What Everybody Ought to Know About Taxpayer Funded Monitoring Of Blogs

Unusual blog entries lead to a story about media monitoring, Tesco, Audit Commission and Gorkana Group Limited

As this is a WordPress blog, I have access to statistics about visitors to it. Normally the websites referring traffic are just search engines, other blogs and social media sites (Twitter etc), but this week a few unusual entries caught my eye.

The first one were two referrals from editors.s360.co, the referral string helpfully included two pages, which were the comments section on the recent writeup about the planning application in Wallasey Village being turned down and the page itself. When I dug a little deeper I found out that Social 360 do corporate social media monitoring for Tesco. Fair enough I thought, they’re a big brand so it makes sense for them to keep an eye on what’s being written about them online.

Then I spotted another unusual entry auditcommission.mediacoverage.co.uk/x/socialmedia/monitoring?pageNumber=2 . Hmm that’s strange I thought, why would the Audit Commission (or what’s left of them after the audit work got outsourced) be interested in my blog? It turns out the Audit Commission pay a PR firm called Gorkana Group Limited for “media monitoring”. They pay them monthly amounts between £200 and £300 a month.

It seems when the Conservatives were in opposition back in 2008 they called the spending of £16 million on media monitoring by various government departments and quangos “a colossal waste of money, and taxpayers will be furious that when everyone else is tightening their belts the last thing to get cut is the government’s own PR”. Since then they’ve gone curiously quiet on the subject.

So if you have a blog and have written about Tesco or the Audit Commission and see some unusual referral strings now you know what they are!

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