Marchex Debuts Online Reputation Management For SMBs - InformationWeek

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Commentary
10/13/2009
03:01 AM
Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul
Commentary
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Marchex Debuts Online Reputation Management For SMBs

Many large enterprises spend small fortunes tracking how they are perceived online and in social media. But small and midsize companies don't have to worry about things like reputation management, do they? After all, who could be talking about them? Well, it could be more than you might think.

Many large enterprises spend small fortunes tracking how they are perceived online and in social media. But small and midsize companies don't have to worry about things like reputation management, do they? After all, who could be talking about them? Well, it could be more than you might think.This is not a purely academic exercise. Marchex, a local search and performance advertising company in Seattle, has just announced an online Reputation Management product for local businesses, and my first reaction was to ask, "Would any small business actually need to track themselves online?

Pete Christothoulou, Marchex's chief operating office, had a ready answer: "It turns out they all do," he said, "if only for the online data that represents them." Listing information for local businesses is often incorrect, he said, sometimes in as many as a dozen different places. And even SMBs in relatively esoteric fields may show up in blogs or ratings sites, he added. It's not just hotels and restaurants getting rated, it's also contractors, electronics stores, and all kinds of businesses.. "People are talking about them," Christothoulou said, "even if they don't have a Web site." Even worse, he added, "local business data is really mess, and often businesses don't even know it."

Marchex's new service, Christothoulou said, offers a single place to get a relatively comprehensive view of what people are saying about your company.

Basically, Marchex Reputation Management captures data from the company's Open List local search network with more than 8,000 sources, 16 million businesses, and 250 million pieces of meta-data covering more than 8 million reviews and 10 million mentions.

It separates each company's results into three parts:

  • Reviews tracks how the company shows up review sites, with pie charts indicated positive, negative, and neutral reviews. Bar charts show how the reviews are trending over time. You can drill down to link to the actual reviews and pull out emotive keywords and phrases.
  • Mentions tracks all notations of the company, including Twitter
  • Listings checks for consistency and completeness (names, phone numbers, etc.) for the company in various directories. It also lets users compare how one company is listed against other, similar companies.

Marchex Rep Mgmt Overview The Marchex Reputation Management overview screen shows Reviews, Mentions, and Listings.

"This is the early stages" of the limited beta product, Christothoulou said. Future versions will allow users to take action about what they find, and join conversations or correct listings. Marchex is in talks with partners to market the service to SMBs for approximately $40 - $60 per month. The company cites a BIA/Kelsey forecast that the E-mail, Reputation and Presence Management (ERPM) category grow from $460 million in 2008 to $3.1 billion in 2013 as the number of SMBs using ERPM jumps from 500,000 to 4 million.

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