Umbria Updates Buzz Report

Market intelligence firm Umbria Communications will roll out several changes to its Buzz Report blog-monitoring tool this week. Many of the upgrades are aimed at simplifying the product to make it more efficient to use.

The Buzz Report gives marketers the ability to monitor online conversations on blogs, message boards and chat rooms to track opinions and perceptions around brands, products or competitors. Users can sign up for in-depth reports on a monthly or weekly basis.

With this update, the first since the product launched a year ago, Umbria narrowed the list of reports from hundreds to about 50, and added an automated top-line summary in order to simplify the presentation of the large amounts of data collected in the course of monitoring more than 11 million blogs, message boards, and chat rooms, according to Dave Howlett, VP product management at Umbria.

“People want to be able to find the data they can quickly show to executive management,” Howlett said. “We’ve boiled it down to the highest-impact reports, and added an easy to read one- or two-page summary of the major issues impacting the brand or topic of interest.”

Power users will still be able to access any of the other custom reports, but Howlett predicts most users will find summary reports suit their needs.

Other changes to Buzz Report include improved demographic segmentation capabilities, using natural language processing technology to ascertain speaker characteristics like age and gender based on speech patterns. Umbria has also toughened up its blog spam-filtering process to eliminate unrelated posts that can skew results.

Where some blog monitoring applications, including Intelliseek and Buzzmetrics, give more weight to influential bloggers, Umbria takes a more egalitarian approach, giving voice to the so-called “lone bloggers,” whose opinions in aggregate can tell a different story than the one told by A-list bloggers, Howlett said.

“We’re more focused on the notion of the ‘long tail.’ When a lone blogger talks about a product issue, and it’s looked at along with other lone bloggers, an issue can permeate to the top,” he said. “If you focus just on the influencers, they may not be talking about the same issues.”

When Intelliseek updated its Blogpulse tool last week, it made influence a bigger part of the equation when weighing the source being monitored. Its profiling tool uses text-analysis technologies to rank top blogs and to quantify other factors that indicate blog influence, such as which news sources or other blogs the source blog refers to the most.

“With this new edition of BlogPulse, marketers and bloggers can gain a much deeper understanding of how key bloggers are shaping, catalyzing, and influencing broader perceptions about brands, products, services and everyday issues,” said Intelliseek’s CEO Mike Nazzaro.

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