Tom Foremski of SiliconValleyWatcher said in a recent post that:
"Gartner and IDC and Forrester analysts usually provide such quotes and they are always paid by the company issuing the press release(!)"
I was mildly surprised. On occasion, I've asked analysts to provide quotes for press releases. None of them has ever charged me. Neither have they even suggested payment would be appropriate.
(It didn't seem to matter whether or not my client had a commercial agreement in place with the analyst firm. Some did, some didn't).
So I put it down to being a US practice.
Then I thought about it some more. And actually, I'd love to know whether it really is just a North American thing? Perhaps I've simply been lucky all these years.
You see, I think that it's completely inappropriate for an analyst firm to ask for payment to provide a quote. I also think it's out of order for analyst companies to only provide quotes to their clients.
Either way, the analyst firm is at risk of being seen as endorsing a company in return for money. They're potentially allowing vendors to believe they can buy influence.
Now, I appreciate the big analyst firms must be inundated with requests and it would be impractical, perhaps even impossible, to meet the demand. So where to draw the line?
To me, the answer's simple. Either don't provide quotes at all or provide them purely on merit. Straightforward and it eliminates all the possible “analyst for hire” accusations.