When SI reviews a product, SI insists on a demo. It’s very simple. If you can’t show me a demo, then I have nothing to say. I’m not interested in your PowerPoints or your opinions about the marketplace or your scuttlebutt about your competitors. I have one question, and one question only: Where’s the Beef?
Two days ago, one of the largest independent vendors in our space offered to provide a demo so that SI could cover them. Then, yesterday, they insisted on an NDA. This is the second time I’ve had this conversation in a month. And I’m as dumbfounded now as I was last month.
As per the FAQ, SI will not cover any company that insists on an NDA. Please don’t tell us any corporate secrets, we don’t want to know them. What good are corporate secrets if they are revealed under an NDA and they cannot be written about? Furthermore, SI has no interest in them. SI is not a gossip column that hints around at this or that. That’s why SI can’t be manipulated by marketing people. We don’t care what you have coming next month or next year, unless it can be written about. We’re not going to “hint around” that we “know something important” about your product line or your future plans. That’s not what we do here. You can go to dozens of other sites for that.
At SI we are into reality, not fantasy. And in the real world a company’s released products are not corporate secrets.They are in the public domain. Everyone sees them. Everyone uses them. I am no different than anyone else who has seen the product. How on earth am I supposed to write about your product if you tie me up with an NDA? It would be the dumbest conversation ever, and the most worthless article ever published on SI. Not that worthless articles aren’t published daily on dozens and dozens of other sites, but as I said, you can go to those other sites if you like worthless articles.
Forgive me, but I am deeply suspicious of any company that won’t demo their product to me. (And I’m glad to say that there aren’t many that have officially refused. In fact, to date, only four companies have officially refused. However, the four that have refused are four of the eight biggest companies in the space. And that is worrisome.) SI is not in the business of product bashing — and if you look at my past reviews of dozens upon dozens of solutions, if nothing else, this one fact should be abundantly clear. I have great respect for anyone or any company that brings a product to market. Having done it myself a few times (as I am not your average liberal-arts blogger with no other marketable skill, but a CS PhD who has designed, architected, implemented, and brought a number of e-Commerce and e-Sourcing platforms to market), I know for a fact that it is not easy to do that. No matter what you might hear, it never is.
Take me up on my challenge! Every review SI has ever done is archived on the blog. The majority are indexed in this post (which is updated a few times a year). If the product solves a problem in our space, it will be written that it solves a problem in our space. Any product that has made it to market that actually works and actually provides value is a product that somebody somewhere can use. It’s SI’s job to let that somebody know about it. That’s what we do here.
I can’t figure it out. What are these vendors afraid of?