Mirror, Mirror On the Wall ...

Forget who's got the fairest product of them all. The real issue is, who's got the most buzz?

Journalists may hate this product, but a San Mateo, Calif.-based startup claims to have found a way to measure buzz—that intangible force that can make or break a product, company or even an entire country.

Biz360 offers software that tracks the number of times a company or product is mentioned in the press. The software tracks mentions by title, author, publication and tone. Biz360 operates on the theory that a negative article is worse than no article at all. Customers then can figure out on whom to apply pressure to improve their coverage—or in dire times—who to smack in their own company.

The data will reveal which people and which companies influence a journalist by showing what else that journalist writes about, giving companies clues on how to polish their approach.

Most vendors already collect clippings of articles written about them, scrutinizing the bad ones and occasionally using the good ones in promotional materials or hanging them on office walls.

Still, theres no substitute for independent thought, no matter what the statistics say.