Simon McDermott is first up after Mike Butcher (mBites) welcomed the panel and said his new blog publishing start-up has a name that makes people think it’s a venereal disease.
Simon, the CEO of Attentio, is talking about why companies might want to blog watch:
They look at an industry, like hotels, the share of buzz they generate and the topics they are discussing (value, cleanliness, etc).
Attentio monitors and analyse brands, try to understand who are the influencers, and communicate with key influentials. The last of these would scare me but he does add “for God sake, be authentic…”.
When asked by Mike Butcher, the panel moderator, “what technology are you using” the Attentio guy says they are using proprietary search technology, developed over three years of experience, and they also use human gathering and filtering.
Heather Hopkins, from Hitwise, says they don’t compete with Attentio. She’s a data geek. The fastest growing category of websites they are tracking are net communities and chat, which are the social networks = about 6% of UK internet visits. Blogs are smaller. She asks how many people are familiar with the Sony Rootkit CDs. Few have. It did, however, really catch fire in chat rooms and on blogs – even if it didn’t resonate with the CD buying community. It’s something to keep in mind – yes, it’s important to listen, but it’s also important to know who it is you’re responding to. In the Rootkit example, it was the tech community, rather than the CD buying community, who was upset and required a response. How do they know if the blog is “successful”? They look at hitwise to see where people come from and go to in order to try to understand the influence of their posts. They also use delicious, technorati and other tools available to bloggers. They are less concerned with shear numbers of visitors to the blogs or sites, it’s more about how their info spreads.
Kris Hoet, from Microsoft, is also using different tools to generate blogger buzz. They go to technology and blog conferences but also use technorati, delicious, comment tracking to ensure that they can return to discussions they join. “But the best way of tracking is reading all these blogs.” Key to it all is, for Hoet, getting to know the people by putting yourself out there – so when influencers do have questions or problems, they know where to come to get it fixed, which is exactly what his roll is.
Scott Thomson, Analytics Director of Starcom says his clients want to get a lead, a jump ahead, on what people think of their messages. That’s why they watch blogs – to give them contextual information. Like Microsoft, Starcom uses Attentio to do this.
Summary? There are blogs and online discussions. Some brands want to know what they are saying about them. They hire companies like those on the stage right now to do that. Those companies use tools like technorati and repackage the results. This probably costs lots of money except for, in the case of Hitwise, where some information is made available on their blog for free.