The Download: ComScore service helps companies see what people are saying about them online

By Steven Overly
Monday, September 27, 2010

Reston-based comScore launched a service for its client companies last week that will scan 150 million Web sites, including social networks, product reviews and blogs, for mention of their name or brands.

A growing number of companies are monitoring the comments of users on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to protect their reputations as word-of-mouth advertising turns digital.

"In the past, we've always known word of mouth is a powerful marketing vehicle," said comScore analyst Andrew Lipsman. "But most of the time when you communicate something, you're doing it to one person or a few people. Now you're doing it to a potential network of people."

The comScore service, developed through a partnership with Canada-based Radian6, allows companies to respond directly to the commenter. Other companies have built customer service platforms into the social media itself.

But even a positive outcome to a customer complaint isn't likely to reach the same people who read the negative review, said Sara Willis, who helped organize a Social Media Club DC panel on social media and customer service last week.

"When people have negative experiences, you can fix them and that person is happy, but they're not going back to that entry and correcting what they said," Willis said.


The search is on for a new property to house the American headquarters of Micromet, a biopharmaceutical company in Bethesda, as it looks to add employees in the next two years, executives said.

Chief executive Christian Itin said the company was considering many sites but would likely stay among the concentration of biotechnology companies in Maryland's Interstate 270 corridor. He expects the staff of 15 to double in the next two years as the company anticipates more clinical trials and greater interaction with regulatory agencies.

The company's primary drug in development, blinatumomab, is designed to treat patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a progressive form of cancer. The company announced last week plans to move ahead with two clinical trials of the drug.


While some biotechs may be shopping for new space, Qiagen is building its own.

Executives were on hand Sept. 24 to launch construction of a 50,000-square-foot manufacturing plant at the company's American headquarters along Maryland Route 118 in Germantown.

The company has said it aims to increase revenue to $2 billion in the next five years through internal growth and acquisitions. The company will also build a research facility and employee eatery at the site, finishing construction in 2012 at a total cost of $52 million.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company