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June 28, 2006

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Being mentioned on blogs is clearly 'relevant' for Durrants itself, otherwise Jeremy wouldn't have replied. And if that's so, then it's hard to see how blog coverage isn't equally relevant for Durrants's clients.

Perhaps the media monitoring firms - and their clients - believe that because of the (usually) low levels of readership of each individual blog, mentions don't count as 'important coverage'. In which case someone needs to educate them about the 'long tail' - not to mention the amplificatory power of linking - pretty sharpish.

Blogs are a highly fragmented form of media, but Durrants's clients still need to be looking at the overall picture those fragments make up. Whether they use Durrants or Technorati/Google Blogsearch to do that is up to them, but I know which one I'd use.

Do you think that the reason these companies don't monitor blogs is because their services aren't as clever as they say they are? Being PR folk they should realise that we are quite savvy to this type of thing, so perhaps the Durrants stance is the right one. Although, like you, I'm looking forward to the day when we don't have to do the dog work.

I think the problem is that they have a problem with the 'long tail'. Some of their clients will be telling them that there are a lot of irrelevant posts.

Then there is the bandwidth needed to monitor (or is using meta blog monitoring) the licence issues and de-duplication.

Non of this need e an issue.

Girish and I have been working on the technologies involved for years but the clip companies think they either don't need such programmes or are happy to invent their own. The solutions are available and (almost) off the shelf.

They are also very slow to adopt technologies and don't focus on them for long. One clip company has taken over a year to evaluate a programme we have that has been working for over three years. I guess that even if they get to buying it, they will be six months away from implementation.

At the end of the day, many of them still hanker after high tech solutions such as a pair of scissors.

Drew B, here you expand on your initial claim that there is “plenty in blogs that is relevant”. For the industry you’re serving most certainly. But there’s also some significance in the results of Durrants’ slightly silly “200 of the most popular blogs” test. Cliché though it is, the most consistently fertile ecosystems still centre on Politics, Gossip & Tech, and while there is other stuff going on, and there is always novelty, such communities are most frequently smaller scale and directed exclusively up their own niche. So isolated, much of the progosphere constitutes industry networking rather than consumer-facing marketing.

Your blog sits in the intersection of Tech and one of the larger, more stable sets not covered by the cliché – media, which has taken to a new channel in which to talk about itself with unsurprising relish. This is ahead of the curve. In predicting limited demand in the wider world, Durrants is right.

And as you say, there’s search. And you would like us to better that how, exactly? Any sensible monitoring offering would doubtless involve a trawl through appropriate sector engines and pretty much all the universal ones. But there are restrictions on the commercial use of search engines for obvious reasons, and the volumes attached to searching thousands of keywords in dozens of languages for thousands of clients would be conspicuous. Ad hoc crisis packages are manageable though; better yet are consultations with our researchers and analysts, which start with advice on RSS (“The List?!?!”) and, hopefully for all concerned, end up in evaluation.

Because other than as a crisis alert service, monitoring has always been a redundancy unless accompanied by measurement. What Romeike offers is about ROI, and new media changes nothing. Research, evaluation, analysis and strategic consultancy are core Romeike services, and with the landscape evolving as quickly as it is, the ability to assess consistently and rigorously changes in media profile across a proliferating rash of channels has never been at such a premium.

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