Search tool scans blogs for business

A new search service scans tens of thousands of Web logs to keep businesses informed about consumer trends and opinions

Moreover Technologies, which provides aggregated business information for clients such as the UK government and Microsoft, has launched a search tool aimed at allowing corporations to tap into the consumer data generated by the anarchic world of Web logs.

Blogs, as they are known, are frequently updated sites, which often take the form of personal journals, recording the news and opinions of an individual or group. They have become a mass phenomenon in the past few months, with about three million active US blogs and eight million US Web users visiting blogs for Iraqi war coverage, according to a Pew Internet Report cited by Moreover.

Firms have tried various ways to tap into the data generated by the blogosphere, including identifying neologisms and popular catchphrases via real-time scans of millions of blogs.

Moreover's tool aims to allow corporations to identify consumer trends and opinions as represented in the blogosphere. It harvests information in real time from more than 25,000 hand-picked blogs, which are ranked according to their quality and reliability, the number of incoming and outgoing links and the blog's standing in the wider blogging community.

The information is aggregated into a sort of meta-blog arranged according to the client's requirements and the data can be delivered as a feed or as a "metabase", a constantly updated XML database.

Moreover said that blogs can represent a valuable source of business information that springs directly from consumers, rather than traditional media sources. "Weblogs highlight the news that matters as well as providing instantaneous commentary and opinions on a wide variety of topics and events," said Moreover chief executive Jim Pitkow, in a statement.

Moreover's other services aggregate information from news, corporate and government Web sites and discussion boards.

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