> The ZD Internet magazine article mentioned in this group checked out 7 or 8
> products. Gee, there must be 20 products. Is it just the space limitations
> in the mags that limits their articles?
Space and money, although they are the same thing. Writers get paid by the
word, and words are directly related to ad revenues in a complicated and
ugly formula. Words (derived from ad revenue projections) are allocated by
the uber-God, the Editor in Chief, to a set of warring warlords, the
Section Editors. Any section editor who wants MORE words than they've been
given is out of luck, unless some other section editor admits in a meeting
that they lost an article or something, which a section editor would never
do. This is similar to the situation in certain organizations where you
have to spend all your budget or they'll cut it.
Anyway, the point is that an editor has room for, let's say, 3000 words.
The editor and the writer go back and forth, trying to decide what a "fair"
allocation of words to each product is. Typically, you'd want to think
about at least 600 words per product, which means that a 3000 word article
is going to barely cover 5 products. That's why you see that magic number
of 7 plus or minus 2 in a typical article, because most good publications
have about 3000 words tops for a review. Some do a lot more: InfoWorld is
famous for their 9,000 word reviews. Some do a lot less---I won't mention
any names for fear of reprisals.
> Here's my contribution to articles: Check out NW Fusion article, comparing
> only NT-based firewall products. They review 8 vendors. Site is
> http://www.nwfusion.com. You'll have to create an account, then check the
> Doc Finder. Look for document 0402.
Network World is a very special case, in my opinion, because they have a
concentrated program of revisiting the firewall market every 6--9 months or so.
Each review does a subset of the total market, but if you watch the reviews
over a 2 or 3 year period, you begin to get a long-term view of how the
market works and how the products are evolving. I believe that if you
aggregate ALL of the Network World reviews (all available on NW Fusion),
you'll get the 10,000 or 15,000 word review you really wanted, only time
shifted. Sure, any given product's details will change from season to
season, but the general architecture and the support by the vendor for new
features and concepts will begin to show through.
Well, I can see I've written a lot more about test labs than anyone ever
wanted to know, so I'll stop.
Disclaimer: Our consulting company runs a test lab which sells a lot of
reviews to a lot of magazines, including Network World.
Joel M Snyder, 1404 East Lind Road, Tucson, AZ, 85719
Phone: +1 520 324 0494 (voice) +1 520 324 0495 (FAX)
COM http://www.opus1.com/jms Opus One