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AN OPEN LINKED DATA PLATFORM FOR SEMANTICALLY-INTERCONNECTING ONLINE, SOCIAL MEDIA LEVERAGING THE CORPORATE BRAND AND MARKET SECTOR REPUTATION ANALYSIS AND RESPONSE OPTIMIZATION SERVICES

Final Report Summary - LINKED2MEDIA (AN OPEN LINKED DATA PLATFORM FOR SEMANTICALLY-INTERCONNECTING ONLINE, SOCIAL MEDIA LEVERAGING THE CORPORATE BRAND AND MARKET SECTOR REPUTATION ANALYSIS AND RESPONSE OPTIMIZATION SERVICES)

Executive Summary:
The vision of the proposed Linked2Media project is to tap into the vast user-generated content and interpret information posted on blogs, social networks and social media in Europe and beyond, ensuring that the European Commercial and Industrial SMEs will have homogenized access to the globally available online, social media information and data resources needed to perform, on their own, corporate brand reputation management and market sector repute analysis. In this way, the Linked2Media initiative facilitates European SMEs to listen to customers, prospects and social media, but, more importantly, to identify trends and gain insights to improve their overall marketing strategy and return of investment.

The 36-month Linked2Media project will result, through its deliverables (both reports and prototypes), in:
R1. the open, generic Linked2Media Framework and Conceptual Architecture (WP2);
R2. the innovative Linked2Media Platform (WP7).
R3. highly sophisticated Brand Reputation Management and Marketing Strategy (WP3);
R4. the Linked2Media Semantic Model (WP2);
P5. the Linked2Media Business Demonstrator (WP8);
R6. the Linked2Media Roadmap and Handbook;
R7. Wide‐scale dissemination and exploitation of the project results to the European commercial, retail and industrial SMEs through the formulation of a multinational consortium with direct and indirect presence in the Enlarged Europe.

Led by the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB), the Linked2Media consortium comprises of SMEs Associations, SMEs and RTD performers from seven (7) EU member states and associated countries, i.e. Turkey, Spain, Italy, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and Ireland.

Project Context and Objectives:
The vision of the Linked2Media Project is to tap into the vast user-generated content and interpret information posted on blogs, social networks and social media in Europe and beyond, ensuring that the European Commercial and Industrial SMEs will have homogenized access to the globally available online, social media information and data resources needed to perform, on their own, corporate brand reputation management and market sector repute analysis. In this way, the Linked2Media initiative facilitates European SMEs to listen to customers, prospects and social media, but, more importantly, to identify trends and gain insights to improve their overall marketing strategy and return of nvestment.Linked2Media Project led by the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB), the Linked2Media consortium comprises of SMEs Associations, SMEs and RTD performers from seven (7) EU member states and associated countries, i.e. Turkey, Spain, Italy, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and Ireland.

The main objectives of the Project are:

- Objective I: to build the next-generation, semantically interlinked online, social media information space in the enlarged Europe, that will facilitate European to publish, link, dynamically discover, effectively combine and easily access distributed, multi-lingual resources and information posted on blogs, review sites, social networks and digital media across the Web, ensuring proper and real-time integration of opinions, complaints, remarks and thoughts provided by different consumers across Europe and beyond.

- Objective II: to empower the contribution and involvement of the pan-European digital media and consumers community towards the unified social media collaboration space in the enlarged Europe, enabling commercial, industrial and retail European SMEs to take full advantage of the distributed information, aggregated in blogs, review sites, social networks and digital media.

- Objective III: to support sound decision making towards the effective brand reputation management and efficient response optimization, allowing European SMEs to easily submit their own query and get homogenized access to high-quality social media resources, visualizing and analyzing, in a fully integrated way, the consumers opinion and the media arguments, through the ad-hoc discovery and adaptive chaining of digital, social media resources on the Web providing non IT-expert end-users with an advanced visualization of highly customized and integrated social media information.

- Objective IV: to promote the social sharing and collective analysis of European SMEs’ knowledge and experience in brand reputation management, strengthening their cooperation against common reputation analysis and response optimization problems beyond geographic barriers, and bridging the information, knowledge and collaboration gap among the European SMEs.

