Sometimes, the need to monitor from a reputation management perspective hits really close to home. We recommend clients use our service to closely monitor their mentions online to alert them to any potential problems or negative posts, and of course we use the system ourselves.
At CustomScoop, we’re very proud of the work we do and are accustomed to coming across accolades more often than complaints. When we do see the occasional complaint, it’s something we’ll look at objectively, to see if there’s a way we can improve. We realize we can’t make everyone happy all the time, and that’s fine–it’s how we learn, refine, and improve our products and services.
On very rare occasions, there are the Reputation Vampires. They suck the life out of your day.
Today we came across a very negative complaint, where someone purporting to be a customer said that we failed to deliver on a job to remove posts from blogs made by a former employee.
We can certainly see how we would be unable to meet his expectations in this — it isn’t a service that CustomScoop provides. We’re an online media monitoring, measurement, and analysis firm, not a reputation repair firm. Clearly, the person leveling the complaint is at best confusing us with another firm–at worst? Let your imagination run wild.
It’s one thing to know that you shouldn’t chase every rabbit. But it can be difficult to heed that advice when someone levels a completely unfounded accusation at you. It’s even worse when you see that unfounded accusation on page one of your Google results. You want to ask the site to take the fraudulent accusation down, and that’s a natural–but in this era, futile–response. (As to the typical corporate response, we’re New Englanders and too cheap to call our lawyers.
That doesn’t work either anyways.)
We tell clients all the time that it is important to have an active monitoring program, and that it’s incredibly useful to have a blog in place to use to correct the record and respond when needed. Check and check. We’ll continue to focus on what we do best: providing timely, accurate, online monitoring to our clients.
And, once more, with feeling: we do not offer reputation repair services!
August 5, 2009
We just wrapped up our Summer 2009 Customer Survey and are combing through the results. I thought I’d take a moment to share some of the comments I’m proudest about, as well as some of the feedback that will lead to future product enhancements.
April 24, 2009
Not surprisingly, I am often asked about the best solution for meeting someone's media monitoring and analysis needs. Of course, I am very biased in favor of CustomScoop, but I also recognize that some solutions may be better fits for certain individuals, organizations, and needs.
That's why I wrote a white paper on the subject. In it, I try to address some of the questions and dilemmas I most often see:
- Can I get by with a free service like Google News or Google Blogsearch? Sometimes, that answer is yes. The paper explains this in more detail, but the most basic assessment must be the volume of search terms and clips that result. The fewer things you are searching for and the fewer clips it returns on a daily basis, the more likely you are to be able to get away with free. For instance, most solo bloggers just doing ego searches are better off using a free service than paying a company like mine.
- If I need a professional service, how do I pick among all the monitoring services out there? You need to look very carefully at your needs and make sure that the service you select has the tools and information you need to be effective. At the same time, you want to make sure you aren't paying for too many bells and whistles that you won't be taking advantage of. Ultimately, it will all come down to your comfort level with the solution and the people behind it.
- Should I go it alone on analysis or use a service? Like the free vs. paid monitoring question, the issue of using DIY tools provided by your clipping service versus paying for specific analysis largely comes down to volume. Is your time better spent compiling reports or doing something else while you pay a vendor to analyze coverage? Of course, there are other considerations as well, including third party validation and resource efficiency.
- What about automated sentiment analysis? A number of companies provide the ability to "automatically" rate clips as positive, negative, or neutral based on computer analysis. This can be a great time saver — if you are willing to sacrifice a bit on accuracy.
- When is expert human analysis the right answer? If you want daily digests of just the key information and/or regular reports with careful, detailed analysis of trends, a professional analysis service may be your best bet. As good as comptuers are at organizing raw data (and even applying some sentiment scoring), there really is no substitute for people. That comes at a cost, so you will need to decide whether or not the media intelligence provided and the time savings offered justifies the expense.
The white paper, titled "Choosing the Right Media Monitoring and Analysis Solution," goes into much greater detail on these and other points to help you evaluate your options for effectively and efficiently tracking traditional and social media.
