Companies that Track Discussions in Forums and Communities

Marketers and individuals know how important it is to track conversations in websites, especially where peers connect to each other (sometimes, where the highest trust occurs). A handful of new tools are starting to emerge that give specific tool based search, which I’ve started to list out below.

This list is specifically for tools that track discussion boards, forums, and communities, for a broader reach, see this list of companies that measures brands on the social web.

How to use these tools? Plugin your company name, product name, executives names, for your own company and your competitors, to see who is saying what about your brand.

Companies that Track Discussions in Forums and Communities:

Boardtracker
“BoardTracker.com, a Pidgin Technologies property, is an innovative forum search engine, message tracking and instant alerts system designed to provide relevant information quickly and efficiently while ensuring you never miss an important forum thread no matter where or when it is posted. Boardtracker brings the most targeted audience closer to the boards, by being a search engine only for boards and by supplying a categorized and highly effective searching and browsing experience to users.”

Linqia
“Linqia creates an independent search for online communities and groups with user ratings and comments. From the biggest and most famous online community to the smallest most hidden group, Linqia surfaces existing online communities and groups which can either be uploaded by our users or just commented and rated according to YOUR opinion and experience.”

Twing
Our goal is for Twing to work perfectly every time, and that you’re quickly and easily able to find exactly the information you’re after. But should you need help, we’re here for you. After all, online communities are about people helping each other, so as a community search engine, we take the same approach.

If you know of any others, please leave a comment, and I’ll add it to this list.

  • http://www.radian6.com

    “Millions of blog posts. Viral videos. Reviews in forums. Sharing of photos. Status updates via microblogging. All conversations, all happening online right now and affecting brands, reputations, sales, you name it.

    It is disruptive. It is distributed. It is in the hands of users and communities. And if you are a PR or advertising professional it’s your responsibility to manage it. But how?”

  • spent a couple hours with radian6 folks at sncr newcomm last couple days and was very impressed. will need the human touch to get meaning out of all the topics they can surface, but UI was great and in the hands of a social media analyst definitely an “aha” moment kind of tool.

  • Jeremiah, I pinged you on twitter (add timbauer) but I don’t think you are following me … so I’ll put it here:

    take a look at CSC http://www.cscprotectsbrands.com …. They have been a brand manager player for some time. Used to be called NameProtect. They are based out of the #1 Place to live in the U.S., according to Fortune Magazine anyway, Middleton, WI. Not that I am biased resident or anything. [wink]

  • Hi Jeremiah,
    Can you expand this a bit? I think what I put in quotes incorporates the lists that Linquia provides.

    This list is specifically for tools that track (and assist with discovery of) discussion boards, forums, and communities.

  • Maybe I’m missing something, but when I visit Boardtracker and use standard queries like “dell”, “travel”, or “hilton” – nothing appears.

    That being said, this is a timely post. Does “Tweetscan” count?

  • http://visibletechnologies.com/

    Many Fortune 500 companies are using this great piece of software…it’s VERY robust. I haven’t had a chance to work with it yet, but M80 has a lot of experience deploying it for clients.

    Ethan Bauley
    M80

  • It’s not mentioned on your other post, so Summize.com is another tracker of sentiment. Neither are (is?) Yahoo Pipes (pipes.yahoo.com). Can the forum/board trackers get into private communities where a login is required?

  • Grame, I’m not sure.

    Folks, do keep in mind I have a separate list of buzz and brand monitoring software, see link in post.

    Connie, yes, the scope of this list gets squishy, as each of these companies approach the problem differently. Ideally, these are free tools that track discussions in forums and online communities.

  • I’ve had my blog given the evil eye by companies “protecting” their brand. All I can say is that however justified such vigilance may be, it feels like a corporate version of “1984”, and my opinion of those companies who have scanned my site (and yes, I know who they are) is adversely affected as a consequence.

    As far as I’m concerned, smart, engaged companies shouldn’t need to employ tracking systems because they’re *already* involved in those conversation which are worth their attention.

  • Thx for starting the list. There will be many more of these tools. The most important thing for businesses is AWARENESS of how they are being talked about in good, bad, and ugly terms. Without that awareness, businesses cannot make an INFORMED decision to respond in a way that will actually be EFFECTIVE.

  • Another that tracks forums specifically is relevant mind – I just had a conversation with their CEO, and they understand the technical difference in tracking forums versus blogs versus websites.

    http://relevantmind.com/

    I’m looking to combine my expertise with theirs if someone wants to take a look.

    That is something to keep in mind. No one has the ability to accurately track all three. You have to use a different technology for each kind of site.

  • It is great to see this focus on user communities! It is exactly the peer community interaction that we find provides the best depth for companies.

    The high volume of conversation allows a company to dive a lot deeper than brand level, looking at specific products and product features. And the communities generally organize along lines that align well with the ways marketing campaigns are targeted – say a specific interest area (cooking, bicycling, audio, etc.) or a particular demographic (Moms, teens, etc.).

    RelevantMind isn’t consumer facing though. Monitoring and analysis are delivered are delivered in a client dashboard that tracks and quantifies frequency, sentiment, features, competitors, influencers, reach, etc. Meaning while the insights are invaluable we don’t pass the “free” test, though the pricing is accessible to mid-market companies not just the big brands.

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  • Marc Vermut

    There is also Umbria (http://www.umbrialistens.com). I’ve seen some of their presentations on monitoring the social media space. They also appear to give more higher level market research feedback, in segmenting user populations and tracking activity and market composition. Per them “Umbria is a marketing intelligence company that analyzes social media—including blogs, message boards, Usenet, and product review sites. Umbria delivers not just data, but insights into brands, markets, consumers and trends.”

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  • http://www.tangler.com is the first, serious attempt at a networked forum where the user can track their discussions across multiple forums. Mig33 is onboard, some movies have tried it, as well as TechCrunch.

    It needs a few more features until it really rocks, but it’s getting there.

    It also includes an embedding product which I think is a first too.

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  • Here is a site that is fairly new and has gotten some coverage at Mashable.com regarding finding trends in social media across the Web:

    http://www.trendrr.com

    The review that was given at Mashable by Paul Glazowski compared it to other meme watchers like Technorati or techmeme, and said that people who are “a bit more analytical and multi-faceted” will enjoy this trend tool. He also looked at political candidates while creating his own trend @ http://mashable.com/2008/10/14/trendrr/. I thought you might find this interesting!

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