I do not mean any disrepect to Henry Wilhelm, and indeed hold his efforts over the past several decades in highest esteem.
However, I do feel it improper for someone to drive forward an agreeable standard, but then force all of the industry to submit to his own institute, WIR (Wilhelm Imaging Research), to qualify to meet that standard. While the concept of a "seal" sounds good on the outside, the obvious conflict of interest is a problem for me.
I agree with other posters that a standard approach would be beneficial, and at least he has tried to achieve that. However, once that standard is achieved, it cannot be then controlled by any single entity. To do so is self serving and opens the door for any number of things. Despite his criticism of ANSI standards and government involvement giving way to industry pressures, this approach is not much better.
Unless the institute is willing to test and publish results of any legitimate manufacturers product without a fee, and unless any funds provided to support the research and testing are raised without obligation and blind to the research side, then the institute becomes self serving and a business, no matter how noble the cause may seem. (I admit while this may make sense, it may be unrealistic and impossible to accomplish ... how do you get any funds at all if no one has to pay? Of course this doesn't make the conflict of interest a non-issue).
Otherwise, the only correct procedure might be akin to the recent system implemented by the USGA in the measurement of drivers by golf club makers. Once the standard was established, and an accurate and repeatable method of measuring that standard was created (in this case a device), then any manufacturer could either submit their clubs to be tested, or could indeed purchase the necessary equipment and do their own certified testing.
Perhaps there is enough disagreement in the industry that this isn't possible, but it would be very beneficial if all the manufacturers agreed on the testing procedure/methods/equipment, and used the same process to measure the longevity of their product. If they prefered they could pay a company like Wilhelm to do the testing, but it would not be required of anyone. Indeed, if they felt the need to do tests in addition to those required, they could do those tests with appropriate explanations, but still do the standard tests.
I offer these ideas/critcism openly admitting I have no direct knoweldge of the relationship of WIR to manufacturers other than the conversation mentioned in my original post. They may operate just as I have suggested, but I have done some research on their site to see exactly how they operate, and my opinions are based on the fact that I can find no information to indicate their policy. (I intend to research further, their site is very poorly done and difficult to search). I would assume if research was blind to revenue, it would be a big deal and mentioned quite boldly, since it would lend great credibility to the published tests.
That being said, in my research I did find this link regarding the longevity of the Canon Lucia inks, which supports the idea that the black ink change was not the result of a longevity issue, but prompted by the reasons told to me by Canon, need to improve metamerism and gloss differential, especially on photo papers.http://www.canon.ca/pdf/Official_Canon_WIR...lt_April_07.pdf
I might also add that while I applaud the desire of manufacturers to improve their inks, at this point the life of the inks are no longer a factor in my purchase decisions, meaning as long as it is a good inkset with good longevity, I won't choose another because it lasts longer. I may choose it for other reasons, but when it comes down to the big 3, Epson, Canon, and HP, and their recent inks, they all last long enough. The fact is that within 100 years, the life of the great majority of photographs will end in some other manner besides fading, and that is the true problem with photographic longevity.