- Objective V: to validate and evaluate the research results by developing proof-of-concept business demonstrators, proving the usability, applicability and adaptability of the proposed, innovative Linked2Media technologies and tools provided for enabling the sophisticated brand reputation management of the participating European SMEs.

- Objective VI: to facilitate the mass take-up of the Linked2Media research results by the commercial, industrial and retail SMEs at pan-European level.

Project Results:
The technical and architectural approach that the Linked2Media consortium followed so as to achieve the project’s objectives, as well as the detailed work plan, broken down in work packages and tasks, which materialize the logical implementation phases of the project. As a result of the successful implementation of the project, the main S & T results/foregrounds were obtained as follows:

1.1 The Linked2Media Concepts
The Linked2Media consortium proposes an innovative, open, generic approach (called Linked2Media Framework and Conceptual Architecture), which introduces the concepts and tools for the semantically-enriched publication and interlinking of publicly available social media information resources and the provision of high quality services for the effective corporate brand reputation management and the market sector repute analysis. The key technological concepts and tools designed and developed will facilitate European commercial, retail and industrial SMEs to socially interact and cooperate so as a) to have homogenized and standardized access to the globally available social media information and data resources (including customers opinions, complaints and rumors) needed to perform efficient brand reputation analysis and sentiment management; and b) to share, dynamically discover and fruitfully combine knowledge and experiences in brand reputation and sentiment management, strengthening their cooperation against common (either corporate brand or market sector) reputation analysis and response optimization problems.
To do so, the Linked2Media project started by delivering the “Linked2Media Framework and Conceptual Architecture”, the “Linked2Media Brand Reputation Management and Marketing Strategy” and the “Linked2Media Semantic Model”, which address the vision of the project. In order to define all of these three main project’s results, the first step was to carry out an extended review and comparative analysis of the State-of-the-Art in the following research fields and markets covered by Linked2Media in order to identify gaps, deficiencies, needs and problems, and thus elicit requirements: a) brand reputation systems and online media reputation analysis services; b) lightweight ontologies, linked data, and lightweight semantic models, and c) information Web resources mash-up and visualization mechanisms. Additionally, the technologies and open source components that were utilized in Linked2Media were identified and tested in different real environment thus ensuring that the project’s objectives can be achieved.
The participating SMEs Associations took an active role and significant contribution in the European-wide large-scale collection, analysis and homogenization of requirements with regard to corporate brand reputation analysis and sentiment management issues, through the distribution of structured questionnaires to their members and interviews with selected SMEs members and other stakeholders, showing their significant interest in the field. Finally, the Linked2Media SMEs partners (like ICARIO, CNM and EMI), were involved in the requirements elicitation process, highlighting and prioritizing the needs of the market sectors they represent (e.g. food and drinks industry).

Once these parallel steps were completed, a set of requirements that Linked2Media addresses were collected and prioritized, leading to the definition and documentation of a list of functional requirements, use cases and usage scenarios (WP1). As stated earlier, this prioritized list of requirements has a three-fold aim and guide the development of the “Linked2Media Reference Architecture” (WP2), the “Brand Reputation Management and Marketing Strategy” (WP3) and the “Linked2Media Semantic Model” (WP2).

