Just as social media has been growing and will continue to grow at an incredible rate for the foreseeable future, social media monitoring services – those that measure such online buzz and conversations on blogs, forums, news and social networking sites – are increasingly coming into demand. Companies like Syndacast, Media Monitors and Dow Jones have developed solutions to service this need, and even Singapore startups such as Brandtology and ThoughtBuzz (interviewed here), have sprung up.
Monitoring the Social Media
“JamiQ is a professional social media monitoring and measurement solution provides the largest coverage of the social media in any language,” explains Benjamin Koe, Employee No. 3 at JamiQ (they don’t use titles in the startup, employees are simply known by the order in which they join the company).
“(We use) advanced data mining methods and natural language processing technology to produce real-time buzz trending, sentiment detection, influence scoring, and market segmentation, giving our customers the critical insights they need for immediate and strategic decision-making.”
“Listening to what’s being talked about can help companies manage their reputation, public perception, and even strengthen their communication and engagement strategies,” says Benjamin. “Social media monitoring can also be seen as a natural extension of traditional media monitoring often performed by PR agencies or corporate communication teams.”
“While traditional media monitoring can be performed easily by humans clipping a few newspaper articles, monitoring thousands of website for millions of posts requires intelligent machines to get the job done.”
The demand for social media monitoring is huge. Brands are increasingly interested – worried, really – about their online reputations. It’s also commonly agreed that monitoring the social media and analyzing the data is a crucial first step in any social media strategy.
JamiQ was founded by Kelvin Quee (aged 25), Lee JiaYi (27) and Benjamin (29), all who come from disparate disciplines but who share similar passion for social media, understanding of the industry and technical know-how to put this together.
Benjamin admits that their product is not the first social media monitoring product on the market. But he is quick to point out that their service covers social media in any language, something that many US-based solutions cannot provide and is critical for non-English, and multi-lingual markets. “We set out from the get-go to provide a service that provides the widest coverage and to do so in every language. Today, we are proud to say that we have done that.”
Benjamin says they like to pronounce JamiQ as Jamie-Que, and the name doesn’t really mean anything. “It was just an available, pronounceable .com domain name that had a nice ring to it. We like how it also has a feminine feel about it, adds balance to the all-male company,” he laughs.
As JamiQ is pretty much a software-as-a-service (SaaS) product, Benjamin says they are most strongly geared to be a support tool for marketing agencies and brand owners. “We have found that the demand for our product stretches far beyond our expected customers to include many in government and research organizations who want to use our solution beyond the scope of marketing. We currently have customers in government, advertising, public relations, market research, and a couple of brand owners too.”
Crowded Market, Interesting Possibilities?
Competition is likely to be very tough, with close to 200 social media monitoring providers worldwide. JamiQ competes directly with all of them, especially when it comes to the English language market.
But Benjamin is quietly confident. “The advantage of JamiQ lies in its massive reach and coverage of all languages and markets. So it does not matter if you’re in English-speaking California or French-speaking New Caledonia, JamiQ can meet your localized monitoring needs.”
“Also, JamiQ has developed advanced algorithms that can determine the location of a blog or site even if its not hosted locally. For example, if Peter from Australia wrote a blog on peter.blogspot.com, most systems will look at the IP address and determine that this blog is in the US. But because Peter constantly writes a lot about Sydney on his blog, JamiQ is intelligent enough to know that Sydney is in New South Wales, which is a state in Australia. JamiQ also has other advanced technology including influence scoring, and sentiment detection through the use of natural language processing. The opportunity for JamiQ is really in Asia where multiple languages and markets come together under a single region.”
JamiQ has an initial investment from Singapore’s Media Development Authority (MDA), but is mostly self-funded. “We are open to investors who believe strongly in what we do and want to grow with us,” says Benjamin.
Benjamin believes that the social media monitoring industry is very much like the customer relationship management (CRM) industry, when a day will come where every company would require a solution. “For JamiQ, the most scalable plan is to offer our service as a software and maturing into offering consulting down the road. Salesforce.com is a good example for us to follow.”
The development of its technology, Benjamin reveals, has been their greatest challenge. “Creating a system this powerful and complex is no mean feat, and our technology team has done a brilliant job making a product that meets the needs of the customers that need us the most.”
“We are most proud of how far we’ve come. We set our mind on creating a product that does a good job and have succeeded in doing so.”