Monday, March 06, 2006

Bloggers used to track trends

Blog Buzz Helps Companies Catch Trends in the Making Not sure how long this article (from the will remain in front of the subscription wall. Here's the drift: ....."the individual opinions blasted out in cyberspace are becoming an increasingly powerful force. Together, they form the fabric of online word of mouth that can determine the hottest new product, make or break a TV show, or set off a customer revolt. Eager to tap into the buzz, a growing number of companies are turning to sophisticated new technologies that track what's said on Internet social networks, blogs, message boards, product review sites, "listservs" -- wherever people congregate publicly online." NeilsonBuzzMetrics is tracking "hundreds and thousands of individual comments a day" and providing customised information to client companies. One example given is ConAgra, who picked up that the low-carb fad was fading (I'll take that to mean Atkins going out of fashion), and hence is launching new types of "healthy" snack foods. Hewlett Packard picked up that people hate leaving their computers at repair shops, so they have technicians visiting people's homes. (They needed an analysis of the blogosphere to tell them that???) Another example is the competition (in the US) for Olympics coverage by a TV programme called American Idol. The examples given are not sufficiently detailed or persuasive to conclude anything much. But it is notable that companies are beginning to use bloggers and other Internet communicators in this way: picking up on trends via aggregating comments and adapting products accordingly. I wonder if and when the publishing industry will pick up on it?