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451 Are you a Redmonk or a Gartner?

By John | January 23, 2008

A lot of people I have met over the last year keep telling me that the 451 group is one of the good guys. I have always enjoyed

This link post is a classic example of why I put little faith in most analysts groups. You are quick to announce that Groundwork has added a new VP of Marketing however I can find no mention on your site of the fact that they have lost a VP of sales, marketing and now a CEO. Could this be because they are a customer? I would think a paying customer would be very interested in the fact that the company of a product they already own or are considering purchasing is having fairly significant executive turnover.

Disclaimer: Groundwork is not a customer of mine.

I really hope they don’t delete my comment.

Topics: 451, gartner, groundwork, groundworkopensource | 5 Comments »

5 Responses to “451 Are you a Redmonk or a Gartner?”

  1. Raven Zachary Says:
    January 25th, 2008 at 1:02 am

    Hi John – I would never delete your comment. I will go over and reply to it back on our own site, as I am replying here.

    My daily link list is a collection of press releases, articles, and blog entries. As you may know, companies rarely, if ever, issue press releases about executive departures. Had there been an article in the press or a blog entry covering the executive departures at GroundWork, I would have linked to it, as I have linked to other executive departure articles and blog entries in the past.

    Another point – there is a whole bunch of written material produced by The 451 Group that is only available to our clients. Often times, we will cover topics in our client-only material that does not go on the blog.

    We have published our principles and ethics on our web site:

    I invite you to talk to people who know me well, such as your friend William Hurley, who can provide insight into my character and dedication to objective coverage.

  2. John Says:
    January 25th, 2008 at 6:43 am

    Let me start by saying that your reputation is highly recommended by all of my new friends, whurley included. I also understand there is a very fine line for the kind of job a company like yours has to do to be credible and make money at the same time. I think your external content is great and on a few occasions (with different companies) I have had the opportunity to trial your internal material and it is VERY good.

    Now starts the who cares what I think portion. Unfortunately I analyze AG’s more than most people. Probably because I loath Gartner. In my small corner of th world Gartner is a 1 and Redmonk is an 8 (where 0=garbage and 10=Nirvana). My loose criteria for this is based on a few questions.

    1) Can the AG provide valuable information to me?

    2) Is their material open?

    3) Do they disclose their customers when they are commenting on them?

    4) Do they handle objective criticism well?

    5) Do they pass the smell test?

    IMHO, for the 451 Group…

    1) Yes, and you are on my RSS.

    2) No.

    3) No.

    4) Yes.

    5) Not sure yet. Since I am not privy to your paying customer data I can only go by your public data.

    One last note I am not a big fan of automated links for this reason. I know many people use it, however, I like to think that everything that goes on my blog is approved by me and represent my thoughts. I read every article that I link to and therefore I take full responsibility for everything I post.

    If you are interested in some of my thoughts on all this please read the following posts…

  3. Cote' Says:
    January 26th, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    While I talked with you (John) about this offline, I thought it’d be good to comment on the general problem for the record, least people come across this and think something fishy is going on with my line of business:

    As a means of explanation for such stuff from us analysts, and in defense of Raven – whom I rate very highly – us analyst often get stuck in a “trap” of being told things in confidence that we then feel it wouldn’t be ethical to comment on, unless, as Raven points out, there was a public URL about it. Whether this is some big, PR conspiracy theory thing or not sort of moot for our daily operations: we want to know companies inside and out so that we can make judgments about their capability to help their customers (or achieve whatever goals they’re people are asking us about), so we welcome all the “inside” information we can get.

    On the other hand, the more “conversations” we have in confidence with people, the less we can talk about and “just trust me” without explanation isn’t any type of judgment worth paying for unless you know the analyst well enough to, you know, just trust them ;)

    All that said, thanks for your high rating of RedMonk – getting remarks like that from folks like yourself makes our day ;)

  4. People Over Process » links for 2008-01-27 Says:
    January 27th, 2008 at 2:19 am

    [...] 451 Are you a Redmonk or a Gartner? at John M Willis The sticky world of secrets in the analyst trade. (tags: redmonk 451 groundwork ethics) [...]

  5. Mark R. Hinkle Says:
    January 28th, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    As someone who has briefed the 451 Group in the past and competes in the same space as Groundwork I feel like 451 Group does a good job of fairly covering our industry.

    Do I prefer the complete openness of the RedMonk model, sure. Is there value in the hybrid blogging/paid research angle of 451 group? I think so.

    In all fairness to 451 Group’s blogging style, I think they are rather inclusive in their reporting of industry news mostly informed by press releases. I can’t think of a time when a company did a release about losing an exec other than to retirement or personal reasons. (If I were GW I would crow about landing Tara Spalding too, she’s top notch and that’s newsworthy.)

    Disclosure: I am a Redmonk client, friend of Raven Zachary and “competitor” to Groundwork at Zenoss (In reality I think all OSS companies are really competing with proprietary vendors other than each other).