Last month, I e-mailed my entire family and suggested they setup Google Alerts on their name. When a week later someone created a malicious Facebook group slandering my sister (very uncool), I was reminded of the importance of knowing what people are publicly saying about you and your products.
When I first began working on TechCrunch, I immediately looked for a tool to alert me whenever people wrote about CrunchBase online. After demo’ing several products, I landed on SM2 by Techrigy.
Techrigy announced last week that their index of online conversations just broke the 1 billion mark. And two days ago, they announced real-time alerts, fixing my biggest complaint with the service–results previously took a day or two to appear.
Like most website analytics packages, these conversation monitoring tools face a delicate balance between simple interface and powerful statistics. Much like a scientific calculator is very powerful, but a little confusing.
Many of the products I tried were too simple–for a product like CrunchBase, which is mentioned multiple times per hour–the ability to extract trends from mounds of data is far more important than seeing individual comments.
Products mentioned less often will place more value on real-time alerts for individual mentions. I know one of CrunchBase’s competitors left a comment hyping their product on any blog that mentioned CrunchBase.
The service is clearly targeted at larger businesses. While they offer a free version for up to five search phrases, the next plan costs $500 a month.