Gary Stein, the moderator of the session, told a quick story to kick of the session. He used to work an an agency, and they were hired to do the advertising for a movie for a super hero. They had to come up with an interactive experience on the Web for this movie, where the script has not been even written yet. They went through all the discussion forums to download people's opinion on the marketing they have done. They used online forums to measure their success with that campaign. He then showed an example of cruftbox.com, a site dedicated to reviewing products. He did a review of Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, and it was an extremely long write up with about 30 comments on his entry. People are now looking more and more for "trust agents", they use people as authorities (consumer reviews) and also brand as authorities. Online research is deep and thorough; "I like to research all available products, price, and store options before I buy something online." To that statement, 26% strongly agree, 33% somewhat agree. Consumers pointed toward informal sources via searches. 26% of the results found for a search on a product point to a consumer review. If you do a search for "starbucks" in Google, ihatestarbucks.com comes up as number two. He then showed this outstanding mini iPod commercial and he explained that it was done by a school teacher who simply loved his mini ipod. The ad looked very professional and it fooled me. "Dynamic Attitude Analysis Flow", is a way to keep track of how consumers are reacting to products. He explains, what if someone built a spider to crawl the Web and figure out what people are writing about the product. Not only capturing words, but adding to that, the attitude of the language used in the post. Then you can plot the information and compare it over history. Very interesting concept which should be explained in more detail by the panel.
Pete Blackshaw from Intelliseek explains that much of what Gary described is coined as "consumer generated media". They used the word "media" because the consumers are generating this media. He explains that the majority of your consumers are going to "other content". What Intelliseek is doing is listening in real time about what consumers are saying about brands on the Internet. They only listen to the untarnished comments, how consumers really feel. He explains that this can be measured over time.
Jonathan Carson from Buzzmetrics explains that when people are searching, a large portion of what searches are finding is consumer generated content. That is why they are here, to measure that with a digital footprint.
Bob Wyman from PubSub, I discussed this in my blog a while back. This is a form of link analysis through time based link analysis. He explained that a "prospective search" is a search that shows results based on the most popular queries search on recently. An important part of this is attitude management and this shows you the buzz. They recently added www.pubsub.com/linkranks_detail.php, which shows you the linkrank for a site over the past month. It shows you the domains that linked to a site in the last 10 days. This tool is not linked outside as of yet, this looks real interesting.
Gary asks how do you validate or ensure the data you collect is valid and representative? Jonathan said they do both automated and manual data collection. They try to segment based on behavior and that helps build a perfect representation of the sample.
Gary asks how do you figure out attitude in posts? I.E. someone who cuts and pastes information and then says, I disagree with this. Pete said the technology is now smart enough to parse out that emotion.
Bob then discusses how at the Web 2.0 conference, Snapz.com released their new search engine, during the announcement, several bloggers were in the room writing about it. By the time the announcement was done, consumer buzz was wide spread and documented in these tools. Soon after, some other blogger noticed the terms and conditions posted on the site were silly (it was actually a mistake and fixed within an hour), but other bloggers picked it up and the consumer buzz was now on the negative side. Then the same bloggers noticed it was fixed and they were elated, and consumer perception was back to being positive. Where else can you get such a quick response?
I would like to see Bob from PubSub.com reply to this entry as a test. :) His service allows one to get into an interactive discussion with any announcement they make, instead of the communication going one way.