Marc Trachtenberg, a Chicago attorney whose practice focuses on Internet, social media, marketing, copyright, and privacy issues, has launched Brand Vigil, which enables companies to monitor social media for use of their brands anywhere in page, account, and blog names. The tool enables organizations to identify and track their users through its interface.
According to Trachtenberg, a "significant portion" of his practice involves advising clients about social media. "I searched for a social media monitoring service that I could use for my clients that would identify uses of brands anywhere in the username, account name, and profile, and to my surprise, there was nothing else out there that did it even though there was an incredible need for it," he remembers. "So, being the entrepreneurial person that I am and a former software consultant, I decided to create it myself."
Trachtenberg said among the "clutter" there "tends to be two types of products" that do social media monitoring. "The first type is like Radian6, which monitors for all instances of a brand and certain preselected keywords anywhere in any post or tweet to measure consumer engagement with a brand," he says. "This might identify some negative comments about the brand, but is not going to identify the biggest threats to the brands and potential sources of legal liability for the brand owner."
The second type, Trachtenberg continues, is similar to Know’em, a platform that searches hundreds of social networks for "only the exact match of the brand." "Most of these social networks are completely irrelevant to the brand and don't have many users," he argues. "In my experience, most of the problematic social media pages and accounts don't in fact consist of the exact brand, but rather the brand in combination with other words."
Brand Vigil offers a combination, says Trachtenberg. "It searches only the most important social networks," he maintains. "Additionally, it identifies not only exact matches for the brand, but also page accounts and blogs that have the brand anywhere in the page account or blog name."
While the tool was primarily designed to help companies protect their brands, Trachtenberg points out that another benefit is the ability to recognize the "biggest brand champions and the biggest brand critics and convert them to champions."
The Web-based tool currently monitors Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Trachtenberg says he plans to expand to other sites as they become "more popular and important." "Who knows who the next Facebook or LinkedIn will be?" he says.
After two years of developing, testing, and fine-tuning, Brand Vigil is now available for $399 per year per brand.