February 16, 2009
CustomScoop, a leader in customizable media monitoring and analysis services, is pleased to announce that Jennifer Zingsheim, VP of Products & Services at CustomScoop, will be one of the speakers of the first Social Media Breakfast NH, to be held on Friday, February 20 at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, NH.
The focus of the first Social Media Breakfast NH will be all about Building Bridges and Jennifer Zingsheim will be discussing building the bridges between old media and new media. It is a topic that is especially relevant to Zingsheim through the services that CustomScoop provides to its customers in the monitoring and analysis of both traditional media and social media. CustomScoop is excited to be a participating speaker in the first Social Media Breakfast NH event.
“We’re glad to have the opportunity to support Social Media Breakfast NH in any way we can. We see this as a great way to give back to our local community by sharing
our expertise with others in the state,” says Steve Bracy, Executive Vice President of CustomScoop.
Anyone who has the desire to learn is welcome and invited to join the NH Social Media Breakfast. The event will be held February 20th at the Hospitality Center
Ballroom, Southern New Hampshire University, 2500 N. River Road, Manchester, NH from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
June 18, 2008
I’ve always appreciated a Team effort, so it was great to see the Celtics win the NBA Championship last week as a Team. Okay, I must admit, that being from New England, I might be a bit biased, but the reality is they played as a Team and won as a Team. It was exciting to see everyone contributing on offense and on defense and then win the Championship!
You may ask, so the Celtics won, big deal, what does that have to do with CustomScoop? Well, it highlights the "Team" concept that has been our minds at CustomScoop for quite a while. For you see, behind the scenes we have been working very hard and are now excited to introduce our newest level of service, the ClipIQ Team Edition to our product portfolio.
The Team edition is perfect for companies both large and small that have the need for a monitoring and analysis solution that multiple Team Players can use. ClipIQ Team Edition combines our powerful online news clipping technology with state of the art media measurement tools all wrapped in an easy to use interface.
When you add to the service, our Team of Experts to help with the crafting of the search & filtering criteria, you get a winning Team combination that can’t be beat. I encourage you to Sign Up for a Free Trial of the Team Edition and see for yourself how our Team Edition can help your Team succeed!
November 26, 2007
Nothing like being fashionably late! I was tagged in this meme almost a week ago, but I couldn’t just let it slide without adding my contribution.
Ike Pigott tagged me to participate in a meme started by Kami Huyse that begged the question, who has had the greatest influence on your career, and why?
Perhaps a good excuse for my tardiness is that I really had to think on this one for a while. After all, I’m still young (if I do say so myself), and having only been out of college a few years, my career path has been rather varied. I’ve had three major employers, all quite different, and even took a “year off” at one point in which I worked a series of temp jobs in an effort to figure out where I wanted to end up.
The only constant in my career has been writing. Regardless of what kind of job I was working, I’ve relied on my writing and editing skills to set myself apart. Even during my in-between year, I always blogged or wrote privately to keep those skills sharp—I knew that no matter what I ended up doing, keeping my writing game intact would be essential. So who had the biggest influence on my writing?
That’s easy: Jeanne Provencher, my 11th grade AP English Composition teacher. Up until I arrived in her class, teachers had gone out of their way to inform me that I was a “gifted” writer. My essays were always read aloud in class, I always won the Young Author awards, I always got A’s (I am aware how fully obnoxious this sounds, but just wait). AP English Composition? “Hmph,” I thought, “that’ll be an easy A for my college applications!”
The first thing Mrs. Provencher taught me was that I knew nothing about good writing. Nothing. My grammar was pathetic, my sentence structure weak, my paragraphs nonsensical and my transitions nonexistent. Don’t even get me started on comma splices, passive voice and dangling modifiers. I got a C- on my first paper, and almost stayed after class to tell her she’d made a horrible mistake. I couldn’t believe I had failed at the one thing at which I’d always excelled.
Seeing that paper covered in red was a wake-up call that perhaps I still had quite a bit to learn about the written word. I ended up working harder for her than I would for any teacher before or since, snagging an A on the biggest research paper of the year and never forgetting that no matter how much I write, there’s always room for improvement.
