Cross My Palm With Silver...
I used to frequent Madame Zelda and her Mystic Crystal Of Doom. Between that and the tarot cards, secret golden sunbeams, and trained chicken that picked out fortune sticks from the red lacquered box, I figured that I had a close watch upon the future. I bought stocks in zeppelin airlines and pet rock farms accordingly.
Then one day the internet started and within 4 seconds of the first computer switch-on, a camera rumour site appeared.
I have abandoned Zelda and now use these exclusively. It is not so much that they are more accurate than she was - it is just that there is a boundless sense of confidence about them that the chicken never had. I think it is a case of numbers - if there are enough people playing let's-pretend the fairy tale becomes realer and realer.
Perhaps the posters on these sites do have some influence - Several weeks back the Fuji Rumors site reported that the Fujifilm company monitors what people say when the site calls for a wish-list of features. Certainly any authentic consumer research data is valuable to commercial firms...the question is whether it is accurate or real. The internet hides motives as well as identities.
Of course each major manufacturer will be monitoring the sites of their rivals. As the sites will be multilingual, there must be teams doing it in each case. I can imagine spilled teacups and footsteps hurrying down corridors when a hint of someone else's advance is detected. Closed-door conferences to counter the promises of a rival. Late-night sessions trying to fabricate a formula of words to suggest that Manufacturer A's promised camera or lens will have the world's best whatever and that anything that Manufacturer B can promise will be rubbish.
Code Purple? Enigma machines? Listening at doors with a water glass? Nano-coated ninjas?
I think we can all stop watching the Agatha Christie shows on television and just do the rounds of the rumour sites every evening. Cheaper than Foxtel and far more exciting.