January 28, 2009

BuzzGain Launches In Beta, Enabling "Do It Yourself PR", Monitoring

Just yesterday morning, we were talking about the friction that can arise between bloggers and Public Relations teams, who in theory should be working together, but often find themselves battling, largely due to a lack of understanding of one's goals, or even if they have the right targets. Today, BuzzGain, a small startup I've been helping to advise since March of 2008, is opening up in beta, with a goal of helping companies' service, communications and product teams work with bloggers and social media in a better way - through improved monitoring and outreach tools.

Most companies these days are waking up to the fact that they are going to have a hard time controlling their message and brand reputation online, with so many voices out there watching and reporting on their every move. Be they competitors, customers or partners, people are talking about you online, on blogs, on Twitter, on FriendFeed, YouTube, Flickr and other sites. BuzzGain is looking to start out by offering a set of robust social media monitoring tools, but also help companies get to the next level, and better understand who has influence, and where conversations are taking place, so they can better listen and learn from those who can offer beneficial relationships.

BuzzGain Shows Blogs Relevant to Your Company

In the ten months I have worked with Mukund Mohan and watched the site grow, it has taken tremendous evolutionary steps forward, growing its data base, and making it easier for corporate or PR teams to run campaigns that follow keywords. With time, it could be that BuzzGain would be operated by PR teams in the way Salesforce.com is run by Sales teams in a wide range of industries. And like Salesforce.com, BuzzGain launches with a real revenue strategy, pricing at $99 a month for companies below $100 million in revenue, and rising to $500 a month to those up to $1 billion in revenue, and $1,000 a month for $1 billion+ companies.

BuzzGain Can Rank Influencers By Authority, Frequency

BuzzGain doesn't operate in isolation. Its data is pulled from popular Web sources, including Technorati, which helps determine sites' influence in terms of external link activity, and Compete.com for estimated traffic. Essentially, as a PR person, if you wanted to find out who the authority was for your company or a set of keywords, you could learn through BuzzGain who mentions those topics most frequently, see how often they do, and whether they reach 500 readers or 500,000.

BuzzGain Can Show Details On Specific Sources

Given the site is in very early beta, there is some work still left to be done when it comes to optimizing the user experience and speeding up time for queries and results, and continued efforts to remove duplication of data, but BuzzGain has developed a one-stop tool for agencies and corporate marketers to get, in a single glance, a barometer for what is happening to their brand on the Web. Mukund and the team call it "Do-It-Yourself PR". The site is currently tracking 150 million different sources of influence, and helps to make some sense of the noise.

You can sign up for the private beta on their Web site, or let me know if you're interested. I just might have some invites and have hopes that these humble beginnings will be the start of something very interesting in the world of PR and brand monitoring.

DISCLOSURE: I am an advisor to BuzzGain.