Suit over Gartner’s Magic Quadrant Big Marketing Ploy

November 6, 2009

In an earlier post I wrote about ZL Technologies lawsuit over Gartner Group’s Magic Quadrant, over what it considered “multitude of illegalities”.

And not surprisingly, the judge dismissed it.

Gartner’s comment about the decision focused on them being an independent research organization and denies they use “pay for play” in the publication of their reports.

So this should be the end, right? ZL lost and will go back to its corner. Well… not so fast! The way I see it, ZL had a minor victory here. Let me explain. Had the judge sided with them, the win would surely have been better but I have to think that they knew they didn’t stand a chance. So why go through the trouble? Because ZL can use Gartner’s arguments against itself and now have it documented by a judge to prove it. As they had stated on their website they were hoping to use the proceedings to get :

  • Fair Disclosure on Conflicts of Interest
  • Fair Disclosure on Evaluation Scores
  • Better Oversight

They won’t get better oversight (and that was a real stretch) but they did get from the arguments (which are now documented) that the Magic Quadrant is nothing but Gartner’s opinion about the market and not “hard facts” as some might believe. In recent emails they have started using this as proof that “(…) the market should take note that the defense on which Gartner prevailed was its argument that its reports contain ‘pure opinions,’ namely, opinions which are not based on objective facts”.

So how’s that for a comeback? I see as a great opportunity to market themselves and when talking to CIOs and decision makers that bring up Gartner’s MQ, they can simply point them to the result of the lawsuit and say “listen, as much as you like Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, it is pure fabrication based only on their opinion. No hard facts. They said it themselves! So forget about it and let me show you the demo….”.

But how will ZL be viewed in the market? Can their tactic backfire? It seems that some people have already tweeted to this effect. Now is time for them to be very, very careful with the community they target.

Keep tuned because ZL can still come back to fight the court’s decision.

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Social Media’s Next Victim?

November 6, 2009

Who doesn’t like to see a big giant fall down on its face, especially if it’s in public? We all like stories of companies that mess up and in the process of trying to clean up their act end up messing up even more. And now with social media, there’s no telling who will be the next United to see its market cap hurt because of a blog post or youtube video.

A recent article (When digital marketing strategies go wrong) from Revolution Magazine, a UK publication, reviews some of the most interesting social media mishaps. While I still believe that social media is not for everyone, those who decide to go this route should at least learn from others mistakes.

What stories or lessons learned do you have to share?


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