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Yet some are overkill for most businesses and many firms simply can't justify the costs.
For those that want to keep track of what (if anything) others are saying about them online but have a limited budget, here are some tools for brand monitoring on the cheap:
Google Blog Search
Google Blog Search is a lot like Google News but is focused on blogs. It also offers notifications so that you can be alerted to mentions in the blogosphere.
Technorati tracks millions of blog posts and in addition to Google Blog Search is a great way to monitor what's being said about your business in the blogosphere.
Monitor conversations on message boards with BoardReader. As an added bonus, it also tracks Twitter.
Google News tracks thousands of news sources and is a good way to monitor any press mentions. Set up some Google News alerts for your business and automatically receive notification when you're mentioned.
FriendFeed can be a good way to see what . Even though it's not a tracking service per se, it does enable you to see if people are sharing content (news stories, blog posts, etc.) that revolves around your business.
While online reputation monitoring services can be extremely valuable to certain types of businesses, for most businesses, freely-available tools like the ones here can give you the ability to monitor your online reputation easily and with little cost.