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Keeping track of your online reputation is getting to serious business. Just this week, Seth Godin's Squidoo launched a service that will let brands filter their online reputation (for a fee). Traackr has launched an online "Authority List" that tracks and identifies thought leaders in the online space. Now Microsoft is getting into the business with LookingGlass. 

But will Microsoft get any traction in the space?

LookingGlass monitors conversations on social media sites, including Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube, so that companies can track consumer sentiment about their products in real-time.

According to Clickz:

"Interweaving social media data with reporting from other campaign channels may turn out be Microsoft's most significant contribution to the already mature field of social media analytics."

A few companies will begin testing LookingGlass over the next weeks, with a wider rollout emminent. The product will connect social media feeds with elements like customer databases, CRM centers and sales data within an organization. Most importantly, it will keep a log of what's been said. Where, when and by whom.

According to Clickz, Microsoft has found already found real world impact from the service:

"While testing the system during the past nine months, Marty Taylor Collins, a group marketing manager for Microsoft, said the information acquired on at least two occasions saved her department from a serious misstep. First, the tool halted her team's plan to discontinue an ad campaign when it helped them discover that a lead character had quietly become popular. In another instance, a PR disaster was averted during the beta-test release of Windows 7, after a system crashed just after launch."

Getting better data from social media is important for businesses. While sharing in the space is a great thing for brands, tools like Twitter give them more opportunities to listen and learn. But until user generated data can be sifted and sorted, it will continue to be difficult for brands to make big changes. If Microsoft can get a foothold in this space but offering brands more services, it could be very profitable for them as well.

With that in mind, the company is limiting its services to companies that purchase its suite of Microsoft products. That could be a limitation down the road, but Microsoft built LookingGlass purposely to rely on many Microsoft teams -- including ad sales and enterprise sales -- to function. As Microsoft group product marketing manager Jamey Tisdale tells AdAge:

"It's the only way for us to win."

That's not exactly in keeping with the openness of the social web, but a bigger issue in the short term is whether there will be demand for the product. But Microsoft is capable of pouring millions into dominating the social tracking space. Which actually has some people excited. Like Andy Beal, whose company Trackur has a similar product:

"Let them spend the millions of dollars that are needed to convince businesses they need to monitor the web. Not all of those potential customers will feel comfortable with Microsoft, its platform, or its pricing, and so they’ll likely compare Trackur as an alternative. What is it they say about a rising tide? ;-)"

Meghan Keane

Published 24 September, 2009 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

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Comments (6)

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I saw this release a few days ago- but I'm curious how it's different from Google alerts?

about 7 years ago


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Ambarish Mitra

I'm glad Microsoft has entered the Social Media Tracking space which means it'll be simple to use, with good visualisations and at low price. I'm sure it wont have everything a business might need, but it'll do the most. I guess the difference with Google alerts would be business reports which is very useful for marketing departments to report on.

about 7 years ago

James Gurd

James Gurd, Owner at Digital JugglerSmall Business Multi-user

Interesting article Meghan.

It seems strange to launch a social media solution and then restrict its usage to only customers of your other products, very "me me" and feels a little bit against the inclusivity and openness that social media generally encourages, as you point out.

However, there is a marketing logic to that - if an agency is pitching for web business and the core platform is MS based, then having a bolt on social media monitoring tool that can be offered as a cost effective solution for measuring social media increases the competitive advantage. 

I will be interested to see how this product is adopted by agency world and how it is positioned against other monitoring tools, both free and paid for.

Social media monitoring is essential, the challenge is to know what to measure and then which tools to use, why and how.

Andy Beal's comments are quality - Trackur could do very well from the publicity generated. Do you think the entrance of a brand with the stature of MS will kick start business to take social media monitoring more seriously?



about 7 years ago


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about 7 years ago

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