MIND READING
PlanetFeedback wants to know what you really think, but won’t just ask. The Cincinnati research company uses sophisticated technology to monitor clients’ Web sites and incoming e-mail, consumer affairs data, Internet discussion databases, message boards, user groups, and ratings Web sites. Its system analyzes more than half a million consumer messages every day. Though PlanetFeedback can’t bug water coolers (yet), companies such as Mazda and Cingular Wireless rely on it for the buzz on potential, revamped, and new products.

Founded by Procter & Gamble’s former interactive guru, Pete Blackshaw, PlanetFeedback merged with Intelliseek last year in a deal that delivered the technical savvy of veteran Web entrepreneur Mahendra Vora. The combined firm isn’t worried about competition from traditional market researchers: Together the companies spent $50 million and five years developing consumer feedback tools and services.

And those tools and services are only 70 percent perfected. Blackshaw says, “I’d say we’ve been in Phase One where we really zeroed in on listening and interpreting what consumers say. The next phase is acting on that and leveraging it.”