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Consumer Electronics Show: Who is the CES Buzz Master?

January 6, 2011 |  4:01 pm

When it comes to the Consumer Electronics Show, there's often lots of buzz online about what's coming out, and folks like to follow all the revelations and new products -- even if they can't yet lay hands on and dollars out for them.

Webtrends has been trying to get a handle on what really resonates with real people, in real time. 

"We really wanted to understand the conversation around CES," said Marko Z. Muellner, director of marketing.

The mobile and social analytics company has been culling data from tweets, blog posts and websites using sets of keywords to analyze what people outside of Silicon Valley are buzzing about online.

Often the stories that get the most air and ink come from the tastemakers -- and are much the same, said Peter Yared, vice president of apps at Webtrends. "The beauty of the social measurement tool is that it’s just data." 

He gave the example of Silicon Valley being enamored with the emergence of Vizio this year. "But it's interesting to see that it doesn’t measure up" in the world beyond.

An example of industry excitement having a disconnect from consumer interest is 3-D TV.

So what's been interesting to most is this:

 Companies getting the most mentions by Thursday afternoon 

Graph11. Microsoft, which wasn't even among the top six in the last couple of days, has shot to the top of companies getting buzz. This seems to correlate directly with Steve Ballmer's keynote address Wednesday evening.

2. Samsung was leading the pack earlier in the day but was bumped this afternoon by Microsoft.

3. Google: Android devices are making a sizable showing at CES this year -- and are clearly getting lots of mentions online. At one point, Android phones had edged out iPhone mentions, according to Webtrends.

4. Apple: Even though Apple isn't participating in the expo, people are comparing what's being unveiled at the show with Apple products, Yared said. And those who develop accessories and the like for iPad, iPods and iPhones are showing their wares in Vegas.

5. LG: Earlier in the day and the week, LG topped the rankings.

To show what a difference a day makes, on Wednesday, the top six companies getting the most digital ink in the Webtrends data were, in order, LG, Apple, Google, Samsung, Intel and Motorola. LG made the biggest jump in Web conversations, according to the analysis, jumping from fifth place Tuesday to first place Wednesday. Intel wasn't on the radar Tuesday but ranked Wednesday.

Tablets are probably the biggest story out of CES 2011. Everyone from BlackBerry to Vizio has announced its entry to the platform, which has been dominated by Apple’s iPad and a more recent entry, the Samsung Galaxy. What the pie chart below seems to suggest is that it could be a wide-open market -- or at least a potentially receptive audience.

"These new Android tablets look a lot, lot, lot, lot better than the iPad," Yared said. "It's going to be challenging for Apple."















On Wednesday morning, for instance, Microsoft wasn't even a ranking factor in conversations online, according to Webtrends. Microsoft demonstrated a handful of new tablets in Wednesday night's keynote address. By Thursday afternoon, it was tied for No. 2.

It's probably no surprise that the smart phone getting the most mentions online is the Apple iPhone -- by far. The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc ranks a distant second, with Windows Phone 7 devices and the Motorola Atrix tied for third.
















Yared suggests that Apple not get too complacent as many challengers hit the market. "Apple is going to have to do something big. In some ways, they're a legacy vendor."

Of course, while it is interesting to follow the immediate trends of rises and falls in real time, Yared notes that all of this can be fleeting.

"We’re going to see a lot of spikes…. Really, the winner here will be the companies that sustain the buzz."


CES: Bloggers spread social media messages in Las Vegas and beyond

CES: Verizon, Sony, T-Mobile unveil social media strategies

 -- Michelle Maltais

Note: Shrewd readers may notice that the pie charts add up to more than 100%. Webtrends said the numbers don’t always add up to exactly 100% because some of the posts, tweets and other online conversations from which it is collecting the data mention multiple companies or products.