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The Internet Businesses Privacy The Almighty Buck

Marketers Scan Blogs For Brand Insights 181

Carl Bialik from the WSJ writes "Paying tens of thousands of dollars to companies that scan blogs helps companies decide on products and advertising, the Wall Street Journal reports. For example, the practice helped U.S. Cellular better understand prospective teenage customers: 'Using technology from Umbria Communications, a Boulder, Colo., company that aims to identify demographic groups online based on their speech patterns and discussion topics, WPP's G Whiz concluded that teens were really anxious about exceeding their cellular minutes, often because parents make them pay if they talk too much. The teens also resented being ambushed by incoming calls that pushed their minutes up. U.S. Cellular says that led U.S. Cellular to offer unlimited call me minutes.' Also of note: Intelliseek's Pete Blackshaw 'says companies used to dismiss vocal complaints from one or two consumers as an aberration. But now, they have to pay attention because now those complainers may have blogs. '"
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Marketers Scan Blogs For Brand Insights

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  • 1992 Called.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 1992 Called ( 893858 )
    They want their glaringly obvious marketing strategy back.
    Is this just posted here because it has the word BLOG in it?
  • by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:55AM (#12891106) Homepage Journal
    Pick one for your blog:

    - Donchu h8 it when no1 sends grub cash?
    - any company giving grub money gets my business!
    - grub does so much and asks for so little.
    - i'd buy an SUV if a car company gave grub some l00t!

    Thank you.

    • Offtopic? Parent is funny, dammit. Only if mods RTFA instead of modding down anything that they don't understand.

      Am I the only one who doesn't buy this whole "blogsphere" crap? I mean, blogs aren't that relevant, not even for advertising. As a company, what are you going to find by searching Livejournal? That teenagers juse love to cut themselves and therefore, they should all start selling razor blades? Wow, I can't wait till I start seeing DoubleClick's razor blade Flash ads, with wrists getting cut in

      • Blogs are a buzzword. Like podcasting; remember podcasting? It's just used to sound relevant.
      • Maybe if you pulled your head out of your ass, you'd understand that

        a) not everyone who has a Livejournal is an angsty teenager (unless you want to include, say, Bram Cohen, Dave Jones, Dave Airlie and similar people in that group)
        b) 7 million accounts *are* too much to just ignore when you want to do market research (of course, not all of these are personal accounts, and people may have more than one account, too, but I'd say it's still safe to say that the number of Livejournal users is a 7-digit figure)
      • Re:Do me a favour. (Score:3, Informative)

        by puzzled ( 12525 )

        Those who cut are generally no more suicidal than anyone else who is depressed - they're just so out of touch with their feelings that physical pain is the only way 'the pain' gets out. Had a friend that did this in college - its been twenty years, he is still whacky, but not in the least bit dead.

    • This is, of course the reason why their strategies stop working, and they have to come up with new ones. There are always a few who will abuse the system (much like the mod that gave you the offtopic. Arse.) Why the companies keep coming out and saying, "This is what we did, this is what we found, it worked, and we'll be doing it again"
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:02PM (#12891921)
      grub does so much and asks for so little.

      Fuck that, I use LILO
    • Grub, I'm just making this check out here. is $50 enough? Lagomorph
  • > The teens also resented being ambushed by incoming calls that pushed their
    > minutes up.

    Odd payment structure if incoming calls are taken from your free minutes allowance. Do both parties lose minutes then? According to UK contracts, if someone in the UK phones another person with a UK phone whilst the callee is abroad, then the caller doesn't pay any extra (for it being an international call) as they can't know where the callee is, so the difference (between national and international cost) is cha
    • Re:minutes (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Do both parties lose minutes then

      Yes, if both parties are cellular. If only the receiving party is cellular, and the other party is a local call, then only the cellular customer pays (incoming or outgoing).

