Evri: Semantic Smack Down

March 21, 2009

I don’t know much about Evri. Semantic technologies intrigued me a few years ago, but the shift is toward real time content processing. Semantics are important but in my mind plumbing that operates as a contributory component.  I did write about the company’s deal with the Washington Post here. The Washington Post needs every (no pun intended) advantage it can get. Ad revenues are down. The Treasury is printing money like one of those fake countries in South American pot boilers. Even upscale restaurants’ business is down in the ultimate Power Lunch town.

I was surprised, maybe shocked, that Evri was shedding staff. Venture Beat here published “Semantic Search Engine Evri Cuts Staff by 25 Percent.” My impression was that Evri was going like a Harrod’s Creek mine worker on his way to the local watering hole. The most interesting comment in the article was:

Even so, Roseman [the president] says the company is pleased with its traction and progress, drawing more than 20 million monthly users.

Google AdSense on 20 million uniques should generate big money for Evri if properly monetized courtesy of Mother Google. Plus, Evri  has received about $8 million from a Seattle investor. With strong uptake and big traffic, I wonder if staff cutbacks are a sign of the times or a signal that semantic search may be suffering in a down market for publishers such as those Evri has nailed as customers.

Stephen Arnold, March 21, 2009


2 Responses to “Evri: Semantic Smack Down”

  1. Seth Grimes on March 21st, 2009 4:20 pm

    Evri is based on InFact text-mining technology acquired from Insightful, where Evri founded Deep Dhillon used to work. The company is backed by Paul Allen.

    I had been after Deep to tell me what he was up to before Evri launched as a beta, and I was really surprised by what it turned out to be: not technology, but rather yet-another search engine, one that, from my somewhat narrowly focused point-of-view, doesn’t work especially well. It’s disappointing.

    If a system doesn’t work well, the company’s going to struggle. A struggling company lays off staff. Is this the explanation?

  2. Stephen E. Arnold on March 21st, 2009 5:49 pm

    Seth Grimes,

    I have no clue. Maybe Evri is shedding programmers who don’t perform or sales professionals who can’t sell. Healthy companies hire I surmise. But these are wild and crazy times. Even cash rich Google is shedding some dead wood.

    Stephen Arnold, March 21, 2009

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