Sentiment analysis has more legs than we’d bargained for

I used to cover a lot of so-called sentiment analysis vendors, that is companies that used text analysis techniques to mine the Web to determine how consumers feel about something, be it a company, product, movie or whatever.

Companies like BuzzMetrics, Biz360 and Cymfony sprung up to serve this market. Some got bought – BuzzMetrics is now part of Nielsen and Cymfony was picked up by TNS Media Intelligence in February 2007. Biz360 meanwhile is still independent and plugging away.

Around the time we published our Text-Aware applications special report in mid-2005 we thought this stuff would move beyond appealing solely to marketing and PR professionals to blaze some sort of trail of text analysis into the enterprise, rather like analysis on structured data has done via the likes of SAS Institute and SPSS. Well, it didn’t, though we still think in general enterprises will adopt text analysis, but that’s for another post.

But I’m amazed to find, turning back to look at the sentiment analysis market after recent conversations with the likes of Jodange and veteran Lexalytics (which is an enabler of this stuff rather than selling the service itself) and reading Matthew Hurst’s posts on sentiment mining that there’s way more companies now than there were 2-3 years ago (so much for traditional maturation models leading to consolidation, or perhaps, with our eye on innovation we were just too early?). But the somewhat disappointing thing to notice was that they are still to doing much the same thing with what appears to be much the same technology.

So here’s a list of what we would broadly call sentiment analysis companies in alphabetical order (some old, some new, some stealth). This is list far from comprehensive and very North American-focused, so I realize I’m probably missing a lot.

It was originally compiled for our internal use, but once I realized just how much of this stuff there is around, I thought I’d share it to see if I could find anymore.

Andiamo Systems – I don’t know them but pricing it by ‘mention’ makes me wonder how sophisticated the sentiment analysis is – more mentions doesn’t necessarily equate to anything other than more mentions.

Biz360 – veteran of the space

BrandIntel – appears to involve a bit of manual labor, rather than a pure software approach

Buzzlogic – recent startup with a lot of er, buzz

Collective Intellect – company launched about a year ago, targeting financial services industry, which is somewhat tough right now

Infonic – British company formerly known as Corpora, has broader text analysis tools and used at Dow Jones, so I believe

Monitor110 – aimed at institutional investors, with Daper Fisher Jurvetson as investors

MotiveQuest – I don’t know them but from the website it may not be quite so technology-driven and more brute force, but I could be wrong

Nielsen Buzzmetrics – the 800lb gorilla that rolled up some of the early players

Nstein – has an Nsentiment module as part of its text analytics offering aimed at the publishing industry

Northern Light – veteran search company, has some sentiment analysis in its MI analyst product, but it’s document-level, which means the whole document is either one thing or another, when often stories can be both positive and negative

RavenPack counts Dow Jones as a partner and also claims to be able to do news-based algorithmic trading, which is ballsy, if nothing else

SentiMetrix – stealth, apparently

ScoutLabs – in beta and uses Lexalytics’ technology

SkyGrid – aggregates and analyzes financial news, includes Bill Burnham as an enthusiastic investor

Summize – analyzes online product reviews for sentiment

Umbria -focused on online sentiment analysis of social media, such as blogs

Here is our report on Lexalytics (451 login required to see full text) and our report on Jodange will come shortly.

We plan to speak to some (but not all) of the above in the coming and I’ll report back on what I find (though most of it will end up in our syndicated research). But if anyone knows of any significant omissions, please leave them in the comments, I’d love to know.



#1 Katey Wood on 03.31.08 at 8:54 am

Sometimes looking at the worst “reputation management” Co. websites (present company excluded), I picture a thousand monkeys at a thousand keyboards typing:

“Widget Inc.”(1n)(sucks OR rules).

That’s some proximity search humor, for you non-librarians 😉

#2 Tom O'B on 03.31.08 at 10:46 am

Nice post – MotiveQuest is people driving high-tech tools. In other words, we don’t have one sentiment analysis engine – but the linguistic model is tweaked for each domain and project to make sure we get it right.

Also – going beyond sentiment, we can model emotions using a linguistic modeling approach – see more here:

MotiveQuest LLC

#3 Kathleen M on 03.31.08 at 12:44 pm

Great information, thanks for putting it all in one place. Perception Metrics is another new player in this field. We have over 10 years of experience in development of text analysis tools being used by government clients. We expanded our reach in late 2007 and are now offering a sophisticated sentiment analysis solution for public relations and market research/branding clients. Our sentiment scoring is based on grammatical connections at the phrase level – providing more precise sentiment scores than those that only score the entire document as pos/neg/neu. Our website is bare bones as we work on launching a new one, but check us out:

#4 Jim Nail on 03.31.08 at 3:59 pm

A very good summary of the state of the art. Feel free to contact us at Cymfony — I would be happy to give you our view of the market as you do your research.

