Grabbing Google's coattails

"Admittedly, you can do a lot with $2.7 billion," says Chris Cleveland, CEO at Dieselpoint, a tiny enterprise search company based in Chicago. The "you" he speaks of is Google, his industry's 800-pound gorilla whose upcoming stock offering has single-handedly rekindled IPO fever in the tech sector.

"Admittedly, you can do a lot with $2.7 billion," says Chris Cleveland, CEO at Dieselpoint, a tiny enterprise search company based in Chicago. The "you" he speaks of is Google, his industry's 800-pound gorilla whose upcoming stock offering has single-handedly rekindled IPO fever in the tech sector.

Cleveland isn't fazed. In fact, he's ecstatic about the coattails effect that Google-mania has created for small search companies such as his own. Moreover, he doesn't think much of Google's current enterprise search offering - Google Search Appliance - or the company's prospects for parlaying its mind-share dominance of consumer search into enterprise success.

He may be whistling past the graveyard, but it's an unmistakably happy tune.

"[Google's IPO] has certainly raised the profile of search generally," Cleveland says. "People who need better search on their Web sites are starting to make calls, and they're starting to buy things from us. The first quarter of this year we did better than we did during all of last year. And this quarter we will double our first quarter."

He declined to put dollar amounts on all that doubling and redoubling because Dieselpoint is a private company. But he points to the likes of customers McGraw-Hill and Sony as validation that his all-Java search product is gaining steam with enterprise customers.

The company and others of its ilk also are being propositioned by players in the investment community who see Google's IPO as a leading wave.

"We weren't getting any [calls] even a year ago; nobody was interested," Cleveland says. "It was the aftermath of the crash - still. But now, people are getting interested."

He's had money types estimate the value of Dieselpoint at 10 times what he had envisioned. He's not looking to sell but acknowledges chatting up a few competitors in enterprise search about possible alliances. The market segment includes Endeca, Autonomy, Verity, Fast Search & Transfer and Convera.

As for the gorilla's Google Search Appliance? Cleveland says it has a lot of bulking up to do.

"They are selling it based on their brand name - it's a great brand name - and on the pitch that it's easy to use, which it is generally," Cleveland says. "But it just doesn't do the job. There are a lot of other players who are doing better in enterprise search, because it's a different problem, it's a different set of technical challenges that you have to solve.

"One of the big differences is that Google gets great relevance ranking from the links, which generally don't exist on an intranet. The other big thing is that documents on an intranet, databases, XML, whatnot, have a lot of structure to them and you need to be able to exploit that structure, which is what we do. We categorize, we build menus, we make suggestions based on our knowledge of metadata. Google doesn't do any of that stuff," he says.

But as the man noted, you can do a lot with $2.7 billion.

Bush vs. Kerry at Meetup.com

Debate over the impact of the 'Net on national politics continues, with some seeing the Howard Dean phenomenon as evidence of its preeminence and others seeing Dean's failure as another bubble burst. Whatever the case, no politician takes the Web lightly anymore, which makes interesting a report from Meetup about the number of in-person forums for the presidential contenders that have been organized through its site.

Last Thursday alone, there were 43 local meetings organized nationwide in behalf of President Bush, and 617 for his Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry.

Make of those numbers what you will, but they cannot be seen as good news for Bush in a campaign that experts say will hinge largely on each camp's ability to mobilize its base.

Got a Google anecdote of your own? The address is buzz@nww.com.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Related:
Must read: 10 new UI features coming to Windows 10