A draft view of the Linked2Media Framework and Conceptual Architecture is depicted in Annex I. As presented there, the proposed Linked2Media Platform consists of three (3) sets of software components (called “spaces”), facilitating European commercial, retail and industrial SMEs to collaborate, share data, have access to globally available online social media information resources and utilize sophisticated brand reputation analysis and sentiment management services:
- the Social Media Linked Data Space (WP4) realizing a knowledge base of semantically interconnected online social media information resources across the Web. The Social Media Linked Data Space provides the mechanisms and tools required for the semantically-enriched annotation, publishing, sharing and interconnection of posts, reviews, text assessments and statements (including opinions, complaints and rumors) found on blogs, online review sites, social networks, and digital media (utilizing the Linked2Media semantic model and mark-up tools, as well as, the URIs and RDF technologies). In this way, the European SMEs have homogenized access to the globally available information and data resources needed to perform effective corporate brand reputation analysis and sentiment management.
- the Opinion Modelling and Extraction Space (WP5) implementing a software toolset for applying text mining, information analysis and semantic processing techniques on the available, linked social media information resources, so as to extract valuable corporate brand reputation and market sector repute related information enclosed in blogs, online review sites, social networks, and digital media. In this way, customers’ opinions aggregated in online social media, as well as, European SMEs’ knowledge and experiences with regard to brand reputation and sentiment management were semantically integrated and made publicly available.
- the Social Sharing and Visualization Space (WP6) providing European commercial, retail and industrial SMEs with social networking, collaborative work and visualization capabilities that allow them to interact, cooperate, share and explore data, knowledge and experiences with regard to brand reputation and sentiment management. In this way, the Social Sharing and Visualization Space facilitate the social sharing and collective analysis of European SMEs’ knowledge and experience and utilize mash-up technologies, advanced visualization mechanisms and adaptive widget-based and Ajax-based Web 2.0 front-ends to deliver (on-demand) brand reputation related services and social media information resources.
As already mentioned, the Linked2Media Conceptual Architecture introduces a lightweight ontological model, i.e. the Linked2Media Semantic Model (WP1), which was designed to serve as a common reference model for the annotation and description of online social media information resources and brand reputation significant data on the Web. This semantic model were utilized: a) in the semantic annotation, sharing and inter-connection of globally available social media information web resources (in the Social Media Linked Data Space), b) in the semantic processing of the interlinked information resource in blogs, online review sites, social networks, and digital media (in the Opinion Modelling and Extraction Space), and c) in the mash-up of social media information resources, customers opinions, and reputation analysis and management services (in the Social Sharing and Visualization Space).
The Linked2Media Semantic Model constitutes a social media information ontological model, relying on widely –known and –adopted standards and vocabularies. As this lightweight semantic model was utilized in the creation of a knowledge base of semantically interconnected distributed online social media data and information resources across the Web, the structure of the Linked2Media Semantic Model comprises of a set of core elements that are based on the SIOC ontology and FOAF ontologies, and specific emotion and sentiment representation formalisms, such as the W3C EmotionML hence providing a complete model to represent discussions in online communities at different levels of granularity.

1.2 The Linked2Media Brand Reputation Management Strategy
The aim of Linked2Media is to support the decision-makers of the companies, i.e. the upper management, in developing and implementing market strategies. The SMEs require fast and easy access to the information about their Brand Reputation and about the trends on research and development in order to survive in an increasingly competitive field. Measures of reputation proliferate, encouraging confusion about a company’s reputational assets. In 1998 the Reputation Institute invited the market research firm of Harris Interactive to collaborate in creating a standardized instrument that could be used to measure perceptions of companies across industries and with multiple stakeholder segments. As Charles J. Fombrun and Christopher B. Foss defined in Developing a Reputation Quotient (Fombrun & Foss, 2001), the findings demonstrated that people justify their feelings about companies into 6 dimensions:
- Emotional Appeal: How much the company is liked, admired, and respected;
- Products & Services: Perceptions of the quality, innovation, value, and reliability of the company’s products and services;
- Financial Performance: Perceptions of the company’s profitability, prospects, and risk;
- Vision & Leadership: How much the company demonstrates a clear vision and strong leadership;
- Workplace Environment: Perceptions of how well the company is managed, how it is to work for, and the quality of its employees; and
- Social Responsibility: Perceptions of the company as a good citizen in its dealings with communities, employees, and the environment.
Linked2Media Brand Reputation Management Strategy compares the strategic information collected about the final user with the market sector belongings. This analysis gives an enormous advantage to the users in terms of: a) elimination of surprises; b) improved knowledge of the trends of the market sector, c) enhanced enterprise risk/reward opportunities; d) more accurate business plans; e) improved forecast accuracy; f) increased resiliency and responsibleness; and g) prompt SMEs’ response with targeted management actions.
The lifecycle of the system is iterative and based on five (5) macro phases as depicted in Annex II.
1. Definition of the Web sources: A huge set of web sources monitored and analysed was defined and each source was given a value of relevance for each market sector.
2. Continuous extraction of resources: From the defined sources a process of resources extraction was constantly executed resulting into a stream of documents of various type and language
3. Semantic analysis and knowledge extraction: basing on the extracted resources a process of semantic analysis was carried out in order to let emerge main concepts , entities and brand related data
4. Reputation Analysis computation: Analysis related to the six dimensions expressed above was computed
5. Personalized report creation and prompt alerts: Personalized periodic reports were delivered to the user with the timing and analysis defined by him/her. Prompt alerts were delivered to users for urgent relevant news of topics discussed on the web which could cause potential crises situation for the brand.

