Why did Analyst Equity readership double in 2006?

The number of unique visitors to Analyst Equity this quarter has just reached a new high, topping 6,300. That’s roughly double the readership we had throughout the second half of 2005, when we started tracking visits.

In fact, the real number of visits would be few hundred higher, but we lost some data when we upgraded the design of the blog this month.

The increase in readership continues to interest us, since the trend line almost flattened out the typical summer time dip in readership (especially in Europe, where some companies more or less close for much of the summer). The reason for the readership is partly shown by our ten most-read posts, which are listed in the right hand column. The unique value of this blog is our ability to give a broader view of the analyst industry, and how to understand the changing nature of its influence. Many people mistakenly reduce the analyst industry to Gartner, and focus their thinking exclusively on this. However, Gartner’s influence is increasingly concentrated in the CIOs of ‘late majority’ firms with revenues over $1bn. That’s an important audience, but the internet is allowing other firms to develop broad reach, as we have discussed. Now that there are more business models for analyst firms, the revenue of the analyst firms is set to grow, and Gartner could grow slower than the rest of the market.

As analyst relations matures and becomes ubiquitous, there’s an increasing crisis of confidence in AR tactics from the 1990s; focusing 100% of your effort on the top tier no longer works. While we dissent from those who over-estimate the impact of micro-firms’ free research, our CIO Survey shows that more CIOs are using free research than are using analysts’ subscription services. That is a major change, and one that means that analyst influence is not consolidating rapidly – despite the M&A process. The ‘analyst cycle‘ always dispersed influence, vendors have a long-term interest in alternatives to Gartner, and now the Internet is reinforcing that trend.

Next year looks set to be a fascinating one. Turnover in the staffing of analyst firms will probably increase and a number of firms are set to win or lose leading staff – including Forrester and Ovum. Gartner also aims to hire and, for example, its consulting business in Madrid has recently hired David Prieto, Lighthouse’s former principal for Spain.

I will be on holiday for the rest of the year, but subscribers will continue to get the Analyst Index and Lighthouse Spotlight by email over the next weeks.

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