I agree with 2.5 of Jim’s 3 suggestions for both Forrester and Jupiter. ‘Go out on a Limb’ and ‘Allow Comments’, both of these reinforce the ‘your readers know more than you’ notion. This notion builds a community around a weblog. Not only will the comments solidify the analyst’s findings, they could become an inexpensive recruiting tool.
In addition to commenting, I’d like to see these research firms offer TrackBacks. Whereas comments are internal to the weblog, TrackBacks are external and a very quantitative way to measure how much buzz a specific story has generated.
Oh, and Forrester, don’t forget the RSS feeds. Jupiter already offers them for each of their analysts.
Which brings me to the 1/2 point I disagree with Jim on. As far back as I can remember, Jupiter and Forrester made their money by selling research. I don’t see any reason for that to change. Just as I see RSS feeds as the compact disc for the 21st century, I think these research firms could charge for access to their blogs. These blogs would be their customer’s semi-private research channel, containing everything they publish on the topics purchased with special, semi-exclusive, in-depth coverage.
The real value in both these firms have is their customer list. With private blogs and commenting, Forrestor and Jupiter are in an amazing position to leverage Metcalf’s Law. How much would you pay to hear your major competitor’s reaction to the latest Jupiter report?
These research firms’ job is to start a smart conversation, for the real value is where the conversation goes. The question they need to ask themselves is: Are they in the newspaper business or the fish-wrap business?.