How IDG Works to Provide Inaccurate IT Information

Executive Summary

  • Through ComputerWorld, IDC writes ridiculously inaccurate articles that are paid placements from SAP. IDC is owned by IDG is owned by a Chinese conglomerate with an overwhelming focus on advertising.
  • In this article, we cover another ComputerWorld article about SAP and verify its accuracy.

Introduction

ComputerWorld published the article What Does SAP’s Next Generation ERP Mean for Customers? on July 28, 2017.

This article my ComputerWorld is a series of falsehoods that is controlled by SAP. In this article, we will review how ComputerWorld’s parent company seems to work in providing information to the IT space.

Who Writes ComputerWorld’s SAP Articles

It is most accurate to say that the article is written by SAP and dictated to ComputerWorld. Let me give an example.

If SAP were to provide me with information, and I was to publish it without checking anything, and with simply adding something like…

Then SAP said…

SAP also thinks….

With me wrapping up a conclusion based upon the quotations, and questioning nothing….then who wrote the article?

I would say SAP wrote it.

McDermott and Hasso Plattner are highly compensated to push out information that allows SAP to make the most possible money. McDermott and Plattner are highly unreliable sources, therefore everything they say must be checked from every angle.

Analyzing ComputerWorld’s SAP Articles

These articles influence people and provide them with false information, as the readers do not realize that IDG/ComputerWorld simply rents out their publication to SAP.

This article was not declared as promoted content. Only the middle portion, which are ads that are declared as promoted content.

If you look at the software produced by BuySellAds, the placement of an advertisement in the middle of the page is called a “Promoted Content” slider. But that is a standard term for a middle page ad. ComputerWorldUK uses the RevContent ad serving software. That text most likely came across in the software as the added description.

But you are speaking not per the software’s definition of promoted content, but regarding the media definition, which means ComputerWorldUK was paid to publish it.

I can’t prove that they were, but ComputerWorldUK just about always publishes uncritical SAP articles. So it certainly looks fishy.

What I have found is that trade publications like this don’t have any requirements for accuracy. They exist to promote and to profit maximize.

And this gets into who actually owns ComputerWorldUK. ComputerWorldUK is owned by a media conglomerate named IDG.

Who and What is IDG/IDC?

IDG is a conglomerate that focuses on tech media. Their website declares that they are the number one tech media company in the world. That part may or may not be true, but there is no doubt that many people get information about information technology from IDG, or more specifically its publications.

There is sometimes confusion as to whether IDG and IDC are the same company. The relationship is covered in the following quotation from Wikipedia.

“International Data Group, Inc. (IDG) is a Chinese-owned, American-based media, data and marketing services and venture capital organization. IDG evolved from International Data Corporation (IDC) which was founded in 1964 in Newtonville, Massachusetts, by Patrick Joseph McGovern. IDC provides market research and advisory services and is now a subsidiary of IDG.”

Therefore, IDC is just another of IDG’s offerings. IDC performs research. Although, after reviewing IDC comments, we question this. One of IDG’s low-quality quotations is covered in the article How to Understand Why Fiori Won’t Be Able to Survive.

Also, I have a problem with obtaining information of any kind from an entity that is owned by a Chinese company. China has no freedom of the press, and journalists are quite limited in what they can write. According to Reporters Without Borders, China ranks 176th out of 180 countries in the world in press freedom. RWB calls China the “world’s leading prison for citizen journalists.”

How IDG Works

I wrote a book that described in part how Gartner receives undeclared funding from vendors and how it impacts their media output. This is covered in the book Gartner. IDG was always in the background for me, and I never investigated them. Now it seems they own a publication like ComputerWorldUK that is simply marketing for IT entities.

So with ComputerWorldUK, the article itself is in many cases a paid placement, but then there are advertisements on the page as well.

I counted eight advertisements on the several of the article pages, which means that IDC is getting paid to have people write this article. That may not be a problem, but the article is inaccurate. So money is pushing out bad articles.

The method is obvious. Put no effort into writing the article. Repeat whatever a source tells you verbatim. Pick up money from both the vendor and then the ads.

The best way to put out the most articles with the fewest writers is to simply report whatever the vendor or other paying entity wants you to say.

IDG’s Overwhelming Focus on Advertising

It is interesting to observe this quotation from their website. Here is where they appeal to advertisers.

Who We Are

“We monitor behavior at an account-based level to identify in-market purchase intent and buying teams researching technology products and services across the globe.”

So the readers are being surveilled for purchasing cues? Is that communicated to readers whey visit the site?

“Our customers know they can rely on IDG to deliver the right buyers at scale exactly when they are most receptive to a marketer’s message, wherever they may be in the world.”

Are readers “readers” or are they, buyers? IDG seems to call their readers buyers. So their view of a person reading their content is that they are buyers?

Well, let us ask this question. If readers are simply viewed as buyers, then what is the incentive to provide accurate information. The question is pertinent because accurate information is not always promotional.

Pretending to do Research?

One of the curiosities in the IDG stable is IDC. IDC presents itself as a research entity. But how can it be a research entity if:

But how can it be a research entity if:

  1. It is owned by a Chinese company, a country which is the bottom of the barrel in terms of press freedom?
  2. If IDG distributes highly suspect information through media entities like ComputerWorldUK and CIO, etc…then how dedicated are they to publishing truthful information.

Conclusion

IDG is another one of these media conglomerates that is focused on profit maximization. And when you do that, the quality of information declines. This article should explain why we don’t pay attention to what IDG publishes, except to understand what is being written about technology, and what readers often consume.

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References

[S/4HANA: What does SAP’s next generation ERP mean for customers? | Applications | Computerworld UK](http://www.computerworlduk.com/applications/s4-hana-what-does-saps-next-generation-erp-mean-for-customers-3596790/)