Umbria Connect: Blog Monitoring or List Sales?

by Marianne Richmond on December 19, 2006

Tish Grier just emailed me about Umbria Connect which is a new product offering from Umbria, a research company that specializes in "mining the blogosphere for market intelligence." The press release for Umbria Connect says the following:

"Umbria Connect(TM), a service that provides URL source lists to companies eager to connect with individual bloggers who are passionately blogging on topics of high interest, and engage with them in a more personal dialogue."

Umbria is selling the URLs of the individual bloggers in blocks of 25 on a subscription basis. Suggested uses for those buying the URLs are: ÂÂ
 " Seed a community of passionate supporters for:
      * Product/feature attitudes and usage trends
      * Word-of-mouth campaigns
      * Test marketing and advertising concepts and positioning
      * Test receptivity and feedback to product ideas, new applications,
        and/or product line extensions
   — Build custom marketing panels that provide objective feedback
   — Gather information on competitive perceptions and insight"

Well, is "seeding" the same as mining? Or more troubling, does "buying" a url from someone who doesn’t own that url give permission to the purchaser to contact the owner of the url? It sounds like selling lists to me.

Tish writes, "Okay…it’s bad enough that our mailing addys are sent to whomever will pay for them. And it’s so bad for our telephone numbers that we had to start a National Do Not Call list. But *selling* our URLs??

Shel Holtz writes that he is expecting pitches for "Viagra, poker parlors and mortgages any day now"; as if we don’t get enough of those in our email!

I wonder if they will offer bloggers an opt-out option? I will put that on my Christmas list.

The bottom line: Its not that I have an issue with aggregating blogger urls within a specific category or segment; its the concern that having the data will be mistaken for with  having the connection with bloggers. The former is similar to having a list from a list broker; the latter is a blogger relations program that is developed based upon marketing strategies and objectives.

Suggested Reading: From Blogger Relations to Blogger Relations Programs on Diva Marketing or Blogger Relations: Rules of the Road on the WOMMA Summit Blog.

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