You've worked endlessly and relentlessly to build your online business, to build a loyal customer base, and to build your brand. Your company is something you are proud to promote.
Suddenly, a customer reveals that somebody is smearing your company's name by plastering stories in chat rooms and discussion lists of horrific customer service standards and terrible business practices.
Worse yet, you learn that somebody has developed a yourcompanystinks.com Web site.
Any number of Web sites exist that take issue with one company or another.
While your online business might not have yet inspired a yourcompanystinks.com Web site, your business is discussed in chat rooms and maybe stories appear via online news services.
Knowing what people are saying about your company can be the difference between building a positive brand image or a negative one.
Bad News, Good News or No News
Searching through each of the major search engines for references to your company is oftentimes an ineffective way to uncover news about your business. The majority of what is posted on the Internet about your company will be found in discussion lists, newswire services and newsgroups -- areas that major search engines can't always reach.
Because users can say almost anything about anybody on the Internet, online media monitoring services have found a niche and are in high demand.
Online media monitoring services can be a great investment for your online company, especially when you distribute press releases and post announcements about your business to online news wire services. You can monitor which Internet sources provide the most coverage about your company.
This can be a tremendous aid in determining where to focus your PR efforts and whether your efforts are paying off at all. You hope people are talking about your company, so now you want to know what they're saying.
Information as Power
News monitoring services allow you daily access to updated news about your company, your competitors and your industry. By uncovering attacks on your brand or false rumors, you can react and recover.
You'll also know which Internet sources provide the most coverage about your company. This can be a tremendous aid in determining where to focus your PR efforts and whether your efforts are paying off at all.
But be aware that online media clipping and monitoring services vary as much in quality as they do in price.
You can achieve some limited success by manually searching through sites such as NorthernLight or dogpile, sites that search multiple search engines for your search terms. But the convenience and effectiveness of using a reliable media monitoring service is worth the money if your company is strongly invested in any kind of PR effort.
CyberAlert and Market Guard 24/7 offer a free 3 /webguide/0,1660,28431,00.html-day trial of their services. Expect to pay a flat monthly rate ranging from $39 to $349 (U.S.) based on how many search terms you choose to use.
Business 2. /webguide/0,1660,28431,00.html provides an online search through thousands of business journals and sources as well as resources on where to find information and references for reliable news clipping services.