Stephen Arnold, a provider of “news and information… about search and content processing,” has his hatchet out in Temis, Spammy PR, and Quite Silly Assertions.
Stephen Arnold, “Thy wit is a very bitter sweeting; it is a most sharp sauce,” well served in to the goose (as Arnold characterizes himself) himself. Steve, if you want to be paid for your work, ask up front. The payback you offer Temis, a text-mining solution vendor, says far more about you than it does about the company you target.
In the words of a marketing exec at a semantic-analysis company, not Temis, “What a super childish article.”
Arnold’s article is no dissection of the fine points of competitive market positioning. It deals broad cutting strokes (“Sectumsempra — For Enemies”?) in an attempt to hack away, well, much more than just the credibility of a vendor’s public relations. Arnold brackets his article introduction of Temis (in a lede buried four paragraphs in, as deeply as his hatchet blade) around a Jean Genet quotation,
“I recognize in thieves, traitors, and murderers, in the ruthless and the cunning, a deep beauty – a sunken beauty.” (The Thief’s Journal)
WTF? Temis is (likened to) thieves, traitors, and murders!?
What spurred this attack, which also devotes several paragraphs to an attempted take-down of Temis’s client, the American Society for Microbiology?
Arnold received a press release “attributed to an individual identified as Martine Fallon [sic]” that he characterizes as spam.
Arnold writes, “I considered that Martine Fallon may be a ruse like Betty Crocker.”
For the record, it’s Martine Falhon. She is marketing and communications manager at Temis. Her full rap sheet is publicly accessible on LinkedIn. She’s a quite pleasant person, actually. I met her when I keynoted Temis’s 2009 user conference (which, by way of disclosure, was a paid gig, and Temis was one of seven sponsors of my Text Analytics 2009 market study).
Oy. A vendor sends a release to an analyst in its space — with an unsubscribe option that Arnold was able to use! — and Stephen Arnold blows a gasket. Yes, Arnold states he “previously asked the firm’s public relations expert, who seems to be more inclined to spam than research, to cease sending me meaningless spammy news releases. My request was ignored.”
“Bad, bad, bad public-relations expert,” I say. “Get back to your research. They need your help in the labs.”
Everything copacetic now? Well, not quite. There’s more to Arnold’s complaint. His complaint’s true core is not spam PR. It is here:
“What fascinated me is that Temis asked me to facilitate an introduction for them to a $1.2 billion company’s president. I did this and moved on. I assumed in the manner of French cultural norms that I would be rewarded with entrecote. Wrong. My reward has been spam.”
It’s about money. Temis didn’t pay Stephen Arnold for freely offered advice. Temis didn’t pay Stephen Arnold for freely offered advice so Temis gets slammed, for supposed spam, for claims Arnold questions, for being French. Yes, for being French. Arnold writes,
“I quite like Expert System SA in Bologna, Italy, and Bitext in Madrid, Spain. Great food, interesting culture, and -– nota bene –- no spam. One has to get the semantics correct. No spam from Italy. No spam from Spain. Hmmm. There’s a cultural message perhaps?”
There is some, slim attempt at substance in Arnold’s article. Arnold questions Temis’s claim to being “the leading provider of Semantic Content Enrichment solutions for the Enterprise.” Then he writes, “Leading? Semantic content enrichment. What’s that?” and asks, “What about outfits like Access Innovations, Concept Searching, Expert System SA, Smartlogic, and more than 75 other firms in the semantic space.”
Of course, it’s legit to question, but where’s the logic in offering specific other providers as contenders when you claim not to know what they’re contending for?
In case you doubted: Arnold’s list of contenders shows that he’s not completely clueless about “semantic content enrichment.” That said, of the companies he listed, only Expert System is squarely in that biz.
Myself, I describe the term functionally in a sponsored newsletter article I wrote for OpenText (a former consulting client): “Semantic content enrichment adds value to online information by tagging topics and providing context-sensitive links.” Content enrichment is a significant capability for digital-publishing platforms, for instance, MarkLogic’s. MarkLogic’s Open Enrichment Framework came out in 2008, integrating text-analysis products from companies that include both Temis and Access Innovations.
I (and OpenText, MarkLogic, and Temis) don’t stand alone is seeing enterprise value in semantic content enrichment. I’ll further point you to Barry Graubart, who cites a number of user organizations in a blog entry about a Software & Information Industry Association seminar last June (which I attended),
Semantic Technology Driving Real Revenue for Publishers.
In the end, my only quibble, as an industry observer, with Temis’s leadership claim is that I see the company as “a” rather than “the” leading semantic-content-enrichment provider. My issue with Stephen Arnold’s Temis slur, while I don’t have a dog in the fight, is far more significant. I find Arnold’s vindictive payback quite distasteful and even destructive. It calls out for a response. I hope I’ve adequately answered the challenge.