August 10, 2006

Topix Launches One-Year News Search

Earlier this week, online news service unveiled a new feature that enables visitors to search the news for a search term over a 12-month period, and displays the results, as well as a graph showing the intensity and frequency of news coverage over that time.

If the tool continues to develop, it could become incredibly useful for public relations and corporate types who are looking to measure long-term success of branding and media coverage, or for fans of products and companies who would like to align events with anticipated response. In fact, PR teams, if the service is tuned for accuracy, could be measured in graph form, rather than through the old-fashioned clips or more manual reporting.

For the largest companies, like Microsoft or General Electric, the spikes in day to day, week by week, media coverage is less dramatic than that for specific keywords or lesser-known brands. But even for strong brands, like Apple, you can see spikes in activity around Macworld San Francisco in January, and the recently-completed WorldWide Developers' Conference (WWDC). (See the below examples for Apple and Zune.)

The Topix news search covers more than technology companies, of course. You can even see a buildup around senatorial candidate Ned Lamont, with a dramatic spike this week, leading up to and just following his defeat of Joe Leiberman in the Connecticut Democrat party primary. (Also above)

The tool is very interesting, and if you have topics (Topix!) you would like to track, be sure to bookmark the resulting page. But the news search function isn't ideal. While it does differentiate between blogs and more standard press, it doesn't quantify results or designate between a mention and a feature story. Maybe in later iterations, if there is sufficient interest, we can see that develop.

Listening to ''Love Shines Through'', by Marcella Woods (Play Count: 8)