In this paper we design and implement a benchmarking framework for fair and exhaustive comparison of entity-annotation systems. The framework is based upon the definition of a set of problems related to the entity-annotation task, a set of measures to evaluate systems performance, and a systematic comparative evaluation involving all publicly available datasets, containing texts of various types such as news, tweets and Web pages. Our framework is easily-extensible with novel entity annotators, datasets and evaluation measures for comparing systems, and it has been released to the public as open source. We use this framework to perform the first extensive comparison among all available entity annotators over all available datasets, and draw many interesting conclusions upon their efficiency and effectiveness. We also draw conclusions between academic versus commercial annotators.