Forrester Research’s Josh Bernoff, who did the study that supposedly “proved” iTunes sales were collapsing, has written an official blog post explaining how the whole thing was misunderstood and blown out of proportion. Essentially, all the study proved was that 181 people bought less songs from iTunes, and that sales tend to peak over the holiday shopping season. The fact is, The Register, one of the least credible news organizations on the planet (and I got news: Its far worse than anything FOX does), deliberately misled its readers and all the linking journalists.
Why did this happen? Simple reason: The Register had access to the report, and the rest of the internet didn’t. Yes, even if I had access to the report, and all the other well-read bloggers had it, it would still take days to debunk. However, most prominent bloggers would have read the report before posting about it, knowing how little we all trust The Register. I didn’t want to write about the story because The Register wrote about it, but I was willing to write about it because Forrester’s name was on it.
The Register was trading on the good name of Forrester Research, dragging Forrester’s name through the mud in what could only be called a deception. No intelligent person could have drawn the conclusions stated by The Register, so either this was deliberate, or their reporters are morons.
The fact is, we all need to stop relying on The Register, which is trying to lie to us. No matter what you may like about them, they are trying to mislead their readers, and cannot be trusted. I am making a pledge: I will no longer rely on The Register as the main source of a news story. If I slip up, I will have to donate ten dollars to charity. If every blogger makes that sort of pledge, and some stupid story like this happens again, it will cost the blogosphere thousands of dollars. There needs to be a deterrent against shoddy reporting.
Also, Forrester needs to open up their reports to bloggers. No blogger is going to pay hundreds of dollars on a report, yet we’re the ones who need that information for accurate reporting. The fact is, it isn’t our reputations that are hurt the most when we don’t have these reports, it is Forresters, and it isn’t the blogosphere that benefits when a Forrester report gets a lot of press, it is Forrester that benefits. It is in their best interest to give bloggers with a large enough audience complete access, and it will get them plenty of good press, and prevent stuff like this.
(via Slashdot, the biggest part of the problem, as they continue to allow links to The Register as though it were legitimate)