Digital marketing outfit Wiredset this week introduced a paid version of its online buzz tracking software called Trendrr Pro. The software monitors the activity of fans and critics online, from forum posts to reviews to shared photos on such sites as blogs, Twitter, MySpace, and various blogs and video sites.

The paid upgrade is an expansion of the free Trendrr service Wiredset has offered for about a year now. The new version adds more advanced reporting and alert features, as well as monitors more sites than the free version.

Wiredset founder Mark Ghuneim spoke with Billboard to detail how the service works and why it's important.

What's the difference between Trendrr and Trendrr Pro?
There's a definitive difference. Candidly, it came up from me waking up three months ago realizing we had a great platform and had no products. I decided we needed to take feedback from our clients and build products. For this, that means a reporting system and an alert system, for starters. The reporting system allows you to generate real-time reports and continue to update over time, so you can gauge the effectiveness of your programs. In Pro, you also get alerts and projects. You're also getting additional data sources, and the number of things you can track increases. With the free version, you can track up to 10 things, but you're not able to combine them into a report that keeps updating or set alerts against them.

Are you able to track context of feedback as well?
Up until now, I've viewed sentiment as a big bag of hurt. It's complex. So we've built a system that if anyone ever figures that out, they can plug into our system. The first thing we needed to do was get the quantitative data. Then, you can start to look at qualitative aspects of it.

How do you determine what sources to track?
Our entire company is [staffed with] marketers. We do marketing day in and day out. This product was born out of that need to identify the best marketing sources. So we top-down prioritize things from a marketing perspective, not a geek perspective. My head of marketing helped determine the sources based on that. We added things like reverse links from Google where we're able to say that these are important metrics around campaigns.

Is it a matter of which sites just get the most traffic, or which sites are the most relevan or some other factor?
We're a diverse platform. We're not just one genre. We want to identify the biggest market, but if you have a really niche genre, we want to identify that too. There are other services like SoundScan that we want to incorporate into here, but we see that as a premium upsell to their service.

So in other words I can add my own data into your system, not just the sources you follow?
Yes. But as we start to look at niche markets, we want to identify harbingers of taste that the traditional industry doesn't know.

Why is this so important to track? With so much chatter on the Internet, why spend time trying to monitor it all?
There's a lot of information out there. The purpose of this tool is to turn that into actionable intelligence that allows you to develop your band and understand how to spend your time more effectively. So if a big artist goes on five different TV shows, we can do a mashup of their Amazon sales against their TV performances and see which had the most impact. By understanding the effectiveness of your marketing or your activities period, you can now make decisions on a many number of things. If people are trading files more in one market, you should tour there. Everyone has different goals, but in this DIY world, you need to be really smart with your time. And if you don't understand the results of your time, you're not operating with all the intelligence you need.

Is this something used on an ongoing basis, or rather on one-off situations to determine the effectiveness of a particular action.
First, you need to understand your dialtone in the marketplace, then you can understand your impact in the marketplace. When you look at band data over two-to-three years, you'll know exactly where you are and can compare that against other bands.

How does that comparison work?
You can compare after-market ticket sales, or your number of Twitters, you can get a better perspective of where that artist is in the marketplace. We're operating in the most measurable medium ever. Let's take that and make artist management better so they can spend their time being artists.

As a user, I can pick which bands I want to compare myself to?
Everything is in the user's hands. They drive.

What's the best way to respond to the data they receive?
The first thing you need to do is listen to it. The second thing is to understand how it impacts your development, and to use it to further that growth.

OK let me flip that around. How should they not use this data?
By discounting it. You need to map you're offline world with your online world. By merging the two, you get the better aggregate value.

Is there a concern about overreacting to certain data?
At a label level or an artist level, it kind of helps you calibrate whether you should be dialing up or dialing down.