Thursday, January 29, 2009

What was that about imitation / flattery?

So, way back in April 2008, Techcrunch ran this story about us: The Enterprise Social Network Auto-Generated and Visually Mapped

Imagine our surprise here when we discovered this post today on TechcrunchIT:
When IBM Beats Facebook and Twitter

So IBM are now also doing a product called SONAR, that does almost exactly the same thing as our existing product called SONAR (Social Networks And Relevance)??? Spooky!
The article says that it's called SAND (Social Networks And Discovery), but the screenshots clearly show SONAR everywhere, and that's how it's referred to on the IBM Research Labs page

I felt compelled to respond to the claim that "No one else in consumer or enterprise is doing this yet.", so I posted a comment about an hour ago. Hasn't appeared yet though.....


Alistair Davidson said...

OK, so I posted my comment at about 8:30 - 9:00 PST, something like that.

It didn't appear, so I posted it again.

"OK, maybe it's held in moderation" I thought, "I probably just need to wait a while."

Nope - it's obviously been vetoed. There's a great swathe of comments saying how great and innovative IBM are, and the Product Mgr from IBM says "Glad to see this article! We’re very excited about this work the Research team has been conducting", but they won't accept a comment from me pointing out that we've been doing this for over two years with a product that's actually out in the market.

I know this might sound like sour grapes, but frankly, I'm pissed off.

Chris said...


I posted a comment simply saying what you stated here... appeared on the page almost instantly. At least that is possible now. ;-)

Ante Vrli said...

Might be just an unfortunate coincidence. Social networks are an obvious target for computer analysis and sonar is a common word and almost an acronym for such a tool... And IBM is a very slow company, so is it possible they started this first?

Alistair Davidson said...

@chris - thanks for your support!

@ante - of course it may well be.
I'm not trying to claim an organisational attempt to defraud, it may be that someone somewhere on the huge team heard something vague about us from someone who was at a conference two years ago and the name lay dormant in their memory until it resurfaced without the original association a couple of years later when someone said "OK, so we have this corporate social network software, what are we going to call it?".

David said...

Dude - sue the living sh** outta them!

Alistair Davidson said...

@David :
Hah! I wish - unfortunately their army of lawyers are almost certainly more numerous, more vicious, and FAR more expensive than ours, so if it came to court they could bankrupt us with legal fees before their lawyers even stopped laughing