In my July 29th post Who is footing the bill for your market intelligence?, I raised a question that seemed to have struck a nerve with many professionals – both within and external to the procurement world.
Included in the numerous points that I had raised, was the link to a humorous, but nonetheless accurate, commentary by John Oliver, regarding the dangers of native advertising. You can watch the video by clicking on Oliver’s name.
Oliver’s recent revelations however are nothing new. The fact is, that our industry’s media has been in a gradual yet certain decline for the very reasons cited by the HBO pundit. I say this because similar to the old saying that “history is written by the victors”, coverage in the procurement world has traditionally been biased towards those “connected” few who could write the biggest checks. The January 7th, 2011 post Madison Avenue ooops . . . make that Gartner, names Oracle as a leader in supply chain planning, provides what I consider to be one of the more notable examples of this chasm between real news and the infomercials offered up as news by the Gartners of the world.
I of course am not alone in my assessment of the apparent conflict of interest that exists between the analysts/journalists, and the companies they are purportedly covering. Simply check out the response to the January 2011 post and you will see what I mean.
“John, I only just saw this! Please reach out to us if we’re missing stuff like you’ve uncovered… before you roll us over and lump us in w/ Gartner!” _ Pierre Mitchell, Spend Matters comment re April 17th, 2015 Procurement Insights post The Silence Of The Blogs (And Industry Analysts)
Even Spend Matters’ Pierre Mitchell expressed a similar distaste for traditional analysts such as Gartner, as reflected in his more recent reaction to my “lumping” his blog in with the firm. On a side note, Pierre obviously shares the same appreciation that I do for the acerbic wit of a John Oliver, as demonstrated by his inclusion of the latter’s video in his response.
This is why I was surprised when a reader forwarded me yesterday’s Beeline Sponsored Article in Mitchell’s blog.
Add into the equation that Spend Matters also identified Beeline as a Top 50 Provider To Know in 2015, and one cannot help but conclude that they are one step away from wearing an advertising billboard, which points to vendors in much the same way that Bubbles the mascot points drivers to the nearby car wash.
Of course one could hold out the faint hope that the Beeline storyline is a one-time aberration. However, based on the blog’s apparent lack of real coverage in terms of news involving SciQuest and Bravo Solutions, even this seems to be a hope-against-hope stretch.
All that remains now, is shelling out a big wad of cash to gain access to the real information and insights through the Spend Matters Premium Content packages. Beside a lack of evidence that the level of coverage will be dramatically better than what is being offered up as meaningful content free of charge, there is an even more daunting issue for the blog’s premium subscription programs. People do not want to pay to access content.
You merely have to check out a recent Los Angeles Times article regarding declining pay-TV subscriptions, as well as a litany of other similar articles discussing the decline of the pay-to-access model, to see that the blog is on a track leading to a questionable future.