Marchex has used its OpenList search platform to develop an SMB reputation monitoring tool that is truly impressive and valuable. It comes at the right time for the market as more and more SMBs understand that they have to protect and promote their reputations online, as a form of word of mouth. I’ve discussed it in some detail at SEL.
It brings listings and reviews from many places online together in a single dashboard.
Marchex is allowing SMBs in during the beta period to sign up but after that won’t be making it directly available to SMBs. Rather it will be available through Marchex’s partners, who in turn with and sell to SMBs (e.g., yellow pages). My view is that this is extremely valuable and one of the first non-advertising offerings that SMBs would willingly subscribe to. I also believe that as one of many offerings being sold to SMBs by yellow pages publishers its true value won’t be highlighted. Here’s a description the content the tool collects from the press release:
Marchex Reputation Management blends Marchex’s heritage in local search with its proven ability to partner and deliver local advertising solutions. Specific features include:
- Reviews: Charts break out the percentage of positive, neutral or negative reviews in an easy-to-read display.
- Mentions: Charts demonstrate activity by reviews or mentions to tie the information back to particular changes in the business or marketing efforts by month.
- Business listings: Ensure business listings are accurate and visible on top online consumer destinations.
- Keyword identification: Top keywords and phrases are highlighted to identify the terms that differentiate the business and act as an alert to any customer service issues.
- Competitive marketing analysis: Compare a business to other local businesses to analyze how its reputation and marketing efforts stack up.
- Ability to engage: Share positive news and reviews with customers and employees through email, Twitter, Facebook, Digg or other sources.
This last bit is also important; it makes the whole thing “actionable,” because businesses can promote positive reviews through Twitter, Facebook, etc. And there are other dimensions of this that support marketing. To my knowledge there isn’t anything else like this on the market for small businesses. That’s why I use the word “breakthrough.”
Here’s a general promotional overview produced by Marchex: