One of the stories that I highlighted in today’s IT News Digest newsletter is about how companies can keep a pulse on consumers’ thoughts and opinions about various products by monitoring blogs and other online discussion forums: “Why companies monitor blogs.” 

BuzzMetrics and Intelliseek are two businesses that help companies track online discussions. “The premise behind services like these, as well as companies’ own internal Internet-monitoring programs, is that online discussions–be it in forums, on blogs or elsewhere–are a modern replacement for customer satisfaction surveys or focus group reports, which can take months to compile and analyze.”

According to the article, contracts with BuzzMetrics and Intelliseek can be pricey, but “there are a number of free and low-cost tools that companies can use to gain insight into how their brand is being talked about online. Among them are Technorati, Google Blog Search, Hubsub and Icerocket.”

In TechRepublic’s Discussion Center, I posted the following question: “Does your IT business track blogs and online discussion groups?” However, I think the better question is: “Can your IT business afford NOT to track blogs and online discussion groups?” I’m curious to know if anyone has worked with BuzzMetrics, Intelliseek, or the other free/low-cost tools mentioned above. Your input about this topic is indeed welcome.