I had to take the night to think about Seth Godin’s recent post on his company’s launching of Brands in Public.
Brands in Public takes popular brands, creates pages out of special features (polls and such) and aggregated information from tweets and news feeds. The idea is that brands can go there and see what people are saying about them. Then, if they decide they want to control the page (as Home Depot did), they pay $400 and they can manage certain editable sections.
Brands in Public will be great for consumers. When we go out to search for a product, first we’ll ask friends and relatives. Then we’ll extend our questions to our online snetwork. The next step after our primary networks is to do public searches over the Web, Twitter, or Google Alerts if we’re really intense. Brands in Public can turn into one-stop reputation checking on the Web.
Some contend that this amounts to brandjacking, but having grown up in SoCal, I know a jacking when I see it. No one is taking over a brand, Brands in Public is simply reporting over the brand. It’s taking information that is already out in the open and putting it together. If the brand doesn’t like it Brands in Public will take it down. A jacker doesn’t give you that option.
I see the aggregated brand information on the Brands in Public dashboards becoming good conversation starting points for brands and consumers. Social media is talking. Are brands ready to tune in?
[After getting roughed up the blogosphere, especially by Lisa Barone's post, mentioned above, Seth decided to adjust his strategy and take down the 200 sample brand pages. I think this is a good move on Seth's part since there was a lot of negative buzz that was built on how he rolled things out, NOT on the actual dashboard service. Going to market with a new Web site is just like baking a cake, you need all the steps AND you need them in the right order.
Ironically, since Seth does not allow comments on his blog, he had to hunt around the Web to gauge the magnitude of the negative reactions.]