Marketing Pilgrim's Reputation Channel

Marketing Pilgrim's Reputation Channel is sponsored by Trackur.

Social Media Monitoring Tools: 26 Free Online Reputation Tools

There are a lot of companies that will happily relieve you of your dollars, in exchange for buzz monitoring services. While many large companies will enjoy the peace of mind that comes from having a company track their reputation for them, the rest of us need something a little less expensive–or better yet, free!

We’ve compiled a list of twenty six buzz monitoring tools that are free of charge. Use these tools to keep track of your company reputation or even spy on your competition! Take a look at Trackur.com if you need all-in-one social media monitoring tools.

1. Your Industry
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If you simply don’t have time to track everything that specifically relates to your company–or your competition–you can still track news that relates to your industry. Moreover and Yahoo are just a couple of resources that offer RSS feeds for aggregated industry news.

Quoted in Business Week – “Good Enough” IS Good Enough?

This week’s edition of Business Week turns the Skype outage into an article on whether we’re content with “good enough” technology.

As I was open with the issues I faced thanks to Skype going down for 30+ hours, I ended up chatting with Stephen Baker about the challenges faced by not having access to the service.

Andy Beal was one of 220 million subscribers to Skype, the cut-rate Internet telephony service owned by eBay (EBAY ), who saw the service go dark on Aug. 16. A software glitch kept it down for the next two days. Founder of the Raleigh (N.C.) Internet marketing consultancy Marketing Pilgrim, Beal learned that Skype was out an hour before clients were to call him from Holland. He had to message them in a hurry, telling them to call his tenuous backup: the cell phone. “It was embarrassing,” he says. But at least the cell phone worked–which isn’t always the case.

Skype Finally Offers Compensation for Outage

You have to give Skype credit for eventually doing the right thing and compensating its premium customers for the recent outage.

I moaned on Monday that Skype had dropped the ball by failing to offer any kind of compensation for the 30+ hours outage. While the majority of Skype users get the service for free, some, like me, actually hand over cash for premium services. I whined…

How about some token of apology? Maybe some free credits? I ended up having to take client calls via my cell phone – any idea how expensive that is?

Today, I received the following email…

Hello

Podcast – Managing Your Online Reputation

I recently chatted with Anna Farmery about the importance of online reputation monitoring and management. Anna has an excellent podcast series and you can catch my thoughts on the topic by listening to episode 104 of The Engaging Brand.

Here’s Anna’s summary…

Andy talks us through what is a leadership brand, how you can manage it on-line, the importance of article writing and also how to create a successful blogging platform. Managing your career is so much more nowadays than keeping your resume up to date and Andy explains how to ensure that your talent gets noticed on the internet.

Thanks Anna!

eBay Drops the Ball with Skype Crisis Communication

Om Malik rightly asks where was eBay’s management during the recent Skype outage? For a company that supposedly understands the value of web communities, it failed to ease the concerns of Skype users who went 30+ hours without service.

Ebay CEO Meg Whitman, Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom, and other Skype management made no statement, gave no assurances to their community, leaving their PR agency and the blog to keep people informed. Of course, this led to even more speculation, rumors and innuendoes.

Sure their words wouldn?t have brought the service online faster, but it would have made it clear to Skypers that eBay?s management cared. Skype President Henry Gomez has background in corporate communications, so he should know a thing or two about crisis management communications.

Company Blogs Bring Radical Transparency

Business Edge has a great article on how company blogs–especially CEO blogs–can be used to communicate with stakeholders.

The article is packed with valuable insight and pretty much summarizes the benefits–and potential pitfalls–of a corporate blog.

Dell has particularly impressed me with their radically transparent approach to corporate communications. When Dell laptops started bursting into flames, it was Dell’s chief blogger, Lionel Menchaca, that published the video online.

“Our legal people and others were e-mailing and calling and asking me: ‘What are you doing? This is bad. You can’t do that,’ ” Menchaca says of his post on the Direct2Dell blog last August. “But I said: ‘This is what blogs are about. Everything has changed. We have to be transparent and honest. People are talking about this, they’re posting these images, we can’t ignore it. We have to deal with it directly.’ ” With the backing of founder Michael Dell, Menchaca weathered the internal storm and, as it turned out, won accolades not just from Dell customers, but from the business community over how the company managed to stickhandle around a disastrous public relations event.

Rudy Giuliani’s Daughter Supporting Barack Obama?

Whether it was a practical joke by his daughter, or an act of rebellion, Rudy Giuliani’s facing an embarrassing situation. According to Slate, Caroline Giuliani’s Facebook profile indicated she supported Barack Obama for president and not her own father.

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On her profile, she designates her political views as “liberal” and?until this morning?proclaimed her membership in the Facebook group “Barack Obama (One Million Strong for Barack).” According to her profile, she withdrew from the Obama group at 6 a.m. Monday, after Slate sent her an inquiry about it.

While the chatter should fade away over the coming months, it will be interesting to see if this story ends up on the first page of Google. A year from now, Giuliani could lose a few votes if searchers dig up that story.