      According to UK contracts, if someone in the UK phones another person with a UK phone whilst the callee is abroad, then the caller doesn't pay any extra (for it being an international call) as they can't know where the callee is, so the difference (between national and international cost) is charged
      • Also- some of the large cell providers allow "in network" calling, where cell to cell calls between their customers regaurdless of their location, are free (I.E. - I have Verizon in NYC, and my friend with Verizon in LA, the call is not charged for either of us... handy way to get people to all switch one one network... I've convinced friends to switch plans because we talk frequently.)
      • - (*) Cellular long distance is calculated as such: All calls made within the current cellular service provider (as in the tower your phone links to) will be local for that service providers' local calling area. So, if you have a phone that is local to New York City and are in New York City, calls to New York City phone numbers are local. If you drive to Boston, then call New York City from Boston, you will pay long distance. If you phone a Boston phone number while you are in Boston you will not pay long d
    • In the US, your airtime counts whether it's an incoming or outgoing call. On the flip side, calls to cell phones are not any more expensive than calls to landlines. I think that's a big part of the reason that phones took off in Europe before here - the plans were cheaper because people calling you were picking up the tab for the airtime. Here, it's all on the owner of the mobile phone. The good side is that cell phones don't need a special area code, so to a caller they look just like any other number, and
    • Re:minutes (Score:2, Interesting)

      by RobertB-DC ( 622190 ) *
      Odd payment structure if incoming calls are taken from your free minutes allowance. Do both parties lose minutes then?

      Remember, the US is BIG. In the UK, you're as likely to get a call from France as someone in Texas is likely to get a call from Louisiana (though in both cases, the caller may parle francais). So the pricing model in the US expects primarily domestic calls.

      Also, on land lines, you don't pay by the minute (generally), and incoming calls are the same as local outgoing calls. So when cell
      • Not to mention the fact that a lot of us (esp. students) tend to have cellphones that were registered in one city, that we hold on to for a long time.

        My cellphone number is based is Atlanta, although I've since lived in New Mexico and am now in Cincinnati - so, while it may seem crazy, it does make a lot of sense to students or folks who travel a lot.

        It's universal, of sorts.
      • It's very strange. I think in most of the world, you don't get charged for incoming calls, neither on landlines, nor on mobiles, neither local or international. It doesn't make any sense to me (think of abuse).

        The only exeception is when you are with you home mobile in a differnet contry, registered with a foreign network. You are using their network, so it kind of makes sense to pay a bit more (actually a fee comparable to the - overpriced - international calls from mobile abroad when at home). The char

    • In the US, landline calls don't get charged by the minute to recieve as I understand they do in the UK. Nor do most landline users get charged to make local calls. Thus, Americans are really new to this concept. I imagine US phone companies were jealous of the UK and saw cell phones as a way to start this new scheme.

      So, to answer your question, if a person calls a cell phone from a landline (as long as it's not long distance) he doesn't get charged by the minute -- only the person receiving the call. In ef
    • The usual plan is that both parties use minutes. However, there are plenty of different plans. Some plans, for example, do not use minutes on either end if both parties have an account with the same company. Sometimes, you can define a circle of contacts and not use minutes when you call one of them. There are so many endless varitions that it is difficult to make meaningful comparisons.

      A practical measurement (subjective but informative) is how much do you pay for cell phone service and how much do y
    • How this applies here in the US us that most providers have a zero to very low-cost option to make in-network calls unlimited and free. For example my wife and I share a plan, and my uncle is with the same provider, so all the calls between us are unlimited and free.

      Thus, one big marketing push is to motivate households to unite their services all under one plan (5 phones free for the kids, etc) and for cliques to all sign up with the same provider so they can call each other at will.
    • Odd payment structure if incoming calls are taken from your free minutes allowance. Do both parties lose minutes then?

      Well, if it is a mobile-mobile call, maybe.

      Basically, what is different here is in the way mobiles are perceived on our side of the pond versus yours.

      When mobiles were introduced here, the idea was that it was a luxury for the owner of the mobile. As such, the cost of having that luxury was assigned to the owner of the mobile. It has pretty much stayed that way ever since.

      However

  • Why in YRO (Score:1, Redundant)

    by amembleton ( 411990 )
    Why is this in Your Rights Online? If you write a public blog then companies as well as your friends may well read it. Don't be suprised if they do.

    Anyway this seems like a good thing - companies taking notice of their customers.
  • They should be watching Customer Service: The Blog [blogspot.com]
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Or they should be watching The Angry Customer [livejournal.com].
    • People are far more likely to tell people about a negative experience with a company than a positive one.