1.3 The Linked2Media Social Media Linked Data Space
The Linked2Media Social Media Linked Data Space aims at connecting the social media information resources provided by different and heterogeneous data sources (i.e. blogs, online review sites, social networks, and digital media in Europe and beyond), as well as, at providing an aggregated view of these data in a machine-readable and semantically-enriched way that facilitates reuse. The resulted knowledge base contains semantically linked information that will be structured around the most important notions of social media, customers’ opinion and corporate reputation domain. For each entity, the Linked2Media partners defined a globally unique identifier that can be dereferenced according to the Linked Data principles.
The Linked2Media Social Media Linked Data Space:
- Provides an information extraction framework that exports and converts raw data from various sources such as blogs, online review sites, social networks, and digital media into a rich knowledge base. For doing so the data stored in the various data sources were converted to RDF triples based on the Linked2Media Semantic Model that was developed during WP2.
- Defines a Web-dereferenceable identifier for each Linked2Media entity by following the Linked Data principles.
- Publishes RDF links pointing from the Linked2Media Social Media Linked Data Space into other Web data sources and support data publishers in setting links from their data sources to the Linked2Media Social Media Linked Data Space.

The architecture of the Linked2Media Social Media Linked Data Space is depicted in Annex III and consists of the following components:
- The Knowledge Extraction component, which continually extracts RDF data from the existing databases into a knowledge base.
- The Entities Identification component, which identifies the important for the specific domain entities, classifies entities within different domain classification schemata in order to fulfil different application requirements and defines a Web dereferenceable URI for each entity.
- The Links Creation component, which creates and maintains links between asynchronously evolving data resources.
- The Knowledgebase Publishing Framework, which includes four components, one for each access mechanism available, i.e.
- RESTful API provided by publishing RDF data on the Web that relies on HTTP URIs as resource identifiers and the HTTP protocol to retrieve resource descriptions.
- SPARQL endpoint for querying the Linked2Media Social Media Linked Data Space.
- RDF dumps that offers parts of the knowledge base for download.
- Lookup index, which proposes Linked2Media URIs for a given label and make it easy for Linked Data publishers to find Linked2Media resource URIs to link to.

