Bonum Certa Men Certa

What Do Awards and Panels Even Mean?

Summary: Justification of doubts about Novell awards; lack of integrity in lack of transparency

EARLIER THIS YEAR we wrote about conflicts of interests in media-granted awards, which are naturally susceptible and sensitive to bribery. We used Novell as an example. In practical terms, it's mostly the same when it comes to analysts such as the Gartner Group (with hard evidence) and all sorts of surveys and questionnaires.



It is therefore quite reasonable that we observe with great suspicion the claims from Novell's PR blog that they were included in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant -- whatever it actually means.

In September 2008, Novell SecureLogin was positioned in the leaders quadrant of Gartner, Inc.’s, Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Single Sign-On by Gregg Kreizman.


But we already known that Gartner is corruptible [1, 2]. That's just how it makes money, so what does this mean anyway? Microsoft itself is joking about this, saying that “analysts sell out - that’s their business model." Moreover, brags Microsoft, it is easy to buy their opinions.

Apart from the above PR from Novell came this one as well (both appearing last week):

On the heels of the Oscars, the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) has just announced the finalists for the 2009 CODiE awards and Novell ZENworks solutions have received two nominations.

[...]

And in the category of Best Security Solution is ZENworks Endpoint Security Management, which protects the network against potential security breaches, data leaks and threats by enforcing encryption policies on the desktop.


Who runs these CODiE awards anyway? We decided to check:




Registrant: Make this info private Software & Information Industry Association 1090 Vermont Ave, NW 6th floor Washington, DC 20005 US

Administrative Contact : Anglin, Delroy danglin@SIIA.NET 1090 Vermont Avenue Suite 600 Washington, DC 20005 US Phone: 202-289-7442 Fax: (202) 223-8756

Technical Contact : Network Solutions, LLC. customerservice@networksolutions.com 13861 Sunrise Valley Drive Herndon, VA 20171 US Phone: 1-888-642-9675 Fax: 571-434-4620



What is the business model of the CODiE awards? What are the criteria for nomination, selection and who is voting anyway? How is it being policed against abuse? Microsoft, for example, is notorious for rigging votes using employees or hired guns, e.g. [1, 2].

One of our readers sent us a good pointer a couple of days ago. It ascends to a more political level where the 'open source' approach (transparency) can combat this issue of mistrust.

I spent the weekend in DC at TransparencyCamp, an event modeled after BarCamp focused on government transparency and open access to sources of federal data (largely through APIs and web services). Down the street, a social-media savvy conference called PowerShift convened over 12,000 of the nation’s youth to march on Congress to have their concerns about the environment heard. They were largely brought together on social networks.


It's good reading overall and another one that has just been published is this one from PR Watch:

Corporations wanting help in advancing their agendas often turn to think tanks. In addition to providing the appearance of independent support for corporate policies, think tanks combine a scholarly image with expertise at how to play the media and policymakers alike.


Microsoft has used the Alexis de Toqueville Institute against Linux and it employs lobbying arms to poison professional panels that discuss Free/open source software. They even seem to be setting up fake grassroots sites (still).

All of these issues ought to become common knowledge which is vital. Sadly, however, these realities sometimes surprise people. Is this a classic case of imposed ignorance?

Counting money
There is no money in objective opinions

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