      Now, couple those people with their blogs, and you have the makings of a public relations nightmare on your hands, just because some "a list blogger" blogged about a bad experience with your company. That's even MORE scary when you realize that no matter what you do, some customers aren't going to be happy.

      There's a reason that I discount most anything I read in a blog. It's just too easy for bloggers
      • People are far more likely to tell people about a negative experience with a company than a positive one.

        Now, couple those people with their blogs, and you have the makings of a public relations nightmare on your hands, just because some "a list blogger" blogged about a bad experience with your company. That's even MORE scary when you realize that no matter what you do, some customers aren't going to be happy.

        There's a reason that I discount most anything I read in a blog. It's just too easy for blogger

  • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:58AM (#12891163)
    Behold the future of the internet:

    50% while be whiny, angsty teens complaining about the world in blogs with poor grammar.

    The other 50% will be companies data-mining those blogs for insights about what kind of products to market.

    Then again I could be wrong as this means that the internet will be 0% porn, which as we all know just isn't going to happen.

    • Although, 20% of the teens will be innovative new media viral WOM-propagation marketing professionals.
    • Oh, it'll happen.

      Within the next three years the following will happen:

      Porn will be outlawed in the US.
      Service providers hosting pron sites will be branded "terrorists" for attacking our basic values.
      Foreign net blocks will be filtered on a massive scale using technology pioneered by China.
      Running a Freenet node will be considered a terrorist act.
  • tHiS nEw CeLl PhOnE iS sOoOo [b]CoOl ^^[/b] LoL kekekekeke !!!111 [/list][/b]
  • by Peter Cooper ( 660482 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:59AM (#12891174) Homepage Journal
    It's been a maxim in customer service for a very long time that a single angry customer cancels out the effect of twenty (or insert some 10 thousands of happy customers, simply because so many people are using the Internet for research now. We had an issue with Acer lately, started a campaign, got some great positions on general Acer related keywords on Google (thanks to a blog), and even ran some Adwords slating them. Hopefully it lost them quite a few sales.

    Likewise, I had an issue at a Travelodge motel, and they did not acknowledge my complaint at all. My story (on my blog) was picked up by a newspaper here in the UK and suddenly Travelodge were very apologetic. That said, Travelodge did a very good job of accomodating us, and my faith in them is very much renewed.

    But, yes, blogs really amplify opinion, especially if it gets picked up by Google nicely ;-) (There was also the case of the lock company whose locks could be picked with a biro pen, they failed to rectify the situation, and the blogosphere hit them hard.)
    • And I say good! It's about time that the individual had an avenue to have his/her voice heard as loud as the corporation. For years bad support, overseas support, etc. has ensured unhappy customers, but on an individual level, so many were powerless to do anything about it.

      Now a single complaint on the blogsphere can not only garner support through trackbacks of other complaining customers to create a virtual web of action, but a single voice can now have an adverse effect on sales for even the largest
    • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:07PM (#12891286) Journal
      Or, in other words, "I saw it on the Internet, so it must be true..."
      • ******* sucks (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Mr Guy ( 547690 )
        I don't go that far, but my standard test for a fairly expensive product or service is to search for THEIRNAME sucks on google. I don't always pay attention to the results I get, because some people are just always angry. However, they often give me questions to ask to be sure their complaints have been dealt with or fixed before I put my money on the line.
      • by RobertB-DC ( 622190 ) * on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:37PM (#12891662) Homepage Journal
        Or, in other words, "I saw it on the Internet, so it must be true..."

        A perfectly valid point, but that's the beauty of Google's PageRank (when it works, of course). One raving lunatic could put up a page describing how he got screwed by, say, ThinkGeek [thinkgeek.com]. He could detail how he bought a shirt and it arrived too small and the company refused to issue a refund, etc etc.

        If it's a real problem, then others will probably have had similar experiences, write about them, link to each others blogs, and so on... until the pat-on-the-back web gets dense enough to move up the Google rankings.

        If the truth is that the guy ordered a medium shirt for his 400-lb carcass, and tried to return it after a 4-hour pizza buffet binge [cicispizza.com], and sent it by carrier pigeon with a note saying "SEND ME ONE MILLION DOLLARS OR ILL BLOG!"... then nobody else will link to his blog in a "me too!" context, and it will have no effect.

