Brands for the Chattering Masses from the New York Times covers a search engine most people can’t afford, the "buzz" search that Nielsen BuzzMetrics operates, along with those from others. The idea is that these services can scan what’s being posted on the web, in blogs and elsewhere, and generate buzz reports for companies.
Personally, I’ve been pretty dubious of the attention that goes into buzz reporting tools like these, wondering if they aren’t going to be too heavily skewed by what "influencers" are writing about rather than actual opinion. It’s useful to know what the influences are saying. They can, after all, have an influence. But they can also be wide of the mark of popular opinion.
One thing is certain. I’ve seen these types of services come over the years, back from when tracking buzz was just monitoring rankings in search engines. It’s much easier and potentially profitable to do the reporting than to dive deep and do the fix. IE, who doesn’t want to be the firm that says you’ve got a problem but isn’t required to fix it?
My advice to those paying for such services is not to be cheap when it comes to solutions. Don’t spend $20,000 to $500,000 tracking your buzz then balk at paying anything near that amount for a search or internet marketer to help you. Oh — and try not to be a sucky company that gets bad buzz in the first place!
To be more positive, I do think there’s lots that can be gleaned from search and buzz intelligence. Watching the trends in places like Yahoo Buzz or Google Trends or BuzzMetrics’ own BlogPulse, to name only a few examples, can provide a ton of market intelligence for any company. Buzz