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June 22, 2006

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I don't know which media monitoring firms you've been talking to but at Durrants we take blogs seriously, as we do all content. We already monitor thousands of print, broadcast and online sources and have been tracking blogs with interest. In fact, we recently trialled content from hundreds of leading blogs and passed it through our search engines - but despite having over 3,000 clients with over 20,000 keywords on our system, the yield from blogs was extremely low. So there just isn't that much relevant content out there right now for our client base. That's also demonstrated by the low number of requests we get for blog monitoring. As the number of authoritative blogs increases, I'm sure this will change, and we'll continue to monitor it. But to say that we don't know anything about blogs is simply misleading.

Hi Jeremy - thanks for stopping by!

When you trialled content from hundreds of leading blogs and passed it through your search engines, what did the trial involve? Did you type words into Google Blog Search? Or were you trying the blogs out for compatability?

And when you said there isn't much relevant content out there right now for your client base, do you mean there aren't relevant discussions on blogs about your clients? What kind of clients do you have? If they're in the news, involved in politics, or have a brand, there is plenty in blogs that is relevant. IMHO

I'll post in a few mins about some relevant stuff that might be of interest. Cheers. Drew

Hi Drew

We get feeds of content from sources all over the world. We've been looking at blogs as they're clearly topical and we want to ensure we're monitoring all authoritative sources.

We have over 3,000 clients who give us in total about 17,500 keywords. A keyword could be a brand, product, company, executive or subject. Almost 50% of our clients are corporates (we serve 40 of the FTSE100); the rest are government departments, charities or PR agencies.

We recently took a feed of 200 of the most popular blogs in the UK from a 3rd party and monitored their content for a 2 week period. Sure, we picked up lots of mentions of brands, products and companies, but the majority of the threads were not of interest to our clients.

We are largely serving press officers or corporate communications managers, not marketeers or product developers.They are interested in tracking hard news, managing campaigns, monitoring corporate reputation and following industry or competitor activity.

We are vey much at the other end of the news monitoring spectrum to Google. We are about applying sophisticated search, sorting and editorial to the world's most authoritative media and delivering only what is relevant to the end user, with added value like summaries, translations or analysis. Blogs just don't fit into that category right now as much of the content is not authoritative or opinion forming in the wider sense. This is also the feedback we are getting from our clients.

If you just want to track simple company or brand mentions in blogs, some of the tools talked about in this forum are perfectly adequate. Durrants will do it, but the cost of monitoring 40,000,000 blogs to the accuracy of our core service would be extremely high, and we know from our research that take up amongst our client base would be extremely low. That's why we don't monitor them right now.

Jeremy Thompson, Durrants MD

PS: always interested to hear other views though. Interested to see that relevant stuff you mentioned...

Jeremy

Drew B, you say 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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