1.4 The Linked2Media Opinion Modelling and Extraction Space
There are two main trends regarding opinion modelling, analysis and extraction, namely (i) pattern-based that model the opinion semantics captured in the social media publications’ texts and share, at the abstract level, a core group of concepts representing the epistemic items, but use different terminologies and (ii) model-driven that focus on modelling opinions in a specific knowledge domain and do not keep track of the evolution of the discussion over time, or the provenance information about the “hosting” environment of the discussion (e.g. forum, blogs, scientific publications). The model-driven approach deals with domain-independent knowledge, but suffers from low accuracy, whereas the pattern-based achieves high accuracy scores but is specialized on particular domains (and therefore imposes high costs dues to the need of specific training data).
Linked2Media follows a combined approach between the pattern-based and the model-driven approaches. The advantages provided by each line of work were combined and the right trade-off between their shortcomings was determined. Therefore models for lifting and structuring data were re(used) and developed, thus creating the right environment for inferencing and reasoning. Additionally, learning mechanisms were applied for improving the accuracy of the extracted data. The Linked2Media opinion extraction and modelling approach employs a modularised processing pipe able to cope with various data sources, by exploiting as much as possible the contextual information & domain knowledge attached to them.
A common lightweight SIOC-based ontology was developed (extending the Linked2Media Semantic Model created in WP2) in order to facilitate the interlinking of the social media information, thus representing all opinions expressed in a common format. Thus the argumentation module for SIOC was reused and further extended. Other ontologies were also be employed to fully capture all knowledge, e.g. FOAF, CoVoC, W3C Emotion ML. As a result of this work, a specification outlining the SIOC-based, opinion model was provided, as well as documentation outlining how proprietary, community-site data can be structured according to this model. The ontology-engineering methodology that was used to identify integral concepts in the relevant ontologies were also documented, so that it may be adopted by other communities wishing to develop simple web vocabularies based on existing ontologies.
The opinion extraction and modeling approach was coupled with an approach to handle multilingualism. This is extremely important, especially in the context of a multi-national consortium like the Linked2Media one.
Botego has developed a proprietary framework for processing of Turkish and English language, which was extended to support other languages as well, e.g. Italian, Spanish and/or Greek. Within this framework there are multiple tools, including stemmers, lexical analyzers, word-net, typo correction mechanisms and other NLP tools. As a preliminary objective, the software development department (SDD) utilized provided open-source tools for the analysis and processing of the audiovisual content. SDD processed the resulting text outputs by utilizing Botego’s own linguistic technologies for information, concept and argument extraction. In addition to currently used methodologies; R&D department focused on researching latest NLP methods and technologies both in academic and business environments.
Opinions were exported from social platforms and digital media sites exporting using tools and agents, i.e. exporters that extract knowledge and information according to the common ontology. This required mappings to be defined between the local data models of the online community sites and platforms and the common ontology. Knowledge was extracted in the form of RDF triples, which can then be merged with data from disparate sites, and discovered and indexed by Semantic Web crawlers. These machine-interpretable, structured opinions may then be utilised in order to facilitate the brand reputation analysis of different SMEs and leverage the flow of information between them and the efficient exploration of tacit knowledge.
For concept extraction, Botego mapped words and sentences to concepts using its context analysis tools, multipurpose word-net and synonyms dictionary. In addition, whenever needed, Botego generated special thesauri, for example a dictionary of computer terms or FMCG cleaning products, from multiple data sources using crawlers and data mining methods. Major challenges such as word and sentence ambiguities were handled by further analyzing the whole context of the documents and using statistical methods. The highly qualified SD staff overcomed most of the technical challenges and incompatibilities during the project. The provided solutions and frameworks were used for the classification of large data sets.
For information extraction purposes, Botego uses domain-specific Named Entity Recognition (NER) methods from structured and unstructured data sources. Although such solutions are proved to be successful they’re hard to generalize, therefore Botego generated specific solutions for each of the major domains that are within the scope of the project.

Summarizing, the approach comprises of four phases which were implemented by the respective tools as depicted in Annex IV:
i. extracting opinions from proprietary mediums let them be documents or social platforms etc., using:
a. pattern-based extraction elements, based on a linguistic features;
b. ontology learning elements with accent on lifting rhetorics from unstructured text;
c. concept and information extraction elements, for example the linear structure of the information source, incoming; and outgoing links, domain knowledge particular to the information source.
d. specific learning methodologies for improving the overall accuracy.
ii. modelling/structuring the extracted information according to the common ontology; and
iii. mashing information originating in different sources;
iv. analysing and processing the information to draw conclusions, generate new knowledge etc.

