Meet BackType: Fun New Reputation Management Tool
I’m not usually one to hype things immediately after launch, but I’ve been playing with BackType over the past 24 hours and I have to say I’m liking it in a big way. If you missed yesterday’s TechMeme crazy, BackType is a cool new blog comment aggregation service that grabs what commenters are saying from across the Interwebz and places them into one keyword-focused, Twitter-like stream. By putting them in one place it then makes them searchable so that bloggers, readers and savvy corporations can easily track conversations. It’s an online reputation management dream!
BackType describes itself as follows:
“BackType is a service that lets you find, follow and share comments from across the web. Whenever you write a comment with a link to your website, BackType attributes it to you. We give comment authors a profile featuring all the comments they’ve written on the Internet.”
Also neat is that BackType lets you follow other members to better track thought leaders and discussions, while also linking people’s identities to a particular blog URL so you get a better understanding of who they are online. It’s a great, great service.
If you’re about ready to comment and tell me how BackType is similar to coComments and that Disqus is an equally cool comment service, I hear you, but I don’t agree. I think BackType has the ability to form the community that coComments never quite did, and unlike Disqus, BackType doesn’t require that you do anything to use the service. You don’t have to register, there’s nothing to download, you don’t have to sign in, nothing. The first step to getting people to use something is to get the heck out of their way and let them use it. BackType does that.
Right out of the gate, BackType is powerful. Having one source for comment aggregation is incredibly useful in the age of online reputation management. In an instant you can find out what people are saying about you, your company’s executives, your brand, or just what conversations are going on around your keywords. One search and it’s all visible from one stream. You can even subscribe to an RSS feed to have the comments delivered to you that way.
For companies, this is a great way to find out where the conversations are and who’s participating in them. I’m particularly fond of being able to track thought leaders and have instant access to their feed to see what they’re saying across the Web.
And if brands start using the BackType platform…think about it. Imagine you’re Zappos — you’re active in the blogosphere and have learned to work social media to make you look like the most caring corporation on the planet. Now you have this record of comments tied to your brand name. A history that customers can call back on to see how much you care about them and how much interaction you’ve had. That’s powerful stuff. That’s the kind of behavior that makes customers want to do business with you.
Or on the flip side, say you’re a business and you find that there’s one customer who continually is trashing your brand throughout the Web and leaving negative comments every time your brand is mentioned. This gives you the power to really address this person head on. You can find out where their blog is and what blogs they read, and try to better that relationship. Or, maybe it tells you that this person bashes every company they’ve ever dealt with online and they’re not worth the hassle of dealing with.
And like I said, this is just what the tool can do out of the gate. In the future, it wouldn’t surprise me to see BackType take on a more Technorati approach – allowing you to tie someone’s actions on the Web down to one URL. It’s awesome and just a bit dangerous.
It’s funny that people are already getting themselves hot and bothered claiming that BackType is scraping content. Get over yourself and give me a break. Welcome to the new Web and the world of social media. Today’s Web users want to access information on their terms, the way they want to, to interact with it in whatever way best suits them. The days of you being able to dictate how people use your Web site are over. The quicker you get over that, the less gray hairs you’re going to find sprouting up in the morning.
Though just a Web baby, I’d say BackType looks to be a very promising new community due to its ability to quickly track conversations and tie them to individuals. If you want to turn your company from reactive to proactive, this would be a good place to start.