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4/26/2011
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GageIn Combines Social, News Media Tracking With Discussion

Intended to boost businesses' competitive intelligence, the freemium service combines social and news media aggregation with sharing and commenting features.

GageIn wants to turn social media outside-in. By combining a social media and news media aggregation service with tools for sharing and commenting on headlines and articles, the startup service claims to help marketing and competitive intelligence organizations keep up with what their customers and competitors are doing.

The GageIn service is currently available as an open beta, with plans to offer the current feature set as a freemium service and offer upgrades to paying customers. In a week when the introduction of Storify, a social tool for collecting and curating stories from around the Web, is generating buzz among journalists and news junkies, GageIn says it has a commercial equivalent that can be a serious business tool.

GageIn CEO Luosheng Peng said he sees in an opening in the market left by other enterprise social media tools. "Yammer and Chatter pretty much rely status updates, but GageIn all about outside-in," he said in an interview. In place of status updates, GageIn places headlines and blurbs from news stories and Twitter mentions at the center of the experience. Instead of pasting the URL for an article into a comment to share with their network, users watch the stories roll in and add their comments, start discussions, and collaborate around that content.

The GageIn service resembles other social media and news media monitoring services in that it watches for company mentions, but based on the demo it seems to be focused on tasks such as keeping tabs on key competitors or customers. You set up a watch list of companies to track, and the types of articles or social media mentions you are interested in. The service tries to automatically categorize articles so that you can, for example, say that you want to see all the white papers and case studies a target company puts out but not the press releases.

GageIn marketing coordinator Carolyn Kao said the service is also designed to intelligently aggregate company news to present "the most relevant information, with as little noise as possible."

GageIn doesn't do sentiment analysis--although Peng said partnering with one of the specialists in that discipline might be a future possibility. Peng also acknowledged that some early users are wary of having yet another social media dashboard to log into and said GageIn is investigating the possibility of integrating with other tools. For now, enterprise collaboration around the information gathered by the service takes place within GageIn's own tools. However, GageIn does provide the ability to post links and comments to public social networking services such as Twitter and Facebook.

Tom Borsellino, director of brand advertising for the architecture and design aficionado website Houzz, said he the tool helps him stay on top of what's happening with the advertisers whose business he is seeking. "It's useful for a salesman because nowadays we don't really sell so much as listen and bring good ideas to customers," he said.

Whatever the company he is targeting, there is almost always some company news that gives him better insight on what approach to take, Borsellino said, "but trying to track it individually through something like Google News Alerts just takes too much time." He hasn't been using the collaboration features of the product because he is his company's only sales person, and although he monitors social media mentions of the companies he tracks, that's not usually where he finds the most useful information.

"It doesn't take much time to fire off a 40-character tweet, but it takes some time to put together a press release," Borsellino said, so those more formal communications are usually where companies communicate their more serious messages.

GageIn has its headquarters in Santa Clara and an office in Wuhan, China. Peng previously founded and ran InnoPath, a call center technology company.

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