1.5 The Linked2Media Social Sharing and Visualization Space
The Social Sharing and Visualization Space acts as a destination hub for European Commercial and Industrial SMEs to establish relationships between them, to interact with each other and to share experience and good practices on corporate brand reputation management and market sector repute analysis.
The infrastructure is combining collaborative work and social networking Web 2.0 features with adaptable end-user interfaces and innovative information/data visualization services.
The Social Sharing and Visualization Space enables European SMEs to register (creating corporate personal profile) and have secure and authorized access, though multiple devices and communication channels, to a set of novel methods and tools, which will facilitate the realization of social interaction and collaboration. The Social Sharing and Visualization Space comprises of three (3) core software components:
- the Adaptable Widget- and Ajax-based Web 2.0 Front-Ends, which support the user-centric focus of the Social Sharing and Visualization Space and enables the easy, personalized access of the users to the decision support, reputation management and social networking and collaborative working functionalities. The starting point is to encapsulate a Linked2Media application or service within a widget. A widget encapsulates functionality that can be deployed to a wide range of destinations (e.g. mobiles, social networking sites, desktops). Thus, the user’s front-end will constitute a dynamically organized presentation layer “puzzle” of widgetized services that are going to be delivered (on-demand) by the services recommendation and mashing components. Finally, a Personal Workspace Manager will be provided, overseeing all the user’s widgets irrespective of where they are installed. So one could have all widgets installed on a single laptop, or one widget per destination, thus empowering the user with the management of their personal workspace.
- the Advanced Opinion Visualization Tools facilitate the ad-hoc composition, integration and mash-up of data dynamically collected from social media platforms and social networking sites. The collected data and metadata were retrieved using querying interfaces of the Linked2Media Opinion Modelling and Extraction Space. The advanced opinion visualization tools support different types of data representation and visualization, such as graph visualization, faceted data browsing, data (geo-)mash-ups, data charts and pivoting techniques. Each tool implements a different data visualization approach. The output of each service were then wrapped and made available through a widgetized front-end. The output of an advanced visualization tool can be displayed differently by different widgets or can be combined with the output of another advanced visualization service in the context of a widget.
- The Social Collaborative Working Environment provides the underlying, technical infrastructure for building an open innovation online community of SMEs with the ability to set up and customize a corporate profile, to create professional relationships and to collaborate with other SMEs. It constitutes the backbone of the Social Sharing and Visualization Space and is based on the extensions of an open-source shared workspace toolset for efficient group collaboration. It offers:
- Opinion exchange and knowledge transfer capabilities, such as instant messaging, wikis and forums.
- Collaborative work capabilities based on the concept of flexible, role-based access management, including documents sharing, appointments coordination, projects management, various mechanisms for document transfer, structured document storage, multi-faceted document management functions and a multi-language user interface.
- the Self-Organizing Communities Utility, which facilitates the creation, deployment, maintenance and operation of purpose-specific virtual communities. The end-users are be able to create and/or join multiple virtual communities (as members) in the frame of a set of specified policies for the self-management, evolution and restructuring of virtual communities.

The Social Sharing and Visualization Space also incorporates the following services:
- single sign-on capability, supporting effective access control of multiple, related, but independent software modules, allowing end-users to authenticate only once, while accessing several autonomous applications;
- permission control functionality for handling end-users access rights and restricts specific types of content, applications and services that the platform’s actors have access to; and
- security features that facilitate the protected communication and interaction with the platform.

A rapid prototyping approach comprising of three cycles in total were followed in order to design develop, test and release the final versions of the Linked2Media Social Sharing and Visualization Space software components. Users were actively involved in the process, especially during the design and testing phases. The implementation plan of WP6 is summarized in Annex V
During the first implementation cycle, the consortium investigated how a user interacts with the Linked2Media Social Sharing and Visualization Space (user interaction models). During this cycle, the detailed architecture of the Linked2Media Social Sharing and Visualization Space were specified and the ways to encapsulate advanced visualization services and user-generated data into easy-to-share appealing widgets that can be embedded into different third party sites were encapsulated. Apart from the software specifications, mock-ups of the widgetized front-ends were developed, in order to collect users’ requirements and feedback from an early stage. The first implementation cycle was carried out in the context of Task 6.1. During the second implementation cycle, prototypes were developed based on the requirements and the specifications delivered by Task 6.1.
Once the prototypes were developed they were tested, both by developers and users (users tested the widgetized front-ends in terms of usability, ease-of-use and aesthetics), in order to discover problems and to validate their correctness. The testing resulted in a list of fixes and improvements. The second implementation cycle was carried out in the context of Task 6.2
Finally, during the third implementation cycle, the fixes and improvements identified in Task 6.2 were addressed. A final round of checking and validation was performed and the final versions of the Linked2Media Social Sharing and Visualization Space software components were released.

