Great Press, But Where Are The Customers?

One of the things I love about being in the enterprise search /  information access business is that there is always new blood keeping us old-timers on our toes and maintaining the pressure to innovate. While the competitive landscape is brutal (ask any analyst who has covered it over the past decade!), it apparently doesn’t dissuade entrepreneurs from making their own attempts to tackle the fundamental problems of making information accessible and useful.

Two of the higher profile newcomers to the scene are Attivio and Digital Reef. Attivio seems to be everywhere these days: sending its CTO to giving talks; sponsoring conferences and dinners;  and even winning awards. Digital Reef is a bit less gregarious, but they made a lot of press in March when they emerged from stealth mode after two years. Just today, they announced a partnership with FAST, the enterprise search subsidiary of Microsoft.

I’ve interacted with a couple of people at Attivio, and I’ve read some of the Digital Reef blog posts. Both companies intrigue me. But what intrigues me more is that they say almost nothing about their customers. As far as I can tell, Attivio has only announced two customers (, Intralinks) and Digital Reef hasn’t announced any. There’s nothing wrong with ramping up (I still remember the early years myself), but I’m struck by the discrepancy between the highly visible marketing and the seemingly invisible customers.

If anyone here knows more about these companies (including representatives from the companies themselves), I’d love to hear your perspectives.

By Daniel Tunkelang

High-Class Consultant.

2 replies on “Great Press, But Where Are The Customers?”

While I agree that while there appears to be “more light than heat” in at least one of the above cases, I’d go on to suggest that you shouldn’t fall into the hype-wave and start promoting “famous for being famous” companies on your blog.

Now, I get your point — as a critical thinker trying to find evidence that you’re wrong, but that effort itself ends up generating more PR!

And now I’m breaking that rule by commenting on your post. 🙂



If either of the above companies are getting more than epsilon marketing benefit from my blog, then my blog is worth a lot more than $58K! In any case, it would only increase the PR-to-announced-customer ratio, and not by much! I can live with that.

I’m still hopeful that someone from either company will step up and comment here. The mic is open.


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