“The explosive growth of Web 2.0 over the past year has led to a massive increase in consumer-generated content, which means there is a growing need for individuals and companies to monitor content written about them,” says Jordan, who caught the wave of a new trend and set up Reputica in June 2007. “To coincide with the launch, we put out one press release on SourceWire (which generates RSS feeds) with the words “social media” in the title. Lots of people had links to that because it’s such a buzzy subject – that was why the launch was an instant success.” The company is a subscription-based monitoring service that reads and interprets sources both online and offline, including TV, in order to help individuals, businesses and brands understand how they are being represented and perceived. “But the real USP of our service is that we can measure a company’s reputation,” says Jordan. The company has built a “Reputica Dashboard”, which objectively scores data relating to a reputation profile based on a set of variables such as geographical coverage and impact within its industry. “Through using the same comparative algorithm every time to every piece of data, we are creating a currency, in the same way as a stock price.” Jordan wants the Reputica Dashboard to become the de facto reputation index in the same way that Experian’s index is for credit ranking. “Just like there’s no point in having more than one stock price, there’s no point in having more than one reputation index.” “Having a currency that is measured by somebody who isn’t owned by WPP or Omnicom is very powerful for the PR industry because they can prove that what they’re doing works. And that’s always been a challenge for PR – they might know how much coverage they’re getting across different publications, but who read it? And what did they think when they read it?” Jordan says that the majority of Reputica’s future R&D budget is going to be thrown into refining the index to make it credible and applicable across any industry. “My goal is to refine the index to the extent that the PR world says, ‘You know what, when it says it goes up by three points, it does go up by three points.’” Reputica charges about £1,000 per month for using the dashboard service for one reputation analysis, but it can go into multiples of that for a company with a big brand portfolio. “It might sound a lot, but companies are really waking up to the value of data. That will only increase.” Jordan says the only challenge that Reputica faces right now is meeting the demands of the market. “If someone wrote a cheque out to us today for £1m, we could spend it all tomorrow. “We are growing as fast as we can – we’ve just set up another office in Australia, and it’s 95 per cent certain we’ll be opening another office in New York in the next couple of months.” Not bad for a six-month old company that has only invested £375,000 to date. And with “social media” and “citizen journalism” on the rise, Jordan is confident that demand for the service will not be drying up anytime soon. “People have griped about things in the pub for years gone by. It’s just that now the audience that gets access to those gripes has gone from being half a dozen people in the pub to half a million people on a website.” Related article: Protecting Your Online Reputation
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