06:46 AM

The Metrics of Influence: BuzzLogic Tracks The MediaSphere

Brand management is a tricky thing. How do you know who is blogging or writing about your brands, and if the sentiment is positive or negative? There are millions of online "conversations" happening every day.

BuzzLogic, based in San Francisco has developed tools that allow corporations to track conversations across thousands of online sites, blogs, mainstream media and anywhere else online, in almost real-time.

And those tools can also determine how influential a site, a blogger, a writer is. And who they influence. After all, there is no sense in galvanizing a response team to an unfavorable post on a blog if its influence is zero.

The company recently completed its Series A funding, raising an impressive $9.6m after bootstrapping the venture for more than two years. "Its good to have a salary," smiles Rob Crumpler CEO. It is also good to have the validation that a VC investment brings.

BuzzLogic recently moved out of beta and in mid-April launched its BuzzLogic Enterprise service. More than 160 customers, many Fortune 500 companies, collaborated with BuzzLogic in the beta phase to refine the service.

"Companies are interested in knowing about themselves, how they are perceived and how their products are perceived," says Mr Crumpler. "And companies want to be able to spot potential problems before they grow into much larger issues."

There are many examples where a complaint online can mushroom into a major public relations disaster. Jeff Jarvis, a prominent New York blogger and his complaints about Dell is one such example.

The company's two key features are its algorithms and its visual display of the results which gives users an excellent view into the influence of a particular site on a specific topic.

Todd Parsons, the chief product officer explains: "Just because someone is influential within one sector doesn't mean that they are influential in other areas. Our algorithms can analyze influence and allow companies to focus on those sites that really matter. We can also track the rise and fall in influence of a particular site."

The algorithms cannot measure sentiment, but users can quickly tag online content according to positive or negative sentiments, which can be shared with colleagues.

Email alerts will warn of possible trouble in real-time. But each customer applies their own response. This can include contacting people and also getting involved in the online conversations.

BuzzLogic's technology also learns from its users, which should mean that the service continues to improve over time.

Foremski's Take: BuzzLogic's visual presentation of its data is excellent. The visual data is presented within a user interface that provides a view into who is participating in each conversation, over a specific period in time, alongside summaries of the content.

It is a service that could be used in many ways, not just for brand management. It could uncover new types of buzz bubbling up that could provide business opportunities for some companies. And it can also be used to test the effectiveness of a public relations campaign.

The role of search engines is one that is not yet part of BuzzLogic's measurement. Search engines can dredge up negative comments time and again, and can help sites gain influence despite other factors.

Services such as BuzzLogic's can give organizations an insight into how they are perceived without requiring focus groups. But most organizations don't yet know what to do with such data and what the appropriate response should be. But they will figure that out over time.

[Wells Fargo should take notice...]

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Case studies:

BuzzLogic Blog:

  • What's driving the U.S. Attorneys story?
  • Where there's folk, there's fire
  • Around the Buzz-o-sphere
  • Want to see what social media can do?
  • Using Social Media to Build Your Brand Buzz

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