We sing the virtues of better writing in public relations quite a bit on this blog, so it’s only appropriate that I single out my favorite writing teacher as the person with the greatest influence on my work thus far.
As for the meme, let’s keep it going! I tag Nathan Burke, Kait Swanson, and Christi Eubanks to join in—I want to hear what other young voices have to say.
November 20, 2007
Amazon launched the Kindle this week, a nifty little device that is heralded as “the iPod for books,” in that you can purchase entire books from Amazon.com and download them to the Kindle for reading on the go.
My initial reaction to all devices like this (the Sony Reader being the previous incarnation) is nothing short of pure horror. I may have a zest for technology, but I’m also a bibliophile.
Nothing could ever replace the experience of books for me–the way they look, the way they smell, the soft rustle of turning pages, hushed libraries, arty bookmarks, the fluttery feeling of excitement as you wind down towards the last page, the “ah” sigh of satisfaction as you close the book upon finishing…the reading experience is so much more important to me than the relative convenience of a portable device. And I don’t think I’m alone.
That being said, I’m more than willing to give the Kindle a fair initial analysis based on the product reviews I’ve read.
I’ll start with what’s bad:
1) The price. $399? I’d rather spend it on an iPhone. Or a new Coach bag big enough to carry my books in (oops, I said I’d be fair, didn’t I…)
2) Most of us, particularly tech nerds and bloggers, already spend a great portion of our days doing immeasurable damage to our peepers squinting at a computer screen. While Jeff Bezos claims in interviews that reading on a Kindle is highly comparable to reading on paper, with little “eye strain,” I can’t help but find this claim rather dubious. It’s not paper.
3) Half the fun of books is sharing them with others–with the Kindle, unless you hand over the device itself (and your account password, and who is going to trust anyone with either?), there is no sharing of books among friends.
Good Interesting (can’t bring myself to call anything good out of my loyalty to Dead Tree Books!):
1) I get the appeal of the portability, as someone who packed four books to take on a recent cruise (I drastically overestimated the amount of time I’d spend reading, and only got through one), books are heavy and take up space.
2) At $9.99 per book, Kindle books are cheap. Even cheap paperback beach reads can run you $12.99 at times, and with first-run hardcovers clocking in at $29.99 and up, $9.99 is a bargain (unless you factor in that you’ve paid $399 for the device itself..but there I go being all negative again).
3) Now this part I really do like: You can subscribe to newspapers, magazines and blogs for a monthly fee. As someone who (on top of those four books) also frequently boards planes with several cumbersome magazines (what? I like to read!), I can see where storing all the latest from the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek on a small, portable device would come in great handy. (Although since the screen is text only, you would be hard pressed to view any of the accompanying photos…darn, there I go again!)
Final call: I’d hold off on the Kindle for now. I’m just waiting for the price to go down by a couple hundred dollars right after the holidays, causing an uproar among the forty or so people who will actually buy this thing (oh drat, okay, I’ll stop now, I promise). While the device holds some promise, and I particularly am interested in having access to blogs and newspapers on the go, right now I am unmoved.
November 16, 2007
I’ve been a fan of the NBC show My Name Is Earl since it premiered—I find it funny and smart and I’m a big believer in karma. A scene in last night’s show had me in stitches over something that has driven me nuts for years—people who confuse “mute” and “moot” in the phrase “moot point.”
As a legislative aide back in Missouri, I heard some of the most creative butchering of the English language when I listened to legislators during floor debates. “Pass muster” was “passed mustard.” (No, I am not kidding. Yes, I realize that makes no sense at all.) One senator often used the word “flustrated,” which I believe was a mash-up of “flustered” and “frustrated” before mash-ups were part of the lexicon. Rampant use of the non-word “irregardless” is so common I hear it everywhere—people actually think this is a word. It is not. It is another incorrect mash-up of “irrespective” and “regardless.”
And, of course, there’s the moot point. In my opinion the reason that this phrase is so commonly mistreated is that “mute point” on some level makes sense—mute=silence, mute point=silent point. This is how the scene played out on Earl last night.
