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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