        So, it's not "I saw it on the Internet, so it must be true." It's "I saw it in the first page of Google results, so it must be true." :)
      • Or, in other words, "I saw it on the Internet, so it must be true..."

        Well, no.. but it's the first time average joe has had a means of mass distribution for his opinion.
        Up until now the only standard has been "I saw it in an advert, so it must be true". At least now the other side of the story can be represented through a mass medium. It may not do anything for the factual accuracy, but at least it's some kind of improvement.
    • If I need to publish my issue on a blog to get it resolved, that doesn't say much for the company.
      • I think it opens up a dark side, that of malicious bloggers. If people are going to take the meanderings and bad prose that amounts to blogs about how "Company X fscked me badly, stole my computer, and their president and janitor had affairs with my wife, and now I live in a cardboard box and eat mouldy donuts, AND IT'S ALL THEIR FAULT", then I think there's a serious credibility problem.
    • by Clod9 ( 665325 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:59PM (#12891893) Journal
      Blogs just make mass advertising feasible for individuals, that's what's new. People have always had the ability to complain loudly, it's just easier now than it used to be.

      All this reminds me of the time I went to a boat show on Lake Union in Seattle. Boating is a big deal here. A guy was out in the lake on a sailboat, driving in circles, displaying a huge sign showing a picture of the bottom of his boat that was covered with fiberglass blisters, a manufacturing defect. The sign said "30,000 blisters, I'll never buy another again." I'm sure the dealer was cringing while thousands of potential boat-buyers gawked at the guy, but I also realized the guy must be incredibly bitter to spend a sunny summer day doing that instead of actually sailing. Now, though, you don't have to be bitter for more than about 20 minutes to get your complaint into a blog and into Google.

      • Just take a look at my website (I guess it's a blog). What are people searching for according to Webalizer? "saturn sucks".

        I'm the third link for that search term. You think Saturn gives a shit? I doubt it. People interested in buying a Saturn are going to type in "Saturn cars" for their query and not "saturn sucks".

        Yeah, so what, my engine has blown multiple times due to moronic techs. Who's going to know about that expect people who already hate Saturns?
    • Did you update your blog to reflect that Travelodge had restored your faith in them?

      that's the problem with blogs - people often *don't* update the story and all that's left behind is the negative press.

      (Granted, this happens in the MSM as well - doesn't make it any better)
  • I see this as being a good thing. Blogs represent a way of sharing strong opinions and given the blogosphere population, such companies have to slow down and take note of complaints. Furthermore, they can better understand demand from their target groups and as a result, offer better products and services. At last, companies will have the potential to win on supply than on silly marketing tactics. Give 'em what they want and they'll want more!

  • Is this also what lead to the pop culture phenomenon that is IM speak? SMS was out for how long before ads started showing teens bastardizing the english language in every message?
  • by TJ_Phazerhacki ( 520002 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:02PM (#12891212) Journal
    C'mon slashdot - this is the 3rd one in a row, with little content and a lot of hype and flaming to come.

    If the article had contained a SHRED of tech info, like how they hash l33tspeak, or why anyone would listen to whiny teenage messageboards, then it would be something.

    As it stands, any idiot who would spend money to find out what people think through blogs is as good as broke anyway. There are too many trolls out there for this to work any better than focus groups. Next.....

  • by yotto ( 590067 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:02PM (#12891215) Homepage
    After scanning chat room logs, Nokia has decided to add an a/s/l button to their next line of phones.
    • Why not get a bunch of people to say that beer should be free? I figure it will be really easy to convince a few thousand people to write asking for this. The breweries will have no choice but to listen!

      Heck, with any luck, we'll have Sony producing televisions optimized for playing NES and Mazda making cars with break parachutes.
    • not for phone, but for Firefox when used with this extension [mozdev.org] (shameless plug). Once the extension is installed, type about:config in the URL address bar, press Enter and you will see properties screen. Find leetkey.KeyboardMap

      paste this as value:
      65=4,66=8,67=(,68=|),69=3,70=F,71=6,72=|-| ,73=1,74 =J,75=|{,76=L,77=|\\/|,78=|\\|,79=(),80=P,81=a/s/l ,82=R,83=5,84=7,85=|_|,86=\\/,87=\\/\\/,88=X,89=Y, 90=Z,97=4,98=8,99=(,100=d,101=3,102=f,103=6,104=h, 105=1,106=j,107=k,108=|,109=m,110=n,111=0,112=p,11 3=q
  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:03PM (#12891230)
    *scan scan scan*

    > "DoubleClick Warns Against Ad-Blocking Browsers"
    ( Read More... | 482 of 587 comments

    ...which range in vitriol from "Fuck Doubleclick! Fuck them in their stupid asses!", to "Doubleclick sucks double donkey dick", and all the way up to the thoughtful, sensitive "What did the poor donkeys do to deserve having their poor schlongs assaulted by the tonsils of a Doubleclick executive?"

    And on that note, I would just like to say:

    > Using technology from Umbria Communications, a Boulder, Colo., company that aims to identify demographic groups online based on their speech patterns and discussion topics, WPP's G Whiz concluded that t

    *coffeespew*

    "G Whiz? G. Whiz, of WPP? You're a jerk, Whiz. A complete asshole."

    (Yeah, it sucks being immortal, but some days suck less than others.)

  • Attention Marketdroids: You suck.
  • by quadra23 ( 786171 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:06PM (#12891262) Journal
    Now you can safely say that your blog is helping someone else get rich with no requirement to remember you in the credits! I would definitely say this is a rights issue.

    Imagine some company reverse engineer a number of different software programs (word processors for example) to find similarities between codebases -- how is that any different? What I write in my web blog is my IP just as that code is the company that packaged their code into a product. I think we can honestly say this service doesn't care where they pull the information from (although it would be hard to keep track of it all of it, but that's only a side issue). Isn't this the basis of copyright -- credits and permission?!
    • Opinion isn't IP though, surely? If you say to someone that "a green shirt would look good on you", and they then buy a green shirt.. you can't sue them for infringing on your ideas, as ideas aren't copyrightable, only distinct implementations. Someone giving a business (or product) suggestions on a weblog would be much the same, I'd guess.
    • by pregister ( 443318 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:51PM (#12891829)
      So...you have a blog. You write in it daily. Its on the web where anyone can read it. Supposedly, you _want_ people to read it.

      You don't, however, want anyone to learn anything from what you've written? Or actually think about it? Sure, they can't copy your blog and use it in advertising or anything but actually consuming the information you're putting out on the web is also wrong?

      Isn't the whole point of blogging to let other people know what you think about something?

      You think someone reading a blog is similar to reverse engineering a word processor? But...but...*head explodes*
    • So let me get this straight... you don't want anyone knowing what you like? Even though you have a blog?
    • Isn't this the basis of copyright -- credits and permission?!

      Copyright just prevents people from copying your work. Fair use provides for using portions of it for the purpose of analysis, which is exactly what you're doing. Orwell's lawyers didn't jump on you when you wrote a paper on Animal Farm in high school.

      If you don't want people knowing what you think, don't publish your ideas on the Internet.

    • Except that if companies are going to design their products and services around my opinions then the marketplace is going to be a better place for me. So they benefit and I benefit. Personally, it doesn't bother me at all.
  • by bayvult ( 555108 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:06PM (#12891268)
    The most interesting part of the article:

    "Not everything bloggers have to say about brands correlates to the real world. Last summer, Umbria, working for a fast-food client, was monitoring Burger King Corp.'s Angus Burger and found it got some bad reviews from bloggers. Some were deriding Burger King's tongue-in-cheek TV ads that called the burger a diet food. Bloggers notwithstanding, the Angus Burger has become a hit.

    In other news: Banana Republic cancelled a range of unisex one-piece pyjama suits, after discovering that its blog research didn't represent its potential market.

  • incoming calls (Score:1, Redundant)

    by lowrydr310 ( 830514 )
    The teens also resented being ambushed by incoming calls that pushed their minutes up.

    Gee, have they ever thought of not answering the phone? Most if not all cell phone plans include caller ID.

    • Tose darn cell-snipers, perched on the ridge and catching unwary passers-by with expensive phone calls. They're a menace. I've half a mind to take out those ruffians, once and for all!

      Bring forth my Sup-r-Tonez Mega-Phone, squire!
  • That some people make money off of collecting the published thoughts of others?

    Here's the process:
    1. wget url1 url2 url3
    2. find: OMG ur phone IM text message
    3. Ask the clients what they want to hear.
    4. Tell them what they want to hear.
    5. Profit!

    How would -anyone- quantify the juvenile (sp?) thoughts anyway?

    I need to start a scam like this. Baby needs a new pair of shoes!
  • ... I don't know what the worlds obsession with blogs is. I suppose it caters to the same people who like to read other peoples diaries.

    Pretty soon at the rate things are going the internet is going to be changed to the BloggerNet... bleh. I couldn't care less what some jackhole down the street has to say in his blog, 99% of what I've seen in blogs is pointless drivel (yesterday, hehe i went to bandcamp whee, look at my personality test results.) I've been guilty of blogging but I'm not proud of it.

    I k
  • by enrico_suave ( 179651 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:07PM (#12891292) Homepage
    and just use Technorati [technorati.com] and del.icio.us [del.icio.us] and the like to do "blogosphere market research" I could make a mint!

    e.
  • I have to admit, this is honestly a decent idea. The thing I have noticed about 'blogs' and journals and such is that they've made expression on the internet much more coherent than it used to be. Once you weed out all of the "OMFG! I was so...", you only have to scan for keywords to find out what is on the mind of the writer. I've seen documentaries about traditional marketing, and the methods were atrocious. Usually, the market researcher would do a street study and find a handful of the trendiest people
  • ...they paid $80,000 to one of these companies for "work" that someone's secretary using Google could have done in an afternoon...
  • Logical extension (Score:3, Interesting)

    by portwojc ( 201398 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:12PM (#12891344) Homepage
    From what I was told this was/is also done with USENET. Of course it's not as popular now I'd guess.
  • It's hard to see how blog-watching would be of much use. After all, most of the information that bloggers supply is available on so many blogs because it's common knowledge in a certain demographic. Thus, blog-watching isn't really useful for spotting trends or learning things that people in your company (who hopefully know some of your consumers) don't already know.

    But I can see how blog-watching could develop into an industry. One way companies watch teen trends is by keeping tabs on a few "trendsette
  • I continue to hear more and more IM-Speak everyday. I run a hookah bar and most of my customers are in the 18-24 range, so it's a little outside of the teenies.

    In any case, I am amazed that no one finds it silly to use this kind of lingo in everyday talk and in writing. Sure, it's easier to type, so it makes nominal sense to use it in typed-mediums (see: informal).

    I wish some dictionary companies would buy the ADs and put them to good use.

    Oh well ... just my two cents.

    -c
  • teens were really anxious about exceeding their cellular minutes, often because parents make them pay if they talk too much.

    Here in Sweden we have pay-before-use cards. If you choose this you can't waste more than you can afford, since you have to pay in advance. Don't you have them in the US?

    To fill the card you buy a code that you enter on the phone's keypad.

    Most youngsters here have mobile phones, and most of them use this arrangement.

    U.S. Cellular says that led U.S. Cellular to offer unlimited cal
    • by bluGill ( 862 )

      Sure we have them. They cost ~4 times as much per minute though, so unless you almost never use the phone they are a waste of money. This article is about teen girls who have a reputation of talking on the phone for hours every day. Pre-paid cards would be more expensive for them.

      There is a good chance that the teen's parents are intentionally buying them phones with less minutes than the kids want, in teach them a lesson in budget. (Might be misguided, but since I'm not their parent I'm not going

    • Since the cellphone owner has to bear the full burden of the cost of their phone, they can put more pressure on the companies to produce a decent price.

      My wife and I get 500 minutes a month (to anywhere in the US or any other US cellphone), free nights, free weekends, free calls to other t-mobile users (most of our friends & collegues), unlimited data and we each have a smartphone which we can have replaced every year.

      We pay around $80/month for it - In the UK that would scarely cover a few hours of w
  • quit giving bloggers more reason to think they are actually listened to..
    the signal to noise ratio is out of hand already to the point that you could spend all day every day reading their tripe and come up with nothing original or interesting..
    13 year old girls with colored markers, the lot of you!
  • Time to write blogs where Viagra appears at every 3rd word.

    You'll see a sudden explosion at your local pharmacies
  • by johnnyb ( 4816 ) <jonathan@bartlettpublishing.com> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:55PM (#12891867) Homepage
    I know of companies who scan newsgroups to find out how people are using their products. They have a news server and do big regex searches on every message that comes in to see if anybody is saying anything about them, and repost the ones mentioning their brand or brand-related items to internal newsgroups that they can pick up.
  • So now our marketting efforts and future R&D will be directed by internet trolls?

    *sigh*

    Society's going to hell in a handbasket...screw it, pass the popcorn...hope I can at least enjoy the show.
  • by daigu ( 111684 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:10PM (#12892000) Journal

    The reason why most people miss the importance of tracking blogs for marketers is that they focus on the individual conversations. Marketers are interested in aggregates - which is why they look at people based on demographic, attitudes and so forth.

    Why is this important? Say you were the CEO for Fair Beans Coffee company. Some guy starts complaining that you aren't supporting the troops because you aren't given them free coffee. Someone reads that and then writes about it - and then it spreads through the "blogsophere" for whatever reasons, like a chain letter.

    The problem is that it isn't accurate. No one ever asked you to give free coffee to the troops. You had planned to give your workforce a day to work together to refurbish a school. But hey, it is actually a good idea - the soldiers might remember what you did and buy your coffee when they get home, so you decide to donate some.

    The issue here is that you cannot react to a problem you aren't aware of - and there are occasionally opportunities where someone has a good idea that you can act on. However, if you don't know about it - people are just left with the misinformation and dislike you company based on groundless reasons.

    When used in this way, it is just another way for companies to figure out what they customers want - and give it to them. Of course, there could be bad applications - but any technology can be applied for nefarious purposes.

  • My wife was actually reading this over lunch in the print edition and got a chuckle out of the closing paragraph:
    "Soccer moms said their young children love minivans, which they regard as 'a playhouse on wheels,' but teens regard them as lame and want SUVs."
    and her comment was "DUHHHH!!!!"

    I was kinda surprised that the "blog marketing expert" didn't say what Mom's thought about minivans, since (after all) they are the ones buying it, not the kids. My wife used to own a red Mazda sports car, bu

  • I guess they weren't paying enough for focus groups who could have told them the same thing. Honestly, developing search algorythyms to pick out our desires seems so much harder than paying a teenager $5 to tell a marketing specialist what they they thought. Heck, I'm 18, and I would be glad to tell you how much I hate paying for SMS messages for food.
  • Living in Boulder, I can say you really don't need a bunch of crunchy hippy (but rich and driving SUVs at the same time for some reason) pot smokers with "super duper AI Blog Scanning technology" to tell you that people don't like to pay when they go over their minutes, and they don't like to pay for unsolicited calls. Customers don't even need to be teens to not like that stuff.

    You know what else they want with their phone service? Let me check my eHALadulator-j.net 5000 blog scanner... Ah ha! - Better

  • ... they're only scanning the fake blogs their marketing department puts up to plug their products.

    Hey, customer satisfaction is 100%! Let's knock off early!

  • by TrailerTrash ( 91309 ) * on Thursday June 23, 2005 @03:46PM (#12893725)
    IBM developed this technology a while ago, called WebFountain. Obligatory link: http://www.almaden.ibm.com/webfountain/ [ibm.com]

    At Almaden they have a zillion Linux boxes spidering the web building data mining databases. They then sell the ability to mine to companies for marketing research. For example, conceptually mapping Slashdot, you find that users who post on ./ also frequent OSNews, Groklaw, and pr0n.

    Uh, wait... Hmm. Maybe that isn't such a good thing...

  • Yes, they might have blogs. Or they may just be named Maddox [thebestpag...iverse.net].

    --grendel drago
  • Drug Companies (Score:2, Interesting)

    Something that caught my eye on the side was the side bar that said "Poor drug trial not negative".

    Further readings seem to be here [buzzmetrics.com] and here [buzzmetrics.com].

    It appears that before poor drug trial results were announced for Zocor, a higher percentage (24%) of people were negative about Zocor than after the trial results were released (13%). It doesn't matter that the amount of negative comments rose, just that the percentage dropped. (The related traffic quadrupled, so there were twice as many bad comments.)

    I'm not

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