Local search and performance advertising company Marchex announced the launch of the beta version of Reputation Management, an online marketing product aimed at small and midsize businesses. The product is an extension of the company's Marchex Connect platform, which supports marketing campaigns for local advertisers.
Reputation Management monitors and reports on a specific business' online footprint, including its user reviews and news, blog and social media mentions. The company said the software was built using proprietary local search technology from Marchex's Open List local search network, which covers more than 8,000 sources. The program also helps ensure the accuracy of information in existing online business listings found on general search sites, local search sites and directories, such as consistent business name, address and phone numbers, as well as making recommendations as to where to add new listings for more coverage.
Other features include keyword identification, where top keywords and phrases are highlighted to identify the terms that differentiate the business and act as an alert to any customer service issues, competitive marketing analysis, which allows users to compare a business to other local businesses to analyze how its reputation and marketing efforts measure, and reviews and mentions, which provides information on positive and negative customer reviews.
Marchex said Reputation Management would be available to a limited number of local businesses during the beta period, which will conclude in Q1 2010. Once the beta period has concluded, Marchex will offer this product through select Marchex Connect reseller partners; pricing to SMBs will be a subscription-based model and will vary depending on how the product is bundled with other offerings. Reputation Management represents the first major extension of the Marchex Connect suite of SMB marketing products
According to a new BIA/Kelsey local advertising forecast, the E-mail, Reputation and Presence Management (ERPM) category is expected to grow from $460 million in 2008 to $3.1 billion in 2013. Additionally, the number of SMBs using ERPM will increase from approximately 500,000 to nearly 4 million during the forecast period. "SMBs are the heart of local, yet these businesses have yet to find a cost-effective solution that leverages technology to comprehensively manage their reputations," said Matt Booth, senior vice president and program director of interactive local media for BIA/Kelsey. "Marchex is well positioned in the ERPM market to help SMBs save valuable time and also improve their online marketing efforts."
Pete Christothoulou, COO of Marchex, said local search is a solved consumer problem but it's not yet a solved SMB problem, and by applying their local search technology in an innovative way, the company can deliver an aggregated, intelligent view to an SMB of how it is viewed by local consumers. "Our Reputation Management product is the most simple, comprehensive and effective way for SMBs to manage and take action on their reputation," he said. "We are providing them a huge information advantage while saving them valuable time from searching multiple Web sites to see what consumers are saying about them or checking every search engine or directory to ensure that their business listings are in every appropriate place."