The Rise of SMB Reputation Management

When I was at the CA governor”s conference on entrepreneurship a couple of weeks ago I was struck by how many small business owners in the session I attended raised their hands when asked about how many used Google Alerts to track what was said about their businesses.

Given the rising awareness among SMBs of review sites and social media it would appear there will be growing demand for presence/reputation management offerings. Indeed, there now appear to be a range of reputation management tools in the market or entering the market.

Marchex had the first formal tool, following MerchantCircle’s early rudimentary one. Then came Palore/AmIVisible’s “presence management” site and GetListed and Chatmeter, which offers SEO and reputation tools.

ClickFuel also has a tool as part of its suite that does some version of reputation management. Yodle also has an offering and so does ReachLocal (through the SMBLive acquisition).

Now I’ve become aware of reputation management offerings from VendAsta and Yellowbot. It makes sense that more companies would offer these tools because of the rise of social media and reviews.

The question is do these tools enable business owners to do anything other than see what’s being said about them and/or where they appear online? One of the nice things about Marchex’s platform is that it enables business owners to retweet or post selected reviews to their followers.

Are there other reputation management or presence management tools out there that I haven’t mentioned?

Update: Add SIM Partners to the list. And Marchex’s reputation management product is a finalist for “‘New Product or Service of the Year’ category of the 2010 American Business Awards…”

12 Responses to “The Rise of SMB Reputation Management”

  1. Marc Isler Says:

    Yes, buzzient.com, bluereport.net and socialinspector.com🙂

  2. Will Scott Says:

    There’s also http://www.trackur.com/ from Andy Beal of Marketing pilgrim on the social media monitoring / rep mgmt side.

    And, there are a number of others which run the gamut from SocialMention which is focused on Social to Radian6 to ScoutLabs and other industrial strength brand / reputation management tools.

    There may be a need for a simple monitoring and alert service (a la Google alerts for dummies / SocMe) but I still see reputation management as more of a concern for high-end professionals and those with reputation problems.

    For the typical SMB it’s hard to justify shelling out 50 bucks a month for brand monitoring if no one’s talking about you.

    Will

    • Nico Brooks Says:

      Thanks for this Greg – couldn’t have come at a better time!
      Will: I agree that $50/month is a lot for many SMB’s, but I don’t agree that reputation monitoring is mostly for businesses with reputation problems. I find that there is at least as much value in engaging with fans as there is in responding to critics.

      • Dogma Says:

        Question is ……should it be monthly recurring at all right now. For a typical service based business, (other than restaurants) does their reputation actually fluctuate enough within a 30 day period to warrant a monthly recurring charge? I mean, how many new rating/reviews could a local window replacement shop get in 30 days? 1. 2 maybe? And of those, how many would be actionable? Maybe an on-demand model would be more appropriate for those SMB’s that are actually engaged. Maybe an on-demand model that is supported by free notices if a certain threshold of negative r&r’s happen.

        More of a question than a statement………..

  3. Greg Sterling Says:

    Right. I’m talking not about the Radient6’s or those that target the enterprise but really specifically about the SMB segment.

  4. Scott Wolfgang Says:

    I think the SMB dashboard will be quite a large business at some point. I’ve used a lot of the current dashboards out there and they all seem to be lacking in one way or another in my opinion. It seems like everyone is trying to solve all of these complex problems when in reality no one has solved the most simple of problems. If a dashboard simply pulled in all of the Google alerts and stats from the various directories once you upgrade to a verified listing, I think that would be hugely valuable. The fact that there is not one unified dashboard to pull in all the stats about my wifes medical practice from Yelp, Google, CitySearch, Facebook, etc. etc. etc. is crazy to me. If I had that transparency in one dashboard, I could then start turning the dials (i.e. advertising) to see which ones performed best and the black box around local would be lifted somewhat.

  5. Ed Says:

    Greg, I’ve been involved in developing a few of these. One of the most potent one’s I’ve seen is through SMBLive. Their CloudProfile products, with Reputation Awareness and Reputation Management Tools are intuitive and engaging ………even for busy SMB’s. ReachLocal acquired them recently. They have really rounded out a powerful suite of products.

  6. Greg Sterling Says:

    Ed:

    Your points are very well taken about review frequency. Re pricing I would probably not do a per use charge but rather a low semi-annual or annual fee.

    Certain categories are going to have very limited numbers of reviews. But the various sources of user-generated content are growing by the same token: Foursquare “tips” and “Likes” qualify as “reviews” in the bigger picture.

  7. Katie Morse Says:

    Hey there.

    SMB’s may also want to try setting up RSS feeds for the various sites they want to monitor (Yelp!, etc) and sending those feeds to Google Reader (or another RSS reader of their choice). It saves on manual labor plus allows them to target the sites they want to keep a close eye on.

    Thanks all for the Radian6 mentions!

    Katie Morse
    Community Manager | Radian6
    @misskatiemo

  8. Top 10 for the Weekend Says:

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