1.6 The Linked2Media Business Demonstrators
Linked2Media planned the definition, development, deployment and operation of the three (3) showcases that will be realized so as to prove the applicability and usability of the project results in realistic setups and scenarios, where the main research and technological development results of the project will be delivered. The showcase was implemented by the beneficiaries of the consortium, namely the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies, the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Footwear Technology Centre of La Rioja, the Federation of Hellenic Food Industries, CalzadosNuevoMilenio S.L. Expert Multiservices Impex Ltd and ICARIO S.R.L.
The showcases that defined and implemented Brand Reputation analysis aimed at:
a) validating the concepts, models and tools resulting from the core technological R&D activities in terms of addressing the identified requirements from stakeholders;
b) validate the Linked2Media Brand Reputation Management Strategy which permits the comparison of the strategic information collected about the final user with the market sector belongings;
c) Evaluating end testing the combined approach for opinion modelling through specific corpus of brand and products opinion-intensive content.
d) testing and evaluating of the performance of the deployed pilots, validating the overall Linked2Media solution.
e) providing feedback to the software components and integrated platform development work‐packages, so as to refine the generated models and applications, and especially to validate and improve the Brand Reputation and Market sector analysis functionalities which were included in the reports.
All the SMEs AG and SMEs participating in the Linked2Media consortium actively participated in the Linked2Media showcases, piloting the Linked2Media tools and platform under pragmatic conditions. The three research experiments and showcases involve: i) the Corporate Brand Reputation Analysis, ii) Market Sector Reputation Analysis, and iii) Reputational risk management (see Annex VI). However, their precise scope was jointly defined by the partners’ team of each business demonstrator.

The scenarios were validated by a set of combined analysis requested by the end users of the consortium.

Potential Impact:
The Internet has already radically changed the way the customers shop. Searching on Google for information related to a product or a brand it’s becoming a common action. Small and medium enterprises should be the last type of company that should decide about cutting their marketing budget during a crisis moment like the one we are living. Deciding to invest in marketing seems like a far riskier decision than that made by larger brands. The idea of increasing marketing spend is likely to be counterintuitive, but branding and reputation building are key resources, which allow an organization to be successful over an extended period of time, and it can help in minimising the risks having continuously reputation analysis. Understanding the customers enables organisations to learn about the customer experience and create improvements for the future. There are studies which assert that up to 90% of online shoppers read reviews before buying (econsultancy.com 2009), and they can cause an uplift in conversion rates. According to Razorfish’s “2009 FEED” survey more than 97% said that experience influenced whether they purchased a product or service from that brand. Many retailers, including Comet, Tesco, Carphone Warehouse, and Argos use social networks like Reevoo or Bazaarvoice to add reviews to their sites.
According to Global Reputation Pulse 2010 report [2] of the Reputation Institute, corporate reputation has increased impact on business results: having a strong reputation in 2010 yields more recommendation, more benefit of the doubt and more purchasing behavior than ever before. According to the study a comparison between the Top 10 and the Bottom 10 corporations highlights that:
- Customers are 300% more likely to give the benefit of the doubt to corporations with strong reputation.
- Customers are 200% more likely to consider purchasing products of corporations with strong reputation.
- Customers are 350% more likely to actually purchase products of corporations with strong reputation.
- Investment in advertising improves corporation’s reputation by 5 points and support of the corporation’s products is increased by 6.5%
This study demonstrates that having an intelligent analysis of user generated content and other web information can be an effective sales driver and that getting company-specific results identifying strengths and weaknesses is a central activity for the organizations who want to stay on top. In this context, Linked2Media, given the analysis provided in section one of the current proposal, is bound to have significant impact on both the ways the research is being conducted: Brand reputation and Sector Market analysis.

