May 16, 2007

Interesting comment thread on reputation tracking

Techcrunch blogged skeptically about Umbria’s* service, specifically its partnership with PR Newswire. The comment thread had a fair amount of pushback, largely from vendors with skin in the game.

*Note: Umbria has a non-obvious URL.

I haven’t actually spoken with Umbria — uh, guys, why not? — but they seem to have a reputation tracking service. Their niche is apparently to quantify/measure by a variety of metrics, and that’s supposedly what makes their service (and their competitors’) worthwhile.

I certainly believe that automated clustering of web commentary is worthwhile for many companies, even if with no more precision than via some kind of tag-cloud visualization. (And I’ve been skeptical of tag clouds and the like ever since I was first pitched by Semio.) But I’m curious as to whether there’s sufficient and sufficiently precise data to deliver real value along the lines of what Umbria offers.

That there’s enough for at least a superficial demo I have no doubt. Dashboards look great when there are maps involved, and I imagine Umbria’s offering is full of map. Not to mention pie charts, bar charts, layer cake graphs, and all that other good stuff …

So what do you think, folks? How finely can one slice the reputation tracking salami with today’s technology and data, before things just get silly?

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