Some vendor blogs leave much to be desired

Some vendor blogs fall short of expectations, including those from Foundry and Microsoft.

Foundry

This one's so bad we're reluctant to even call it a blog. But that's what Foundry calls this collection of press releases, white papers and product data sheets. It's riddled with broken links and hasn't been updated in more than a year and a half. Curiously, the blog site gives readers the option to subscribe. If it were ever updated, that might come in handy.

Scorecard:

1. Is the blog site easy to find from the company's home page? NO

2. Are bloggers identified human beings who are not in public relations? NO

3. Number of blogs: ONE

4. Is IT product information useful, or mostly just public relations? PR

5. Is there high-level discussion of issues important to IT executives? NO

6. How often are blogs updated? NOT SINCE FEBRUARY 2006

7. Is feedback accepted and displayed? NO

8. Do bloggers reply to feedback in a timely manner? NO FEEDBACK

9. Are there links to outside sites? NO

10. Can you subscribe? YES

Microsoft

Microsoft is one of the most important companies in the history of technology. If only Bill Gates' brainchild had a blog page to match its lofty standards of innovation. The Microsoft community blog site lists just five blogs on its main page, including one on the Xbox, plus a few blogcasts. You can, however, find a lot more Microsoft blogs if you search the company's Web site. The Microsoft Developer Network blog is extensive, for example, but the identity of contributors is often unclear. Our analysis focused on the Microsoft Community Blogs page.

Scorecard:

1. Is the blog site easy to find from the company's home page? NO

2. Are bloggers identified human beings who are not in public relations? YES

3. Number of blogs: FIVE

4. Is IT product information useful, or mostly just public relations? USEFUL

5. Is there high-level discussion of issues important to IT executives? SOMETIMES

6. How often are blogs updated? WEEKLY

7. Is feedback accepted and displayed? YES

8. Do bloggers reply to feedback in a timely manner? SOMETIMES

9. Are there links to outside sites? RARELY

10. Can you subscribe? YES

*A note on the evaluation: We separated the 15 corporate blogs into four categories in descending order of quality. Within each category the companies are listed alphabetically, not by order of quality.

We judged each corporate blog on the same 10 criteria.

For the first criterion, we judged a blog easy to find if it can be accessed within two clicks from the company's home page under an obvious category, such as "about company X," or "company news."

In No. 4, if product information is labeled "mostly public relations," that means you could probably find the same depth of information in a generic company announcement.


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