The economy must be recovering – there are more consultants we've never heard of crawling out of the woodwork. We had an email in from one today saying they had enjoyed our coverage of the LexisNexis Streamline product launch. They went on to ask us a number of technical questions about the Streamline SDKs – followed by the remark “We are in the process of doing research on business process management solutions for our clients who are law firms, so any help in getting answers to the above queries will be really useful.”

Make that really useful and free.

Of course 'proper' IT consultants encounter a similar problem, namely banking and finance groups – doing due diligence work in preparation for IT vendor mergers and acquisitions – trying to pick their brains for free and quibbling over fees, when they stand to make huge sums from any deal.

Perhaps the best way to deal with these free-loaders is to give them totally bogus answers to their questions. There again, looking at the aftermath of some of these acquisitions, perhaps this has already been happening.