I’m very glad that Media Watch had a go at coverage driven by vendor-created research this week, because I have reached the decision not to use them any more.
For ages I have been uncomfortable with the way surveys are used to generate coverage, largely because the methodologies used are far from transparent and the intent – generating media coverage – is blatantly obvious.
Recently, however, I encountered the worst, most dishonest piece of research I have ever seen. I label it as such because it simply asked the wrong questions and the researcher was ignorant of the right questions. For example, the survey contained assertions that business data stored on computers is not well protected. But it had not asked those surveyed about the use of the most common data storage and protection technologies, so was simply not reporting on the real world. The research also asserted that businesses cannot recover lost or damaged data at acceptable speed, citing 40 hours as disastrous. Yet when I pressed the researcher on the fact that many organisations deliberately set recovery time objectives of more than 40 hours, the researcher was ignorant of the term “recovery time objectives” and admitted it was something it should look at in the next version of the research.
That’s not good enough.
Yet the research concerned has been cobbled together into a glossy brochure and will be pressed into the hands of prospects and suspects for a year, until the next edition of the research is produced.
I sincerely hope that no-one falls for this flawed study which has (to mix cliches) pissed in the well and broken the camel’s back, because it is such an obvious example of research being abused to prove a point that I simply cannot contemplate trying to find out what is wrong with other research I encounter.
Independent research created by dedicated researchers without commission remains something I will consider. But I simply feel I can no longer trust anything initiated by a vendor. And if I cannot trust it, why would I present it to my readers?