Listening for Relevant Noise

September 28, 2006

Topics: Search Marketing.

One interesting way of looking out for interesting projects or ideas on the net is to simply take a peek at your log files every once in a while. Today, while poking through the very large list of "unknown" user agents that AWStats spat at me, I ran across something from http://relevantnoise.com/.

relevantNoise is in the old-fashioned field of reputation management. Specifically, they’re dedicated to mining blogs for business intelligence. They’ll monitor what’s being said about your company (and about your competitors) throughout the blogosphere; allowing you to quickly see what you’ve done lately which made your customers love you – or hate you.

Reputation management is a very important part of marketing. When anybody with a grudge or a passion can very quickly create a website and publish their thoughts to the world, one satisfied customer can do wonders for your PR – and one badly handled customer can be extremely damaging.

In some ways, reputation management goes hand in hand with viral marketing. But rather than creating a buzz; you’re monitoring and managing the buzz created by others. When you’ve got bad publicity, you can jump on it immediately, deal with the problem, and possibly turn it into a success story.

From what I can tell, relevantNoise is a business intelligence company with a very good idea of the importance of blogs. You can read their own blog and get a pretty good sense for the character of the team and their ideas. It’s not a cold blooded corporate blog; the most recent post is focused on the positive buzz around Studio 60.

Reputation management is something that an individual can pretty easily do for themselves – subscribe to a few relevant blogs, run some Google Alerts on your name, etc. But at a higher level, having professional help is pretty crucial.

They could use a little site optimization help, though – unique page titles would probably be helpful towards building their site’s web presence.

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5 Comments to “Listening for Relevant Noise”

  1. Disrespecting the “rules of the road,” as it were, for robot traffic is definitely a cause for offense. There’s a point where a service does more harm to those it uses as sources than it does benefit to those who use the service — and perhaps Relevant Noise crosses that line. Personally, I find it hard to be overly concerned about this particular bot. I don’t have a corporate budget to weight the benefits of the Relevant Noise bot either, but when I compare the work involved in blocking it to the expense involved in not blocking it, I find myself looking at a very petty question. I can spend a petty amount of time working to block the bot, or I can spend nothing on the bandwidth to allow it to continue to have access. If, at some point, I reached a degree of traffic where I was at any risk of exceeding the bandwidth allotted by my hosting, I might reconsider.

  2. The problem I have with Relevant Noise is not with the company, but how the “mining of public data” takes place.
    The article I published didn’t go online until it became obvious that a simple robots.txt entry wasn’t worth the effort made.
    A last count, bot access = 62 – robots.txt pulled = 2.

    “Mining public data” at the rate of 150+ pages in 3 seconds in most of the 62 accesses was the deciding factor in removing the bot’s access and publishing my article(s).
    I also contacted a few others that do the same type of blogs as I and nearly all were of the same idea of removing access due to the same problems I was having.
    Also since I do not have a corporate budget to pull from and weighing benefits – or the lack of – of the Relevant Noise bot, the choice was pretty clear; at least for me.
    Mining Google’s Cache would probably be easier on my budget than not.

  3. Pingback: Longrider » RelevantNoise

  4. Indeed, a lot of people don’t understand the whole concept of mining public data for information: like you say, the information is already out there, you’re just searching it out and analyzing it.

    I’ll be honest…I was surprised when I wrote this that I didn’t hear anything from you sooner – made me wonder whether you were using your own services! Of course, since what I wrote was generally positive, there was little reason to charge in…

    At any rate, I’m glad to hear from you – hope you can manage to educate people and get rid of some of those unfortunate comparisons.

  5. Sorry it’s taken me a while to comment on this! Your post about us is … well, refreshing! We’re getting a fair amount of flack lately for what we do, so it’s nice to see a post in which we’re not called “spies” or something similar.

    I agree (obviously) that there’s value in reputation management…and there are still far too many marketing and PR execs who are unaware of the disasters slowly simmering around their brands in the blogosphere. What we do at relevantNOISE (as I’ve just said elsewhere, and as you’ve mentioned) is not a heck of a lot different than what one would do by setting up Google Alerts and keeping an eye on Technorati — but we provide a much broader, fuller view, allowing (for example) a CMO to monitor several brands (on a keyword basis) at a time. And we’re able to determine things like the overall tone of the posts, volume, etc., which can be viewed graphically via our nifty dashboard.

    It’s cool stuff, and we’re really excited about what we’re doing. And we’re honestly dedicated to adhering to industry best practices. (If I sound defensive, it’s only because I really do take offense to the whole Big Brother comparison — we’re not monitoring anything that hasn’t been published and/or syndicated for public viewing already.) And, oh yeah, it’s 1:00 AM. I may just be cranky, too!

    As for optimization…yeah, I know. SEO is high on the priority list for 2007!

    Thanks again for the post.