Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Trending the news with Trendio

Web 2.0 sites that users enjoy for entertainment can sometimes be useful tools for the savvy business person, too. One example that comes to mind is Trendio.com, a site that claims to be the first current events stock exchange. It is an online "play money" stock exchange where words from the news are the equities. The values of the words are calculated according to their presence in thousands of media sources, from newspapers to blogs.

One way that Trendio could be used by marketing and public relations professionals would be to counsel senior management -- in a quantitative way -- about how quickly certain "crisis moments" are fading from the public sphere.

Take for example the following three corporate case studies:

Remember when Hewlett-Packard was involved in various hearings regarding the "Board spying" accusations?

These seem to have peaked back in mid-November, if you believe the Trendio chart. This might be a case where a PR or communications manager at H-P would be, at least for the time being, relieved that H-P's exposure was on the decline.

The following chart is interesting in that Wal-Mart seems to have had a big climb in news mentions between November 23rd and December 2nd. What transpired during that time? Nothing but the launch of the "official" Christmas shopping season, complete with a sober warning from the retail giant, predicting its December same-store sales gain would be no better than 1 percent.

As a final example, do you recall
when Merck won a significantly important case regarding Vioxx? With this chart, do I even need to tell you that the jury put in its decision on November 15th? It seems the lesson in today's media world is that bad news (or the possibility of bad news) is what drives impressions.

Even if you don't end up using Trendio for business reasons, it's still pretty fun to play. I know I'm holding some really attractive, ground-floor shares in "Christmas", "Boxing Day", and "New Year's Day". Get 'em while they're still cheap!

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