Entries Tagged 'Internet' ↓

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.

How much information?

Given this blog’s name we were very interested to meet up again with Michael Nelson, recently of IBM and now visiting professor at Georgetown University, teaching courses including “The Future of the Internet” and “What Shapes the Global Information Society.” Nelson was until last year director of IBM’s Internet technology and strategy, helping to implement the thoughts of people like the recently retired Irving Wladawsky-Berger and John Patrick, as well as deep involvement in various Internet Society and United Nations efforts in Internet governance. I met him in the 1990s during the various meetings that led to the creation of ICANN in 1998, during which time he left the FCC (after a stint at the Clinton White House) and joined IBM.

We met at an IBM event announcing its plans for Cognos, the acquisition of which closed at the end of January. Nelson chaired a panel of a couple of Cognos customers – one that sold pizza and one that sold gardening tools, but both of which were grappling with rapidly increasing volumes of data within their corporations and both of which used Cognos’ tools to try and do more than just figure out what they have – to actually figures out how their business are performing and how they might to do in the future – performance management tools, leading to business optimization in IBM-Cognos parlance.

Nelson’s only been there for three months, but one of the projects his students are working on is to measure the amount of data on the Internet; of course he acknowledges that depending on what you count as being ‘on the Internet’ (is a company’s Salesforce.com on the Internet?) he and his students could be out by factors of 5, 10 or whatever. I will be finding out more soon and will report back here.