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.

2 thoughts to “ThanxMedia – a word of warning

  • shaunr

    Endeca Chief Scientist Daniel Tunkelang is upset that I used his ‘personal blog’ to support my assertion that Endeca is hard to install. I concede that it was a little cheeky – however his comments did seem to support this. By way of concession let me soften the point a little: If it’s not something you do every day, building an effective search is a difficult task regardless of the software that you’re using – be it Endeca, Fast, Lucene or any others. This is part of the reason why SLI Systems has a business. Our customers don’t have to learn how to build and maintain an effective search – we do this for them. We’ve become very efficient at doing this well and we keep getting better at it. I believe our success is part of the reason why ThanxMedia was created.

    I stand by the main point of my original post – that you should be wary of claims made by ThanxMedia. The decision to write that post wasn’t made lightly. It was taken after seeing the frustration of the SLI team from ThanxMedia staff repeatedly being, shall we say, ‘economical with the truth’ to our customers. If they continue to do that I will continue to call them on it.

    The post was written after CableOrganizer had decided to use ThanxMedia’s services. We don’t like losing customers, we believe in our product and we are often told we are doing a great job, and that we’re one of the most responsive vendors around. An experience like this ensures we do not get complacent and encourages us to continue to improve our services for all of our customers.

  • Richard Sexton

    Hi Shaun;

    Although this is an older post, I wanted to let you know the number of calls we get from competitors. Without reflecting on the merits of their product, our answer is the same: We’re sticking with SLI!


    Richard Sexton

Comments are closed.