Corporations Monitoring Blogs for Buzz

This software program sounds a little scary.....

For companies like ConAgra, the individual opinions blasted out in cyberspace are becoming an increasingly powerful force. Together, they form the fabric of online word of mouth that can determine the hottest new product, make or break a TV show, or set off a customer revolt. Eager to tap into the buzz, a growing number of companies are turning to sophisticated new technologies that track what's said on Internet social networks, blogs, message boards, product review sites, "listservs" -- wherever people congregate publicly online.

The companies are very interested in what commenters on blogs and message boards have to say:

The comments are particularly valuable for measuring customer sentiment because they're gut-level and spontaneous.

...To capture the chatter, Nielsen BuzzMetrics, a giant in the industry, uses software that collects hundreds of thousands of comments a day. The technology can scan for specific companies, products, brands, people -- anything searchable. It can slice data into a range of categories to quantify the number of times a subject was discussed online, the individuals who mentioned it and the communities where it appeared.

Here's an example:

The company, formed last week by the merger of BuzzMetrics and Intelliseek, also can assess the tone of opinions by analyzing writing style and even individual words used. For example, if a blogger is discussing a new sport-utility vehicle and says he loves it but isn't pleased with how it handles, the software is clever enough to score the posting as an overall positive with a negative on the handling.

Computer companies do the same thing:

Hewlett-Packard, the computer and technology company, lately has picked up from cyberspace that customers really hate leaving their computers at shops for repairs; far better, the company learned, is having technicians repair the machines in homes. "What that makes us do is that when we think about investing more in that area, we say, yes, it's positive to do that," said Rickey Ono, business strategy manager for HP. "We drill into the individual comments and it helps to justify our expenditure on in-home repair."

If corporations are doing it, I bet the Government is too. Bottom line: you never know who's reading what you write.

[hat tip Patriot Daily.]

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  • Display: Sort:
    Re: Corporations Monitoring Blogs for Buzz (none / 0) (#1)
    by Che's Lounge on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 10:25:45 PM EST
    YOU'RE OVERPAID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Collect that.

    Re: Corporations Monitoring Blogs for Buzz (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 08:18:10 AM EST
    The Credit Card companies are also working with HS to make America more less safe at the loteral expense of Americans. Go git those terrrrirists. Helps the banks bottom line as well, odd coincidence. I guess it is commerce and Homeland security in a business partnership to make us more safe. Ever wonder why making us more safe it makse us feel less safe?
    They paid down some debt. The balance on their JCPenney Platinum MasterCard had gotten to an unhealthy level. So they sent in a large payment, a check for $6,522. And an alarm went off. A red flag went up. The Soehnges' behavior was found questionable.
    linkt via robot wisdom

    Re: Corporations Monitoring Blogs for Buzz (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 09:14:21 AM EST
    The simple lesson from this is: if you don't want people (or corporations) to know what you think, don't post it to the Internet. If you put your opinions on a publicly-accessible easily-searchable and indexable electronic network, you have to expect that they'll get read. If you're not prepared for every word you write to be read by your mom, your partner, the IRS, McDonalds, your previous, current or next employer, and the NSA, don't write it. Corporations scanning the blogosphere to find out what people are saying about them is not inherently scary. Neither is it inherently scary when the government does it, although I'd question whether that's a good use of taxpayer money. The real issue is what action they take as a result of what they learn. If a company reads that blogger B thinks that their product P sucks and they then take steps to fix the product, I'd say that's positive for everyone concerned. If, on the other hand, they react by launching a propaganda campaign to counter blogger B's claims with their own, that's suspect. And if they add blogger B to an "enemies of the company" list and begin reprisals ranging from denial of service attacks on B's webhost to slashing the tires on blogger B's car, at that point the word 'scary' isn't strong enough to cover it. For 'company' above, substitute 'government'. For me, the line is crossed when a corporation (or the government) starts taking interest in the author rather than the message. Corporations and the government alike should pay attention to what people are saying about them. But if they start collecting information about the specific people who are saying it, that's when the alarm bells start going off.

    Re: Corporations Monitoring Blogs for Buzz (none / 0) (#5)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 04, 2006 at 08:37:17 PM EST
    From American Futures. Why we go to war: Democrats (percent expressing approval) 1. To protect American allies under attack by foreign nations: 75.7% 2. To help the UN uphold international law: 70.5% 3. To destroy a terrorist camp: 57.3% 4. To intervene in a region where there is genocide or a civil war: 55.6% 5. To insure the supply of oil: 10.2% 6. To assist the spread of democracy: 6.5% Average: 46.0% Republicans (percent expressing approval) 1. To destroy a terrorist camp: 94.8% 2. To protect American allies under attack by foreign nations: 91.9% 3. To intervene in a region where there is genocide or a civil war: 61.4% 4. To assist the spread of democracy: 53.2% 5. To insure the supply of oil: 40.9% 6. To help the UN uphold international law: 35.5% Average: 63.0% In only two of the six categories (protecting American allies and humanitarian intervention) are the approval ratings of Democrats and Republicans similar. As for the others: Democrats have what can only be described as a strange set of attitudes: (1) upholding international law is more important than destroying a terrorist camp, (2) humanitarian intervention is as important as destroying a terrorist camp, and (3) while majorities approve of upholding international law and humanitarian intervention, only one in 16 support the use of our troops to help spread democracy. Republicans have a radically different and far more consistent set of attitudes: (1) only half as many support using American force to support international law, (2) 19 out of 20 support the destruction of terrorist camps, and (3) almost as many would use force to spread democracy as would take military action for humanitarian causes. In the two categories directly related to U.S. security and national interest (terrorist camps and oil), the gap between the two parties is striking.