Blog Sentiment and Traditional Media

eMarketer reports that a recent study on traditional media’s use of blogs shows that 57.7% of respondents–US journalists –use blogs to measure sentiment.

Identifying Expressions of Emotion in Text (core study found here, registration required) is an intriguing “blog sentiment” study that identified targeted, emotion-laden words–“seed words”–and retrieved 173 blog posts from the Web that contained such. What the researchers found was that you can algorithmically determine the “emotive pulse” of a blog, or individual blog entries.

Once a product is developed around this method, one practical application of this is that you could quickly cull blog posts that target a certain emotion pertaining to a brand so as to determine positive/neutral/negative sentiment relative to that brand. This is particularly useful for brands concerned about maintaining a “real time” knowledge base as to their status in the blogosphere; thus, enabling brand managers to anticipate/preempt potential public relations crises.

Managing Online Reputation on Search Engines

This post on the SEOMOZ.org site, is an excellent resource on tactics and considerations as it relates to managing your online reputation.

This post on the SEOMOZ.org site, is an excellent resource on tactics and considerations as it relates to managing your online reputation. I suggest reading the the SEOMOZ post before clicking on the additional resources listed below.

Wiki article

Interview with a person who specializes in online reputation management issues.

Two big take-aways from this article are use basic SEO tactic to systematically push negative comments of the first page of Google and respond and get involved immediately.

Blog Pay-Per-Click Advertising Opportunities

eMarketer issued a report that blogs are big business (or have the potential to be). According to the article, advertising opportunities abound for traditional advertisers in the blogosphere as the number of blogs grow and readership increases.

And this research paper from MicroSoft adCenterLabs discusses intriguing concepts in tracking blog information flows with an eye towards charging an appropriate fee for a PPC advertisement placed on a blog.

Classified Ads in the Trash

Epitaph of printed classified advertisements:

classifiedtrash2.jpg

classifiedadcut.JPG

And this commentary corroborates the physical evidence.

For newspapers, these are the end times, or something very much like them. Every week provides a new marker on the road to apocalypse: hundreds of layoffs in Los Angeles, circulation scandals in Dallas

… and …

The rise of the Craigslist model has devastated classified advertising in newspapers, once the only place in a city to sell a used car or list a job opening…why should you spend $100 putting something up for sale in the paper when you can post it on Craigslist for free? Why list a job for $200 when you can list it for $10?

The NYTimes also agrees. And apparently it’s profitable to give consumers–and advertisers–a simple and easy to access, use, and understand forum.

Accordingly, unless you’re really targeting a niche demographic, go with an online vertical advertising venue rather than traditional print classifieds; this saves you money over the long-term, allows you to target your audience more effectively, and measure the performance of your advertising spend.

Competitive Intelligence Using TouchGraph

TouchGraph is an excellent tool that gives you “visual insight” into a site’s external linking structure and relationships, which is a good starting point for website competitive analysis.  Let’s compare Redfin, Zillow, and REALTOR.com.

Redfin’s linking relationships

RedfineTouchGraph

Zillow’s linking relationships

ZillowTouchGraph

REALTOR.com’s linking relationships

RealtorToughGraph

The visual representation of these relationships allows you to quickly explore the link structure of the “affiliated” sites much faster than conducting such an analysis using Google or Yahoo tools. Thus, you can better assess your weaknesses, strengths, and opportunities in cultivating or disabling the same or similar relationships.

Trulia Case Study in Online Reputation Management

Trulia’s response to this issue is an excellent case study in online reputation management.

This post generated 159 comments, and landed in Trulia’s lap on Tuesday, April 29th, 2008, 10:36 am MST. The subject hit at the heart of Trulia’s astounding SEO success. Trulia’s response to this issue is an excellent case study in online reputation management that began with a blog-flame and ended with this MarketWatch interview.

On April 29th, Trulia’s first response was to see how high the flames would go. BHB is a very popular real estate industry blog. If the issue dies on BHB, then it’s likely dead everywhere else too. However, if the issue lives and progresses from birth to adolescence to adulthood in record time, it’s time to respond. And on BHB, “adulthood” was reached in record time. Thus, Trulia responded.

Trulia’s first public response on BHB was April 30th, 2008 9:58 am from Rudy at Trulia. His post did not seem to stem the tide of negative commentary. Thus, Pete Flint, Trulia’s founder and CEO, got in on the action that afternoon. Rudy’s and Pete’s posts were debated, derided, and defended throughout the day and over the next several days, with the issue basically fizzling out on the eighth day–an eternity in the blogosphere. Additionally, in the midst of this, Trulia responded on its own blog; an appropriate tactic and response vehicle in addition to their comments mentioned above.

In analyzing their response tactics in view of a possible PR crisis, Trulia did an excellent job–they jumped into the controversy, debated and tried to clarify points they felt were inaccurate (i.e., through their comments they got their side of the story posted on the BHB blog), and responded in their own forum. This latter tactic get’s their blog post about the controversy a nifty Google search result. For example, the search phrase trulia pagerank debate gives them a higher position on Google than the original BHB posting, and the phrase trulia seo debate gives them a similar great position. Trulia’s final act in the midst of this blog-debate was to issue a press release about their foreclosure survey, which was also picked up by newswires like PR Newswire Eur at 15:47:00 on 5/7/08 and AP Alert – HiTech at 15:49:22 on 5/7/08.

From a PR perspective, what’s masterful about this latter tactic? PR channel management: managing the blog-tech channel as opposed to the traditional press-consumer channel.

Essentially, Trulia ceded the fact that they would not win the blog-tech battle, and appears fine with having their side of the story told. Yet, Trulia appears absolutely focused on maintaining its dominate position in the eyes of the traditional press as the authority on real estate. To this point, what’s some evidence that Trulia has maintained it’s dominance in the eyes of the traditional press? The MarketWatch interview seen above.

Storytelling in Web 2.0 marketing

Storytelling is one of the most important marketing concepts in our Web 2.0 world, argues this TrendWatching briefing paper. The key is helping consumers tell other consumers a version of the story that stays true to tenets of the brand.

As more brands (have to) go niche and therefore tell stories that aren’t known to the masses, and as experiences and non-consumption-related expenditures take over from physical (and more visible) status symbols, consumers will increasingly have to tell each other stories to achieve a status dividend from their purchases. Expect a shift from brands telling a story, to brands helping consumers tell status-yielding stories to other consumers.

The briefing paper argues that as niche marketing pressures increase, creating brands that are truly unique is a necessity; yet, these brands must increasingly rely on consumers to “market” the products (ala the Godin Purple Cow argument). Thus, experience marketing is a must have, with “status storytelling” acting as the catalyst, driving towards having consumers create and nurture status spheres:

  • Transient Spheres (consumers driven by experiences)
  • Online Spheres (social status as determined by who connects to whom)
  • Eco Sphere (i.e., praising Prius drivers while scorning SUV owners)
  • Giving Spheres (charitable giving)
  • Participative Sphere (participation is the new consumption

Other salient tidbits from the status storytelling paper are finding conversation starter icons (like t-shirt designs, weird pins, funky Kleenex boxes, etc) and “life caching” and “life casting” concepts (aligning your product with platforms like uStreamTV).

Here’s an example of ustream.tv, BJ Fogg’s Stanford class called “Psychology of Facebook.

Gender bias in e-Loyalty programs

An e-Marketer recent report shows that moms are a major power on the Internet.

eMarketer

Notice how FrontDoor.com leverages this fact. And this research article points out that women adopt e-Service loyalty programs at a higher rate if their enjoyment and perceived social presence of the site is high. Notably, the researchers point out that

In particular, online vendors that cater to females may experience more pronounced and positive impacts of conveying a sense of warmth and sociability on their websites.

Notice that on the FrontDoor.com site that “warmth” and “community” is high. Thus, I’d not be surprised if they have a high loyalty rate.