Businesses may be looking forward to trying out the new extension of IBM's brand-monitoring software, but some bloggers are less sure the technology is a good thing. Watching what customers and the press are saying about a company online is nothing new. But IBM reports it is making the task of monitoring sentiment circulating on the Web about a brand much easier and more thorough. Dubbed the Public Image Monitoring Solution, the new software is an improvement upon IBM's already existing WebSphere Information Integrator OmniFind Edition, and is said to read and analyze blogs, news articles, online forums and other Web material to find what is being said about a company and its products or services.
The software will no doubt be enticing to companies who currently have to spend countless man-hours scouring the Web by hand to yield the same results. And the news may be music to the ears of customers who long for companies to pay better attention to consumer concerns, which can be increasingly difficult to express via traditional methods in the age of automated telephone menus. However, some bloggers are expressing fears that this software will just make it easier for large companies to keep a close eye on their employees' personal blogs and potentially damaging comments published by others.
Blog community response:
"I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone in big business released software to help other big businesses monitor what is being said about them online. Still, this means that bloggers need to be a little more careful in what they say. A personal rant can easily be misconstrued by some suit reading his "Blog-Spotting" report. The battle for freedom of speech might get a little trickier if this thing catches on."
--They Call Me Jason
"i.e Ikea uses Blogspotter (or it's open-source alternative Spogblotter), finds any blog that mentions Ikea, and likkity-split everyone who visits these blogs can read about the best deals on ottoman's "only at Ikea SATURDAY SATURDAY SATURDAY"."
--Anonymous Coward on Slashdot
"It will...let companies like say, Sony, know when their customers are very unhappy, and when potential customers are lost. Sometimes I wonder if companies are bothering to look at customer response."