Vivisimo, Please Keep It Real

March 13, 2009
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Let me preface this post with a clear disclaimer: I am the Chief Scientist of Endeca, a leading enterprise search vendor, but the views I express on this blog, including those about Endeca’s customers, partners, and competitors, are my own.

And one of my strong personal opinions is that marketing campaigns should be honest. One of the blogs I read is Search Done Right, a corporate blog maintained by Vivisimo.  Regardless of my opinions about Vivisimo’s technology, I am a fan of their marketing department. They’ve achieved visibility disproportionate to their market share–in no small part by promoting interface innovation. I also have met their CEO and CTO, and I think they’re both great guys.

But today, I saw a post entitled “New Enterprise Search Pundit on the Scene?“, which I copy in full below:

When I logged into my Vivisimo email this morning, I had a message from a guy named Stan. He must have gotten my contact info from this blog or the LinkedIn Enterprise Search Professionals group as someone interested in search and sent me the manifesto below since I don’t recall meeting him at a recent Gartner PCC show or an Enterprise Search Str

Let me preface this post with a clear disclaimer: I am the Chief Scientist of Endeca, a leading enterprise search vendor, but the views I express on this blog, including those about Endeca’s customers, partners, and competitors, are my own.

And one of my strong personal opinions is that marketing campaigns should be honest. One of the blogs I read is Search Done Right, a corporate blog maintained by Vivisimo.  Regardless of my opinions about Vivisimo’s technology, I am a fan of their marketing department. They’ve achieved visibility disproportionate to their market share–in no small part by promoting interface innovation. I also have met their CEO and CTO, and I think they’re both great guys.

But today, I saw a post entitled “New Enterprise Search Pundit on the Scene?“, which I copy in full below:

When I logged into my Vivisimo email this morning, I had a message from a guy named Stan. He must have gotten my contact info from this blog or the LinkedIn Enterprise Search Professionals group as someone interested in search and sent me the manifesto below since I don’t recall meeting him at a recent Gartner PCC show or an Enterprise Search Strategy (ESS) event. At any rate, I bookmarked his site and will let you know when it goes live – should be interesting. Maybe he has the makings of a search industry pundit in him…

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m getting really sick of not being able to find things at my company. I mean, I have a hard enough time finding my coffee cup each morning because someone in Marketing (I know it’s you, Jan) keeps moving it. But when it comes to data, it’s just impossible to find anything. Think about it for a second. On when I’m on the Internet, I do a Google search for “product requirements document” and get more than 22 million results in less than half a second. Try doing that on your intranet. I mean seriously. Can you even find a search box on your intranet? My last company didn’t even have one.

And when there is a box, what does it really search? A couple of intranet pages? What happens if you have multiple intranets? I bet your search only looks at one. Then you have to use a separate desktop search. And another search for email. And another for your external website. All of this searching is stopping us from getting any work done.

Then I heard about this enterprise search thing. Frankly, it sounds too good to be true. Searching across multiple repositories from a single search box. Presenting results into topical clusters. Tagging and rating documents to impact future search relevancy. Sharing results with other users. All of this while respecting my individual security rights. Seems like pie in the sky to me. Is anybody actually doing this, or is it just some marketing hype?

So I’m starting my own website, www.meetstan.com, to figure things out for myself. The site will be up March 16. Come by and tell me what you think.

Curious, I went to Whois.com and looked up meetstan.com. As you can verify for yourself, the registrant is none other than Vivisimo.

Am I naive to be shocked at this sort of marketing gimmick? Perhaps. But I’m sensitive because there aren’t that many people who understand enterprise search, and there’s a lot of concern about analysts offering less than independent opinions. I assume that Vivisimo isn’t planning to the site to promote a shill analyst, but rather is using this blog post  to create pre-launch buzz around a marketing portal.

Please, Vivisimo, don’t play these sorts of games. Given how uniformed so many people are about enterprise search, many people are likely to take a hoax like this seriously. That’s bad for Vivisimo’s reputation, and for the field as a whole. I’m sure this was an innocent mistake. I hope it will be quickly resolved, and that you will go back to promoting your technology and vision without resorting to such gimmicks.

I also encourage anyone from Vivisimo to comment here and offer clarification.

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