Thursday, August 4, 2005

Take Two: Factiva Tries Again on Reputation Management

Well, unfortunately we were right about Factiva's first attempt at a reputation management system. It's ill-fated experiment with IBM's Web Fountain infrastructure fizzled when it just didn't deliver the horsepower and sophistication to support an enterprise-quality analysis tool. But in its newly announced form using new technology that will complement its other efforts to develop content that's relevant to sales and marketing professionals. This iteration uses scavenging and analysis tools from Intelliseek, creator of the popular BlogPulse weblog analysis service. Like the "original recipe" version Factiva's current stab at reputation management combines content from subscription sources and Web sources such as weblogs and message boards to help companies monitor what the "buzz" is on their brands and products, combined with financial analysis and sales lead information.

So will this pass at reputation management fare any better? I think that there are two things going for this renewed effort. First, Factiva is using technology for analysis that is well-proven in the open content marketplace rather than hatched in the bowels of a corporate "skunk works". Secondly Factiva has moved forward in its ability to support sales and marketing professionals with more advanced tools that meet their workflow needs, so this capability has a better sales pitch surrounding it overall. But at the end of the day it's a fairly thin advantage that will have a hard time improving the value of Factiva's core subscription content holdings, content that's usually several ticks behind on the buzz beat these days. This appears to add up to Factiva needing to decide whether it wants to be in the general aggregation business or in the sales and marketing intelligence business. In the meantime, hopefully this new stab at reputation management will begin to fuel a more powerful and profitable sales pitch to sales and marketing professionals.
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