I wanted to send out a note of caution for those of you who may be talking to someone from one of our competitors, Thanx Media. Take what you hear from them with a grain of salt. We are getting mounting evidence that they are not being truthful to our customers and prospects.
By way of background, Thanx Media started selling Endeca on demand in April this year. Endeca’s search and navigation software is a good fit if you want to own the software, you have a capable IT team that can install and maintain it, you are prepared to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars and you are not in a hurry (Rugs Direct said it took months to install Endeca). Endeca can’t be that easy to set up, even for insiders – Endeca’s chief scientist and co-founder recently admitted that he wasn’t “quite ready to figure out how to install and maintain an Endeca instance” for his blog.
A lot of our customers are very faithful. They forward emails and voice mails from our competitors and we’ve even sat in on some of their sales pitches that our customers couldn’t be bothered listening to. This is where we have seen the Thanx Media reps being untruthful:
- They exaggerate about their customer numbers. You can see in this job posting they imply they have 400 customers, whereas in this press release they claimed 28 new customers 6 months after they started selling their service. I’m guessing ThanxMedia have closer to 28 customers – it’s Endeca who have the 400 odd.
- They overstate the wins they have had against us. In April (just after they launched) they were claiming in emails to our customers that they had won many SLI customers when I doubt they had any customers at all.
- They are uninformed about our capabilities. A new customer expressed surprise that we were able to implement faceted search in the way that we did – the Thanx Media rep had told him that we wouldn’t be able to.
I know sales people can sometimes be economical with the truth to get a sale. But when it comes to this, the Thanx media reps seem to be having an economic crisis :-). I’m guessing that this is a reflection of the pressure they are being subject to. It smells a little of desperation to me. Endeca may be one of the enterprise search companies that Stephen Arnold suggested was in trouble – they did have to raise more capital earlier this year.
Endeca is an enterprise software company. Thanx Media is trying to fit the square peg of enterprise software into the round hole of Software as a Service. Mercado tried this and it didn’t work.
I welcome competition – they help keep us on our toes and ensure that we strive to provide the best service. My own ethics dictate that we should be engaged in honest competition and our business model encourages this. If we can’t deliver what we promise then our customers will see this in our free trial, before they have paid anything. This approach is working well for SLI. If ThanxMedia is talking to you about SLI, all I ask is that you talk to us to hear a different perspective.