Best blogs for buyers

The best vendor blogs contain hidden corporate and product gems.

In years to come, this decade might well be known as the Age of the Blog. About 80,000 blogs are created every day, according to Umbria Communications, a new-media monitor. Technorati, the popular blog-tracking site, keeps tabs on 24.9 million sites and 1.9 billion links. The blogosphere is a crowded, noisy place, and IT blogs are everywhere. All of which means that finding the best blogs to track your top vendors can be more miss than hit. Yet blogs can be worthwhile sources of little-known company or product information. We looked through hundreds of blogs about the companies featured here, many written by anonymous bloggers who claim to have inside connections. The following are a sample of the best blogs offering inside skinny.

MICROSOFT

Scobleizer, a Microsoft geek blogger

Robert Scoble is a Microsoft technical evangelist. His blog is a combination of RSS championing, links to news sources and commentary on Microsoft's public triumphs and miscues. Scoble predictably touts Microsoft products, but he also admits a grudging appreciation for competitors. (One post lamented his 12-year-old son's effort to save enough money for a new MacBook.)

Name that vendo: Blog matching game. Click to play.

When other blogs, such as Engadget and Techdirt, posted rumors that Microsoft was blocking MP3 playback on Verizon phones, Scoble straightened out the situation within hours.With about 2,500 sites linking to his blog, a statement from Scoble gets around the 'Net quickly.

Scoble's credibility is enhanced by his "I'm not hiding anything" attitude. He posts his cell phone number, and he encourages candid comments from readers. One reader had this to say about Scoble's MacBook post, "Does anybody else see the irony in the son of the most well-known Microsoft evangelist being so pro-Apple?"

Scoble's spin? "My son wants the expensive MacBook [because] it'll run both Windows and OSX. Enough said. . . . He's an iPod fan, which got him sold on Apple stuff."


Plus: Find the information you need in Network World's blogs  

Mini-Microsoft

This blog, published by an anonymous Microsoft employee, pulls no punches when it comes to criticizing the software behemoth. The tagline says it all: "Let's slim down Microsoft into a lean, mean, efficient customer pleasing profit making machine!" Mini has called Microsoft "bloated, big and slow," and has actively discouraged job seekers from looking for work (or accepting work) at Microsoft, though the blogger does think interns can learn a lot from a good dose of Microsoft culture and then taking their talents elsewhere. Yet the blogger writes, "I love Microsoft ... and I know we have the innate potential to be great again and to backtrack away from this path of mediocrity." The rant-meter often goes off the charts at Mini-Microsoft, but the fly on the wall point of view is irresistibly addictive. (Microsoft-sponsored employee blogs can be found here.)

IBM

Ed Brill:Collaboration, Travel, Technology, and More

Ed Brill, a senior marketing manager for Lotus software, is candid and likable. He praises the company but also acknowledges when IBM gets it wrong. In a Jan. 5 post, he admitted that his knee-jerk defense of IBM (and its slack domain-name management) resulted from drinking "a little too much IBM Kool-Aid," and he went on to write that "Microsoft seems to be very good about this."

The blog displays Brill's wry and biting sense of humor. One of the most viewed posts is a PowerPoint presentation provocatively titled "The Boss Loves Microsoft: Where Does that Leave Lotus?" Another good-natured jab was a post that featured a picture of Microsoft Chief Software Architect Bill Gates carrying a precariously balanced sheaf of papers. "Where's his Tablet PC?" Brill mused. (For a guide to IBM blogs, check out "The Hitchhiking Blogger's Guide to IBM Blogs.")

ORACLE

The Tom Kyte Blog

Tom Kyte has been using Oracle products since 1988, has worked for Oracle since 1993 and has written several books on the company. Kyte, who is vice president of the Core Technologies Group, owns asktom.oracle.com, a blog overflowing with Oracle technical knowledge (a Jan. 5 post consisted solely of a 9i/10g version of fncRefCursor2HTML).

The mix of highly technical posts and personal observations (a screen shot of an empty e-mail in-box) gives readers a daily-life perspective. Kyte often reports about the technical support problems he solves as part of his job, which makes this blog an excellent resource for Oracle customers. Recently, Kyte polled readers on their preferences for new tech help forums and engaged in a lively debate in the comment section about the value of such sites.

(Kyte features an extensive blogroll of Oracle blogs, written by insiders and outsiders. You also can find links to blogs about Oracle here.)

Schaibly (sschaibly@aol.com) is a freelance writer in Fort Collins, Colo.

< Previous story: Fave raves

Next story: Read Network World's blogs >

Learn more about this topic

Blogs, wikis find a home in the enterprise

02/08/06

Google charts blog analytics path with Measure Map

02/15/06

Lotus touts role of blogs, wikis and feeds

01/30/06

Blogs are so 16th-century

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Take IDG’s 2020 IT Salary Survey: You’ll provide important data and have a chance to win $500.