The Times Online article puts a sensationalist spin on Nemertes research and took great liberty with my quotes. I urge people to read the report and the FAQ. We model Internet supply and demand because service providers won't share their actual demand and capacity plans. As you'll read, our research is funded by our clients: Vendors, service providers and fortune 500 enterprise.
Nemertes Internet Infrastructure Report
DampierPhillip M Dampier
I read the FAQ and it's a classic case of conflict of interest. Your study would not have been done without the financing of vendors, service providers, and other corporate clients. You also appear to have a revenue stream from licensing the results of the study to interested clients, who I assure you wouldn't bother unless they had a vested interest in the findings.
Additionally, since we all know the results are made public, and media availabilities are prominently mentioned on the website, a paying client has the bonus of a seemingly independent third party who will be available to discuss the findings and results. That keeps their hands clean, but not so clean when they license the report findings and mention them prominently when delving into public policy, public relations, and marketing strategies.
It's also unsurprising that Nemertes stays out of public policy recommendations, because that is exactly what clients want. They'll provide their own spin as they see fit, just as happened in 2007 and will no doubt happen again.
It's all very neat and tidy, and immediately draws suspicion as soon as that time honored strategy of following the money begins.
I'd also say sensationalism and spin follows your report on this matter wherever you go. It drew the exact same panic headlines in 2007, was dredged up again by a few marketing people to justify broadband usage caps in 2008, and now largely the exact same coverage is appearing now, coincidentally in the same month broadband issues and capacity has been headline news since Time Warner used your theories to justify their Internet rationing effort.
If you want to do reports for clients who subscribe to your service, then send them the results and don't make them public. Let the clients make the report public, because they are effectively paying for it. It prevents the accusation you are astroturfing on their behalf by insulating their involvement in the effort.
Otherwise, a list of all supporting clients by name, in addition to whether they have been licensed to use the material, absolutely must be added to the bottom of your findings, or they are rightfully dismissed out of hand as bought and paid for.
Alternatively, if you are doing this in the public interest, do not accept funding from those with a vested interest in the findings, and do not license their use by anyone. Let people read them on your site, in full and in context, not after some marketing group has massaged the relevant points for their latest strategy.