Yesterday, David Mytton from the UK emailed me about his start-up: Attenalert. It’s a keyword monitoring tool that allows you to find references to specific words and phrases through various sources online. Like other reputation management tools, such as Trackur, it isn’t for free. That actually makes sense, since when you’re either too lazy or not technical enough to fix it yourself with some Google Alerts and Yahoo Pipes magic, you might as well pay somebody to do it. Yet what immediately comes to my mind when I read about start-ups like this, is what will happen to them as soon as Google starts offering the exact same services for free.
So I emailed Mytton this question. He replied: “Google entering this area is an interesting question. I don’t actually think they will provide something similar any time soon, particularly covering a wide range of sources. You could say that Google is the only source you really need, which is true to an extent, but it is always worth getting data from multiple providers as we do with Attenalert. If Google were to add the exact same service for free then it would obviously diminish the value of Attenalert, and other brand monitoring tools but you could say that about any area. Equally, just because Google does it, doesn’t mean that it would kill the competition. As a small company, for example, we can change and adapt faster than Google would likely be able to, and that’s a very important advantage.”
I think tools like Attenalert are mostly used by early adopters. As soon as Google notices it might be a good market, they’ll launch their – probably free – version. They know how to reach the mid-size companies, since a bunch of them is using Adsense. So when Google publicly starts monitoring brands, the masses jump in. Therefore, Attenalert and others should focus the marketing divisions of big corporations, and forget about the larger public. Marissa Mayer doesn’t have any mercy….