Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blekko Makes Influencing the Influencers Easy

Custom influencer searches for PR and marketing professionals who lead brand-reputation programs

Blekko is a new search engine that includes some time saving features for PR and marketing professionals who want to track a narrow set of online publications or domains. By allowing you to select only the domains or pages that you want searched, it helps you stay focused on the people who really influence your business and reduces the spam in your coverage scans.

Blekko uses what it calls Slashtags that allow you to "slash in" or "slash out" what you want in a search. This easy-to-use process allows you to create a complicated search, publish it for others to use and then repeat it quickly. For example, a Blekko user named Max created a list of advertising publications. If you wanted to do a search to see if your company was mentioned in AdAge, Adweek or MediaPost, you would search in Blekko like this:

Company Name /max/advertising

That string searches for "Company Name" using Max's predefined list of advertising domains. A snip of those publications can be seen below.

Instead of getting back a bunch of spam blogs like I do with a Google search, Blekko only gives me back results from the 21 publications that matter in the advertising and media industry. If you add a /date Slashtag, it will sort those results by date instead of relevancy. Another great tool when you are monitoring the web daily for news on you or your competitors.

Additionally, Blekko allows you to publish these searches in RSS so you can share them with your teammates or with your client. Pop them into Google Reader and you have a searchable archive of your news that is easy to read, process and report.

The current downside I'm finding with Blekko is that some of the less-popular domains are only searched every 14 days. Hopefully Blekko will address that issue as they come out of beta and put together the computing power to crawl the Internet faster.

Blekko has been in a super stealth mode for more than a year. They seem to be on solid financial ground with $20 million in financing. I'm not going to call them a Google killer because that would surely doom them. They are building some steam and they gave Robert Scoble a peek at their product in this long, but informative 45 minute YouTube video.

Blekko is really a lot more than the simple features that I've outlined. For example, the SEO rankings are radically different because they are completely open. I'll leave it to others to give you the feature-by-feature review. If you're a PR or marketing person managing the reputation of a brand, you really must give Blekko a try.

You may find that my Blekko links in this post don't work for you. You may need to get an invite to Blekko before you can access them. On Twitter, Follow @blekko and then ask for an invite and they'll direct message you in a day or so. Or you can email your request to scoble+at+ (I lifted this address from the end of the Robert Scoble video).


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