Because Bloomberg’s blog is closely tied to her company, they do not consider her to be a member of the media.
The Brush-Off (Part II)
I also thought the study was a little bit funny and decided to contact the PR firm myself with some questions about the survey methodology. I received a phone call from an executive at JupiterResearch's PR agency (who asked not to be identified) who told me the following:
-JupiterResearch is not revealing any more information about the survey to any member of the media.
-We do not play favorites. If we answered your questions, we’d have to answer everyone’s. It does not matter if you write for the Wall Street Journal or a blog. We are not revealing any more information about the survey’s methodology.
-Nothing occurs in a vacuum. We log questions we receive about JupiterResearch’s surveys and the company decides whether it will address them in the future.
-If you want to find out more about the survey, you’re welcome to purchase the report.
JupiterResearch Survey Contradicts Other Findings
Bloomberg and I are skeptical about the report because it contradicts several pieces of research looking about corporate blogging over the past year. Most importantly:
-According to a Harris/Makovsky & Company poll, 70 percent of executives at Fortune 1000 companies who have heard of the term “corporate blogging” say that no one at their company is writing a blog relating to their company or its activities. In addition, only 32 percent of these individuals believe that blogging is growing in credibility as a communications medium for corporations, either “moderately or to a great extent.”
-DM News published a report on Wednesday based on a study that Forrester recently released titled: "Interactive Marketing Channels to Watch in 2006.” In that report, Forrester concludes that marketers are “curious about blogs,” but are not putting very much money into them.
So, based on this research is it true that 70 percent of large corporations plan to implement corporate blogs by the end of this year?
Given the questions surrounding the JupiterResearch report and my interest in the subject of corporate blogging (especially as it relates to healthcare), I decided to pick up the report. For $750 I receive:
-A four-page summary of the research results
-A 30-minute interview (which I have not yet conducted) with the analyst responsible for putting together the report
As I read the report, I sought to answer the following questions about JupiterResearch’s methodology and the demographics of the firm’s survey population. Because of the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) I signed when I purchased the report, I can’t go into detail about the findings. However, I feel it is important for me to share my observations about the report because it is far from adequate.
Following are my responses to questions I asked myself and JupiterResearch’s PR firm, Peter Arnold Associates, about the report:
1. How many people responded to the survey?
Because of the NDA I signed, I am only comfortable saying that JupiterResearch conducted a poll late last year and surveyed less than 500 individuals. For more on the survey demographics (and you'll not learn much), you’ll have the purchase the report.
2. What industries were respondents representing (financial, technology, healthcare, etc.)?
JupiterResearch provides no information about what industries it focused on when conducting its survey. However, JupiterResearch’s spokesperson told me that the research firm surveyed people from “a range of industries.”
3. What role did respondents play in the company (IT, marketing, corporate communications, etc.)?
The report and press release refer to “site operators.” After reading the report, I still don’t know what this means.
4. How was data gathered (via telephone, on-line, etc.)?
JupiterResearch provides no information in the report about how it gathered responses to the survey.
5. How did JupiterResearch define "large corporations" (revenue, employees, etc.)?
A spokesperson from JupiterResearch’s PR firm told me that it surveyed executives from corporations with $50 million or more in annual revenues. The survey was not conducted globally.
6. Did JupiterResearch survey a representative sample of executives working at large corporations in all industry sectors?
The report provides no detailed information about the survey population.
7. Is JupiterResearch referring to internal or external corporate blogs?
The report does not answer this question.
I can’t say that purchasing the report for a cool $750 provided me with much more insight into how JupiterResearch conducted this survey or how it made its conclusions. I learned nothing from the report that I couldn’t have gleaned from the press release.
Overall, I think that any responsible company asking people to spend a significant amount of money on its research should – as a matter of course – provide detailed information about the methodology it uses to conduct its surveys and a clear explanation of how it came to its results.
I have two pieces of advice for readers:
-Don’t buy this report
-Don’t accept the results of this survey
I plan to ask the analyst who wrote this report the same questions I listed above. I will also ask his permission to publish his responses on this blog. Based on my experience with JupiterResearch’s PR firm, I don’t expect much.
As always, your comments are welcome.
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