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Telco-Backed Research Group Hands Out Award to Verizon for “Market Leadership”

Phillip Dampier September 30, 2010 Astroturf, AT&T, Editorial & Site News, Verizon 3 Comments

The searchlight is looking for cash.

A phone company-backed research group has awarded Verizon the “Top Provider among Market Leaders for multi-protocol label switching and Carrier Ethernet services,” with two 2010 Nemertes PilotHouse Awards. This is the second time Verizon Business has received top honors for Market Leaders in both of these categories since the awards program debuted in 2008.

Nemertes Research, which depends on industry money to conduct research, is behind the awards.  Nemertes, backed by the phone industry-funded Internet Innovation Alliance, is the same group that regularly issues research reports predicting an imminent global “brown-out” of the Internet because of excessive broadband traffic.  In turn, those reports are used to lobby for network management policies that violate Net Neutrality and fuel calls for Internet Overcharging schemes.

Verizon’s press release spends several paragraphs on the defensive, going out of its way to suggest this particular award was not another phoneybaloney recognition created out of thin air with telco money:

“This recognition is particularly meaningful because the rankings are based 100 percent on the views and experiences of actual users, making PilotHouse a truly unique industry award,” said Anthony Recine, vice president of networking and communications solutions for Verizon Business.

[…]PilotHouse Awards are based 100% on the experiences of IT-decision makers. No vendors sponsor this research.

Nemertes itself spends plenty of time trying to cope with skepticism on its own website, but manages to expose another money trail along the way (underlining ours):

6) Is this a “pay-to-play” awards program?

No. Nemertes publishes aggregate and comparative data for all vendors for which we receive a total number of ratings equal to at least 10% of the total pool of ratings. As part of the survey, Nemertes provides a list of vendors derived from extensive research and analysis. There is also another category to allow participants to write in any provider in any category.

9) Can vendors promote the awards?

Yes. After completion of the award reports, Nemertes will notify winners and offer the option of buying award packages that include reprint rights, logo licensing, webinars, issue papers, and award dinner tickets. Buying award packages have no bearing on the results of the PilotHouse awards.

Among the big winners are AT&T, Cisco (the biggest driver of the “exaflood” theory around), Verizon, and Qwest.

What remains unsaid is who pays Nemertes to run an awards program and where the research firm would be without large telecommunications companies purchasing “research” they can safely assume will always find in their favor.

Nemertes’s slogan is “Independence, Integrity, Insight.”  Research groups that truly represent those ideals need not emphasize them because they are embodied in the quality of the research, the firewall that keeps industry money from tainting the findings, and full disclosure of who is paying for what.

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Andreas M. Antonopoulos
Andreas M. Antonopoulos
10 years ago

While there are few facts sprinkled among the sea of innuendo and speculation in this article, we would like to address the issue as directly and honestly as we can. There are several inaccuracies and clarifications required: 1.) Nemertes is not “backed” by phone companies. 2.) This is not a pay-for-play program, as evidenced by the fact that Verizon won an award, and did not pay Nemertes a dime for it. 3.) The Internet Innovation Alliance is not a client of Nemertes. Please correct this inaccuracy. 4.) Nemertes’ clients represent a wide range of global enterprises, midsize businesses, as well… Read more »

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10 years ago

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