I’ve been thinking for a long time that the various text mining companies doing sentiment analysis should try some public-facing (or at least multi-customer) services. Investors might love such a thing. So might marketing managers (actually, Factiva claims to be active there, at least as per their web site). And as a key part of the strategy, text mining companies selling to enterprises might brand such a site and gain massive awareness accordingly. Well, it seems that public-facing sentiment analysis sites are springing up. At least, Summize has. (Hat tip to TechCrunch.) And the text mining vendors are nowhere to be seen.
So what else is new? The leading text mining vendors also aren’t active in text search, except to some extent in the custom-publishing vertical, despite the huge reliance of search vendors on text mining technologies. They aren’t getting traction in the archiving/compliance area. There don’t seem to be significant efforts to develop next-generation integrated servers. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be much of anything except:
1. Custom publishing.
2. The same old, same old failure analysis and threat detection.
Jay Henderson, when he was at ClearForest, told me he tracked 80 text mining companies whose aggregate revenue he estimated at under $100 million. He also didn’t think any text mining company would get over $20 million in revenue. Now, I think the latter was a little pessimistic. But directionally, unless the industry seriously gets its act together, he was correct.
Right now, I think the most likely outcome is that the text mining industry pretty much gets merged out of existence in a few years. Consolidation is a pretty safe way to bet in most software sectors these days, and I don’t see the kind of energy in the text mining sector that is required to beat the consolidation trend.