Hey! Free marketing information

The Nielsens are probably best known for the TV ratings the organization releases every week. The trouble is the ratings are less useful in this era where people watch shows from hundreds of channels on DVRs.
Nielsen is also facing problems convincing networks and their advertisers that its information is still useful. After all, who cares who’s watching “The Office” when it’s potentially possible to measure who’s watching the commercials between the show.
20070925_heynielsen.jpgNielsen has launched Hey! Nielsen, a new site which just seems geared to mine marketing information from the general public. On the face of it, the site appears to be a place for people to sound off about TV, music, etc., but Nielsen has plans for the information.

From Hey! Nielsen’s About page:

Using data from real users, Hey! Nielsen generates a Hey! Nielsen score — a real-time indicator of a topic’s impact, influence, and value. As users submit feedback, the score is created from a number of factors such as user response, blog buzz, and news coverage, as well as raw data from our sister sites Billboard.com, HollywoodReporter.com, and BlogPulse.com.

It seems to me Nielsen is trying to use the social-networking potential of the Web to build a new set of marketing data. I wonder how many people are going to divulge their opinions for Nielsen’s new data mill.
I also wonder how useful the data will be. After all, marketing data is used to help determine the Peoples Choice Awards and we all know how well a barometer of pop culture that event is.