Analysis of text mining vendor ClearForest (recently acquired by Reuters) and its products. Related subjects include:

November 19, 2008

More website weirdness

Here’s something longer-lasting and weirder than Vertica’s “We sell turkeys” theme: Mark Logic, whose product is used primarily to help enterprises make their content more acceptable, doesn’t have a search engine on its own website.* Read more

September 19, 2008

Low-latency text mining in the investment market

I’m not at Gartner’s Event Processing conference, but there seem to be some interesting posts and articles coming out of it. Seth Grimes has one on Reuters’ integration of text mining and event processing, including sentiment analysis. Well worth reading. Lots more detail than I’ve ever posted on similar applications.

October 5, 2007

Text mining applications as per Attensity and Clarabridge

Besides asking them technical questions, I surveyed Attensity and Clarabridge last week about text mining application trends, getting generously detailed answers from Michelle De Haaff of Attensity and Justin Langseth of Clarabridge. Perhaps the most important point to emerge was that it’s not just about particular apps. Enterprises are doing text mining POCs (Proofs of Concept) around specific apps, commonly in the CRM area, but immediately structuring the buying process in anticipation of a rollout across multiple departments in the enterprise.

Other highlights of what they said included: Read more

July 22, 2007

Text analytics marketplace trends

It was tough to judge user demand at the recent Text Analytics Summit because, well, very few users showed up. And frankly, I wasn’t as aggressive at pumping vendors for trends as I am some other times. That said, I have talked with most text analytics vendors recently,* and here are my impressions of what’s going on. Any contrary – or confirming! — opinions would be most welcome.

*Factiva is the most significant exception. Hint, hint.

If you think about it, text analytics is a “secret ingredient” in search, antispam, and data cleaning,* and this dominates all other uses of the technology. A significant minority of the research effort at companies that do any kind of text filtering is – duh — text analytics. Cold comfort for specialist text analytics vendors, to be sure, but that’s the way it is.

*I.e., part of the “T” in “ETL” (Extract/Transform/Load).

Text-analytics-enhanced custom publishing will surely at some point become a must-have for business and technical publishers. However, it appears that we’re not quite there yet, as large publishers make do with simple-minded search and the like. In what I suspect is a telling market commentary, there’s no headlong rush among vendors to dump text mining for custom publishing, notwithstanding the examples of nStein and (sort of) ClearForest. I don’t want to be overly negative – either my friends at Mark Logic are doing just fine or else they’re putting up a mighty brave front – but I don’t think the nonspecialist publishing market is there yet. Read more

May 23, 2007

(A little) more on Business Objects/Inxight

After missing what seems to have been an uninformative press conference anyway, I hooked up later with the Business Objects folks on the phone. I say that it was probably uninformative because in the short call, it was pointed out to me that they really weren’t at liberty to say much anyway. Here are a couple of tidbits I picked up even so.

April 30, 2007

ClearForest, Reuters, Factiva, Dow Jones, and possible futures

ClearForest is being acquired by Reuters. That ClearForest is being bought is unsurprising. The company recently pulled in its marketing horns dramatically, a common sign of putting oneself up for sale. The Reuters move, meanwhile, can be seen as a sequel to the divestiture of its half of Factiva to former 50-50 partner Dow Jones.

If the two main parts of the text mining market are custom publishing and finding warning signs, then both could actually be a good fit with Reuters. The custom publishing part is obvious. As for early warning – well, maybe ClearForest will lose its competitive edge in consumer product warranty analysis or something, but a significant fraction of the early warning market is tied to news articles, web postings, and other things that are a good fit for Reuters.

But the really interesting (at least to me) possibilities arise in the core Reuters and Dow Jones business of supporting investment decisions. Read more

March 19, 2007

What’s going on at ClearForest?

I tried to invite Jay Henderson so speak on the Text Analytics Summit marketing panel, but got no answer to my e-mail. The company phone directory didn’t work so well for him either. I sent e-mail to a general PR company e-mail address, and that didn’t get returned. And Ravi tells me he has had similar difficulties reaching them. Read more

December 27, 2006

Text analytics is finally being used for investment analysis

Jay Henderson of ClearForest tells me that hedge funds are one of their more interesting growth areas. It’s about time.

I think a lot of the reason for investment firms not making more use of text analytics has been structural — Factiva, the (relatively speaking) mammoth joint venture of Reuters and Dow Jones, is forbidden by its parent companies from meeting investment firms’ needs. And that’s kind of a pity, as it’s probably the best-positioned firm to do so. It’s good to hear that the little guys are finally filling the gap.

December 27, 2006

Telling Attensity and ClearForest apart

So far as I can tell, Attensity’s strategy when the company was originally founded was rather like ClearForest’s strategy today – and vice-versa. That said, here’s where they seem to stand at this time:

Read more

August 26, 2006

Mark Logic and the custom publishing business

I talked again with Mark Logic, makers of MarkLogic Server, and they continue to have an interesting story. Basically, their technology is better search/retrieval through XML. The retrieval part is where their major differentiation lies. Accordingly, their initial market focus (they’re up to 46 customers now, including lots of big names) is on custom publishing. And by the way, they’re a good partner for fact-extraction companies, at least in the case of ClearForest.

Here, as best I understand, is the story of the custom publishing business. Read more

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