PR Newswire and Umbria Team Up for Blog Tracking

prnewswire.jpgPR Newswire has announced a partnership with Umbria, a market intelligence company that specializes in blog research and consumer generated media for a new product by the name of “MediaSense Blog Measurement”, that allows clients to assess the impact of online conversations about their company, products and brands.

The new service builds on PR Newswires existing relationship with Technorati, and provides a graphical assessment of the conversational tone and participant demographics.

“Bloggers are thought leaders and opinion-shapers, so tracking who and how quickly they pick up on various news items has become critical for brand and PR professionals,” Howard Kaushansky, president of Umbria said in their media release. “If it’s positive, you want to know. If it’s a mushroom cloud of negativity, you definitely need to know. This partnership gives that knowledge to PR Newswire clients”.

Whilst the continued growth in companies tracking consumer generated media is a positive indication of the continued maturity and acceptance of one of the most important drivers of Web 2.0, the question must be asked: why?

Why do PR Professionals need a service to find out what bloggers are saying about their clients by a third party?

Media monitoring services still play an important role in supporting PR, but this old school model comes from a day before the Internet where national media monitoring via a third party was essential, simply because there wasn’t an alternative, and in many cases, for print, radio and TV there isn’t an all inclusive alternative today. And yet blogs and consumer generated media are the children of a new age, an online age where information is accessible online anywhere in the world at the touch of a button.

Many PR Professionals contact and read TechCrunch so perhaps we can get some answers: is it that some PR Professionals cant type “Insert Clients Name here” into Technorati or Google Blog Search?

How difficult is it to set up feeds from services such as Google News, Yahoo News and Topix which deliver results based on corporate brand names?

Isn’t the whole point of engaging with and participating in a Web 2.0 world one to one communications, removing the middle tier of information dissemination?

Having said that, if you’ve got a full corporate expense account and prefer your information spoon fed, then these sorts of blog tracking services are ideal.