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August 26, 2005
Monster growth area: corporate blog search
We've seen more than once how it can hurt companies to turn a deaf ear to the blogs. Dell is just the latest example. The business question now: Who makes the money combing through the blogs for the world's companies? I made calls yesterday, and believe me, a nascent market is heating up. The goal is to provide a dashboard that shows each company what is being said about it, its products, competitors, etc. Think of heat maps for each hot-button issue, different colors for positive or negative. Click on them and you find the blogs or articles cited.
A couple of the players:LexisNexis has been teamed up for a year with Web analytics company Biz360. It's a match of a vast media database with a Web sniffing and analysing machine. They're announcing the next step of the relationship on Monday. And in September they're extending the service to monitor 12 million blogs.
Factiva, the Dow Jones-Reuters joint venture, launched its blog-monitoring service in July. It covers 4 million blogs. Unlike the Biz360 service, it does not sort the coverage by positive and negative. I took a test drive, which I'll report on later.
These systems will grow to be immensely important to corporations, nothing less than their windows onto the world. Blog companies from Umbria Communications to Technorati are focusing on this market. Steve Rubel predicts that these monitoring systems will eventually be bundled into customer relationship management software. This means companies like SAP, Oracle and Microsoft will be featuring them. And since the essense of these systems is search, isn't it a natural for Google?
Long story short: Corporate blog and media search will be a busy intersection in coming years. Lots of development, conflicts, alliances, and M&A.
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I'll wait for your report later. I don't know. I'm thinking that we could be seeing more blog watching blogs. I blogged your question. It's a good question. I don't think the more creative people who are blogging will do it. Following one company would be like watching paint dry, at least for me. I get tired of watching the tech scene itself. Maybe the Wall Street-State Street analyst types will start blogging. They are already watching companies very carefully. I really don't know. They might not like blogging. I've seen tech columnists who blog and they turn into gossip columnists. It should be interesting to see what happens.
Posted by: Jim Dermitt at August 26, 2005 03:47 PM
You forgot Intelliseek, as well as Bacon's.
There are so many tools - which have been discussed on many different PR blogs, that it's old hat by now - but still doesn't change the fact that part of communications is tracking public mindshare and perception. It's just a part of reputation management.
Posted by: Jeremy Pepper at August 26, 2005 10:23 PM
What about PubSub and Cymfony? Find matches to search terms as soon as they're posted with PubSub; use Cymfony's dashboard to determine positive/negative sentiment.
If you're with a company that wants to stay ahead of what people are saying about you, use PubSub's prospective search. Technorati is a retrospective search engine. Searching it means you're looking at something that has already happened and you're behind the times (literally).
If you really care about "listening in" for reputation management, do it in real time.
Posted by: Joel Richman at August 27, 2005 07:49 PM
As an extension of the 'heat map' analogy, think of a mining solution which could build an intelligent "mind map" of all the information related to the issue/product/discussion and show it to you in the sequence that makes sense. It would be revolutionary in changing the way you find, access and decipher from the myraid of information, the one that is relevant to you.
Posted by: Manoj Sinha at August 28, 2005 02:36 PM
For truely valuable business intelligence from blog data I don't think the 'essense of these systems is search' - at least not like Google does with web pages. Thanks to RSS andping servers and related technolgies, blog entries tap on the shoulders of analytics companies. Sure there is some science, infrastructure and magic that goes into to data collection but it's orders of magnitude easier than old school web crawling.
The essence of this space is analytics and a deep understanding of the domain and purpose. From this perspective Technorati is not yet even in the ballpark and Umbria is but an infant. The real market leaders here are people like Intelliseek (WAY bigger than BlogPulse by the way) and BuzzMetrics.
Intelliseek, for example already has a CRM integration product.
In short, it's easy to find all of the blog posts that mention a particulr brand or product - the hard thing is turning those posts into usable information.
For a comparison of Umbira and their competitor Intelliseek see my recent post here.
Whoever the players, I'm glad to see you guys are watching. Keep up the good work.
Posted by: Matt Galloway at August 29, 2005 09:26 AM