Monday, February 27, 2012

It Is Publicity, After All

The geo-strategic forecasting firm obviously doesn't come off particularly well in some of the emails released today, but could Julian Assange's attack on Stratfor actually help it? It seems to me that if you are an investor who is not all that well informed (no shortage of those!), and you are searching for a consultant to give you a little more information about political risk in Latin America, Stratfor is suddenly better known than most of its competitors. And from what I've read, the emails are embarrassing, but not the sort of thing that would make you run from them if you were otherwise inclined to hire the firm. On the contrary, paid sources and a willingness to use sex to obtain information probably makes them seem like big-timers to a certain group of potential clients. Indeed, the mere fact that they would be targeted by WikiLeaks suggests that they are a source of information comparable to a secretive government agency, which is just the sort of fantasy they'd like to peddle.

In other words: the best reasons to be skeptical of Stratfor's services --i.e., they don't know much more than anyone who's paying attention, and they charge a whole lot of money-- have not changed at all. People who were not won over by that argument aren't going to swayed by a handful of uncomfortable internal company missives. And now their profile has gone through the roof.

No comments: