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4. Mainstream product reviews. When it comes to product reviews, some of the same cautions apply to the mainstream media as the bloggers and analysts. However, they are more likely to be held to a code of conduct, especially if they work for a public company. And you can be sure it is a rare case where a product reviewer has been bought off by a software vendor. Those that write consistent glowing reviews are less appealing than those who have not shied away from speaking negatively about products in the past.
5. Vendor web site. Now it may seem obvious that you cannot trust what a software vendor would post on their own web site. But keep in mind that if they are quoting a named customer you can be sure they are the real deal. Take it from one who has tried; it is not easy getting any public company to state on the record their opinion about a product. Legal departments dont lightly condone affiliating their company name. So even if the words are spiced up a bit, if a customer is willing to lend their name to a product, then they are likely using it to solve a real problem.
The important thing is not to jump to conclusions based on one or two items posted on the web about a product, person or company. Online reputations are difficult to evaluate, but if you do your homework and review all potential sources, you should be able to put together the pieces of the puzzle and come to your own conclusions.