For a couple of months already I was planning to research reputation management tools. I wanted to do a better job tracking the mentions of my company across the Internet. I’m currently using Google Alerts, but those are at least a day late, and not always accurate. I want almost instant notifications, so I can actually engage in discussions, rather than jumping in days afterwards.
My favorite tool is Backtype, which shows all comments made by a specific person, anywhere on the Internet. I often forget where I left comments, so this will be an indispensable tool to keep track of my own comments.
What I like about the paid tools is that they’re more integrated: from one dashboard you can track anything. Some include advanced features, such as analyzing social maps. So you really get added value for your money.
For me, the big question is: when should you spend time on money on this? Does this make sense if you are a niche vendor with a relatively small group of potential customers, and enterprise pricing? Or is it more useful if you have a fairly horizontal solution with an attractive price point?
I think the latter, so for now, I’m not very active with monitoring the blogosphere. I’ll stick to Google Alerts, a daily manual search on Twitter, and an occasional search on Technorati. Am I missing opportunities here, or do you feel this makes sense for a vendor of specialized software for Fortune 500 companies?