For word etymologists out there, “moot” is described thusly by the always useful Dictionary.com:
The adjective moot is originally a legal term going back to the mid-16th century. It derives from the noun moot, in its sense of a hypothetical case argued as an exercise by law students. Consequently, a moot question is one that is arguable or open to debate. But in the mid-19th century people also began to look at the hypothetical side of moot as its essential meaning, and they started to use the word to mean “of no significance or relevance.” Thus, a moot point, however debatable, is one that has no practical value. A number of critics have objected to this use, but 59 percent of the Usage Panel accepts it in the sentence The nominee himself chastised the White House for failing to do more to support him, but his concerns became moot when a number of Republicans announced that they, too, would oppose the nomination. When using moot one should be sure that the context makes clear which sense is meant.
(The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.)
Of course, anyone reading this blog already knows this. But now I feel better, and the story about how I once saw “death nails” instead of “death knell” in a news release can wait for another day.
October 31, 2007
Over the course of the past week or so, I’ve seen blog posts that have left me wondering what the heck has happened to the practice of public relations. A number of bloggers have called out PR people for writing bad press releases, or spamming them, and there’s always the constant mantra in the blogosphere of “why do we need PR people at all? They’re just flacks who lie, obfuscate, and spin.”
Steve Rubel on Monday said:
“Meanwhile, demand for PR specialists is expected to climb 18-26% during the same period. So what are all those bodies going to be doing exactly? I don’t believe that the industry is progressing fast enough when it comes to embracing the digital age so there feels like there is some big disconnect here.”
And Strumpette argues that:
“PR is (should be) the business of making the case to the public on behalf of a client. Exclusively! Period. And the disappearance of the skill of writing in our business is inextricably related to the loss of the ability to do just that. By default, this is absolutely why today the business endorses “the conversation.” It’s because the business has lost the ability to make a convincing, meaningful and memorable presentation. If you cannot do formal, endorse casual.”
One is arguing that the industry isn’t moving quickly enough to get up to speed with technology, while the other argues PR has embraced social media at the expense of what PR should be.
I think it’s a little of both.
When I read reports of PR/social media experts speaking at conferences who ask audiences of PR professionals if they know what RSS is and no one raises a hand, I cringe—this isn’t a passing fad, and as communicators, they should be at least familiar with RSS. (But at least they’re there, learning.)
When I read about poorly crafted news releases, sent en masse to bloggers, I cringe. That’s not a rookie mistake anymore; it’s willfully ignoring a changing landscape.
Bad writing is everywhere, it’s an epidemic in our society and it is tragic that many in a profession of communicators cannot write well or clearly. Cringe.
But when I read blog posts about how horrible it is that everyone in PR isn’t completely engaged and up to their eyeballs in all of the new social networks and so on, I cringe at that too.
Strumpette is correct; PR is about presenting a client to the public. The variety of clients and client objectives presents a wide array of how this should be accomplished.
It’s ridiculous to say every client should engage full-force in all that is social media. It’s equally ridiculous to tell every client to eschew any form of social media for some “higher art” PR. As every client is unique, so to should be the mix in their PR portfolio—and that mix should match their objectives. This means giving careful thought to which audiences of the public need to be reached on any given campaign.
The audience and the issue should also dictate the tone used. Both formal and casual exchanges have their places. Don’t wear a ball gown to build a Habitat for Humanity home, and don’t wear a ripped tee and flip flops to dinner at Le Cirque. Use the correct tone for the context.
The PR profession is changing, there’s no doubt about that. It can be a good thing too—the medium of blogs can force a change in transparency that is needed. PR practitioners can use blogs as an excuse to say no to the no-news news releases that clients sometimes want, by explaining that such nonsense is quickly called out by bloggers.
PR isn’t just about pushing a message out to the public; it also needs to understand the public response to that message. So, the “conversation” (established through social media) is important. But the “conversation” shouldn’t be the only objective either. Not everyone is participating in these new tools, and those of us who are in this space every day I think can get a little myopic about the significance of social media to the broader public.
We need balance. Real change can begin when all-or-nothing protestations stop.
In honor of tonight’s opening game, a picture of a transplanted fan:
Yes, that is a lobster chew toy and a Red Sox bandana–Ralph is a 100% New England dog!