#5 Mary Grace Crissey on 03.31.08 at 6:21 pm

Although Sentiment analysis was not the original motivator for developing our SAS Text Miner software, we are finding more and more SAS users unearthing valuable sentiment information as they perform their customer intelligence analysis. By applying SAS analytics to transcripts of customer calls and related metadata (such as length of call, hold time, number of transfers) they are able to determine customers’ satisfaction sentiment and predict outcomes (is a customer a good credit risk or are they likely to close an account, for example). Insurance companies use SAS text analytics on adjusters’ claim notes and demographic information to detect possible fraudulent claims.

Rolling ahead to a bold new 2008 – especially with our recent acquisition of Teragram – there will be no doubt that SAS belongs there on your “Short List” .

#6 Mary Grace Crissey on 03.31.08 at 6:39 pm

For those of you who’d like to read more about how
the standard weightings, synoyms and strucutred data manipulation are extended to generate text clusters based on sentiment with groups sorted by attitude, opinions, and tone/polarity – I invite you to check out this paper presented 2 weeks ago at our SAS Global Forum.

“Coming to a Theater Near You! Sentiment lassification Techniques Using SAS® Text Miner”

#7 You Mon Tsang on 04.01.08 at 2:30 am

Since sentiment analysis is as hard a problem as it gets in text mining, I am not surprised to more vendors try to enter this space. As the “veteran” in this space, I met with dozens of vendors, PhDs and scientists in the early Biz360 years to buy a solution. Turns out few could do it well, cheaply, or in the way we wanted.

So we built the technology and it has served us and our clients well, but expect to see continued innovation in this space, from us and others.

There is still a lot to do and the challenge of sentiment analysis is just too interesting a challenge for a ambitious PhD to ignore.

#8 Eric Martin on 04.01.08 at 4:09 am

SPSS has been delivering true sentiment analysis capabilities for a while, and now in 5 different languages:

#9 Eric Martin on 04.01.08 at 4:14 am

If you want to learn more about how our customers have implemented sentiment analysis to address business issues, you can download the Guidebook from Nucleus Research:–%20SPSS%20Text%20Mining.pdf

#10 Leon on 04.02.08 at 7:30 am is another company providing social media monitoring and sentiment analysis.

Please check us out

#11 links for 2008-04-02 « Dmartel’s Weblog on 04.02.08 at 10:51 am

[…] Sentiment analysis has more legs than we’d bargained for — Too much information […]

#12 John Hingley on 04.02.08 at 4:52 pm

Nice summary of the players and sentiment analysis is certainly an area has a long way to go. We use a combination of technology + human analysis in our reporting, as the Pearson coefficents (a measure of accuracy in semantic scoring) with tech + human review are more in line with what our clients demand. Our ‘volume based’ pricing model is in place to appeal to smaller companies as well as mid-tier, larger companies as well.

#13 Nick Patience on 04.18.08 at 3:04 pm

Thanks everyone for the comments and additional suggestions, very useful for our ongoing coverage.


#14 Thoughts on the Text Analytics Summit — Too much information on 06.20.08 at 9:46 am

[…] to know about was sentiment analysis. There’s a lot of vendors out there as we’ve noted before and a fair amount of confusion on the part of prospective users as to what it is, why it’s […]

#15 Steve Dodd on 09.24.08 at 8:10 am

Some very interesting comments here. Providing “valid” sentiment analysis is obviously important but providing a vehicle to analyze the geo/demographic sources of sentiment is even more useful to a professional marketer. Check out for a very different approach to real time online media analytics.

#16 Ahmed Gomaa on 11.13.08 at 12:46 am

iMediaStreams delivers ad-placement and business intelligence solutions based on social media and blogs buzz. As one, if not the only company that is validating and monetizing User sentiment with ad-serving. Check us out at and compare your results with ours! we are providing a free feed of the different segments based on 26 categories.

#17 Frank Xavier on 01.15.09 at 2:55 pm

In Europe, one of the leading providers of sentiment analysis solutions is Rapid-I:

Based on their open source data mining, text mining, and web mining software RapidMiner, they offer sentiment analysis software and solutions, training, consulting, customized developments, web services etc.:

RapidMiner is used in more than 40 countries and Rapid-I serves customers in Europe, North America, South America, and Asia.

#18 Adam Hibbert on 04.03.09 at 7:52 am

Big issue for corporate communicators: the absence of a metric for ‘taking the temperature’ of sentiment within the company. We have an intranet (sort of – built on MOSS). It has open forums for people to discuss their thoughts freely. Anyone know of a sharepoint plug-in that does sentiment analysis in a context like this?

#19 Nick Patience on 04.03.09 at 8:10 am

Hi Adam,

A very interesting application, you have in mind there. Not 100% certain, but the folks at Lexalytics *may* be able to do this.

I could put you in touch if you want to take further.


#20 Mil Faber on 09.06.09 at 1:17 pm

Looks like there are alot of Analytics sites but there is one that is quite interesting.

It appears they are able to “Quantify” the Sentiment into remarkably close pricing estimates in the stock markets.

#21 Christopher on 09.21.09 at 11:39 am

Thank you for the nice comment about our site. We have worked hard to make the sentiment a quantifiable factor in terms of stock analysis. We will be expanding our site (and offering incentives – more stocks for less) shortly and are looking forward to visitors.


A member of the Cartesian Team

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