As part of my job, I come in contact with a lot of technology companies--the same companies that we write about and discuss in the forums every day. I often encourage them to follow the threads in the forums and the general feedback from TechRepublic members when we write about their products.
For years, I've been encouraging product managers at these technology companies to get involved in the conversation. They usually know their products inside and out and have deep knowledge of the market category that their product covers. As a result, I think they a valuable perspective to add.
I also don't mind when they respond to criticisms and defend their product, as long as they are transparent and forthcoming about it and don't just copy and paste from their marketing material. I simply request that they identify themselves as official representatives of their companies. In many cases, they can help clear up confusion, explain product features (or missing features), and provide valuable insights about the future roadmap of the product.
As a result, I think technology companies can add useful information to product discussions on TechRepublic and I'd like to encourage more of it. Very few companies take me up on it, but I will continue to encourage them. However, I'm also interested to hear what TechRepublic members think about this topic. Take the two polls below and add your thoughts in the comments.
Here are a couple examples where representatives of IT companies played a constructive role in TechRepublic discussions:
Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks.