San Francisco-based Scout Labs has launched a suite of buzz monitoring tools, intended to help marketers monitor discussions about their brands across free-form media, like social networks and consumer-generated content destinations.
"We're not the first people to have this idea of helping companies make sense of what's going on across the Internet," said CEO Jenny Zeszut in an interview with ClickZ, "but for the most part the other companies that do this will send a team of consultants and expensive researchers… Only a few companies have budgets big enough for that."
According to the company, the software is a do-it-yourself — and thus more affordable — version of brand tracking services like Nielsen's Buzz Metrics. The going rate is $250 per month.
From a unified interface, clients — which include Focus Features, Sony BMG, Netflix and HP — can manage conversations about their brands as they occur in real-time. It tracks discussions on Twitter, YouTube, chat rooms and other sites that are not password-protected.
In a software demo, Scout Labs demonstrated how client Netflix used the system to search for discussions across the 'net that include "I wish Netflix…", "Netflix sucks," or "Blockbuster."
Crucially, it also enables marketers to participate in these discussions. From the software dashboard, clients can reply directly to consumers, or write notes to other marketers on the same system with attached conversations.
According to Zeszut, over 300 companies participated in a six-month beta.