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This is interesting. Take the field of online reputation management, the practice of managing a person’s or company’s brand across the web and social networks, then add a bit of crowd source sauce using ranking techniques better known in chess grandmaster circles… and what do you get?
Well, you should get improved accuracy in measuring what people are saying (and thinking) about you or your company online — and you get to pay a whole lot of people to help you do it.
This is what the latest iteration of BrandsEye claims to do. BrandsEye is one of many online reputation management tools out there, but is only one of about 10 that has caught the world’s attention. Operating in more than 100 countries, it’s a creation of a Cape Town-based digital agency called Quirk.
In the digital era, where everyone is tweeting, publishing and sharing — keeping an eye on what people are saying about your brand is important, especially if its negative.
The innovative BrandsEye service combines the benefits of three elements: the all-knowing wisdom of the crowd, managed through the minute attention to detail of computers, and focused by the strategic judgement of trained professionals.
It’s a solution that comes in two parts: An algorithm based on the Elo rating system first developed to rank chess masters, and a purpose-built artificial intelligence system that distributes the online mentions to be analysed by the crowd while, at the same time, reconciling differences in opinion.
People who want to earn a little extra cash sign up to BrandsEye Crowd, which allocates them real-time mentions. The rater gauges if each mention is relevant and judges the sentiment, the location of the person that made the mention and the media type. Local context and local language subtleties are critical — along with the intuitive sense humans have for what other humans are trying to say. Computers are not great at picking up irony, sarcasm, humour… or rage. People are. Based on their peer-reviewed accuracy, the BrandsEye Crowd are paid for their effort.
“The global online reputation management industry has always been plagued with poor data quality. Through the creation of BrandsEye Crowd, we have solved this problem, allowing for the data and insights we gather for clients to be trusted as a far more central component of strategic decision making — throughout businesses,” says Tim Shier, MD of BrandsEye.
Shier reckons his system is a “radical innovation in the online reputation management space”.
“We know of crowdsourced rating in academia, especially economics, but not for commercial brands. We’re very proud of the system, which is already showing incredible accuracy, and we believe can get to between 95-100% perfect with a bit more refinement. In this space accuracy is all-important — accurate data quality gives you quality insights, which helps you make better business decisions.”
It’s a nice piece of innovation that brings the crowd onboard to help monitor what is being said about brands. One has to ask though: When the internet reaches a Yottobyte, will the crowd be able to manage?
I guess that’s a problem that only needs to be solved in 10 years time.