Social Business Landscape and Market Analysis: Additionally, drafting the 2010 Social Business Landscape (August 2010), Dachis Group has developed Social Business Power Map as an attempt to identify the major social media trends, how they can be mapped generally along consumer/enterprise axes, and where they are in terms of their overall maturity level today [7], indentifying “Social Media Monitoring” as a social media aspect experiencing broad uptake but without having yet broken out to a majority audience. As social media monitoring is foreseen to remain at a high growth adoption-phase trend for the next 12-18 months, and, then, move to maturity (as shown in the figure of the following page), it is high time for organizations with significant potential customer base (like the Linked2Media participating SMEs Associations) to invest on this trend and build sophisticated services upon it.
The results of Linked2Media will have significant impact in the market both at service provision as well as at technology provision level. The market sector in which Linked2Media is positioned, is growing despite of the economic crisis: during the first nine months of 2008, the expenses of the marketing operators increased by +14% respect with respect to the previous year. A research from the Custom Content Council in partnership with ContentWise reveals that 68% of companies said they were shifting from traditional forms of marketing to marketing enhanced with emphasis on branded content. The reason for this shift and the utilisation of branded content was to educate consumers [4]. In the first half of 2009 Internet advertising weathered the recession and grew by 4.6% to £1,752.1m despite the fact that the entire advertising sector shrank by 16.6% during the same period.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers published a report in 2010 which affirms that online advertising will become the second largest advertising medium in the US after television within the next 4 years, and will increase by over $10 billion in that same timeframe. Wall Street Journal reports also that online advertising will increase from $24.2 billion in 2009 to $34.4 billion in 2014 to overtake newspapers which will continue to lose ad revenue over the next 4 years to fall from $24.82 billion in 2009 to $22.3 billion in 2014.
Thus, through the documentation in several studies, it is obvious that the companies are becoming increasingly interested in their brand reputation and strongly support their Internet presence, at the same time when constant growth of investments in this sector is transforming from a concept to a reality. Linked2Media will be positioned in this market targeting the SMEs with an innovative and easy to use platform which will permit access to high level performance service with a reduced budget. Linked2Media foresees as a significant business opportunity to target and strengthen the competitiveness of the wide extent of European SMEs that either have not yet been involved in the provision or facilitation of similar services, or this far feel unsatisfied by the current Brand Reputation analysis services.

Business Value: The social media listening market is less than 10 years old, but its importance to companies across industries has grown at breakneck speed: More than 50% of marketers expect listening budgets grow by at least 5% in 2014. And social media gives firms access to the world’s largest focus group for customer insights on brands, products, policies, and customer experiences. While based on a report compiled by the media consultant BIA/Kelsey , small and medium companies in the US alone have spent roughly $1.6 billion in 2011 in managing their online reputations and it is expected that figure to grow to more than $5 billion by 2015. Although these figures include all aspects of services related to Online Brand Reputation Management, e.g. outsourcing services and consultancy, the market related to the provision of the appropriate analytical tools to support these activities, is anticipated to follow the same trends.
Another indirect way to observe the trends of this particular market is to investigate the trends of the Big Data Analytics market which is directly linked to it. The reason for the correlation between the two markets is the fact that Social Media Monitoring tools have to deal with continuously growing datasets that are coming from the social media platforms, this trend of having to deal with bigger and bigger datasets forces the companies who are offering SMM and OBRM services to invest and rely on Big Data Analytics solutions. Based on a forecast done by Gartner in 2012, we have the following figure for IT spending driven by Big Data Issues. A quick look in Figure 1, shows that IT spending related to Social and Content Analytics will grow from less than $3 billion in 2011 to near $5 billion in 2016. Social and Content Analytics are directly related to SMM and OBRM services. At the same time based on predictions made by the same company it is anticipated that the global revenues for the Social Media industry will reach $34 billion in 2016 in comparison to $12 billion in 2011. The growth of the Social Media industry supports also the growth of the SMM and OBRM markets that are directly linked to it, especially if the fact that 90% of the revenues are accounted to advertisement, is taken into consideration. Another important insight in the market under investigation can be derived by the information provided in Figure 3. Based on this, it is clear that the market growth has significantly slowed down from the previous years but a momentum still exists. Especially, if it is taken into consideration the number of merges and the recent introduction to the market of big IT companies like IBM and Cisco, it is evident that the market is maturing and enters a stable equilibrium point. These facts stand true mainly for the US sector of the market and the European in a lesser degree, while the Russian and Asian markets are still accelerating. Actually, commoditization of basic capabilities and the proliferation of new entrants help explain the rampant acquisition activity that has dominated this market since 2007, just a small example of how active the market is, is provided by a report done by Gleansight . As it is mentioned, in 2007 Nielsen acquired Buzzmetris and TNS acquired Cymfony. In 2008, J.D. Power acquired Umbria while WPP, which also has a stake in Visible technologies, acquired TNS, now part of this Kantar Media group. In 2009 Alterian acquired Techrigy which has previously acquired Andiamo systems while in 2010 Jive Software acquired Filtrbox, Attensity group acquired Biz360, Lithium Technologies acquired Scout Labs and Maritz Research acquired evolve24.

The market analysis that took place has a two-fold perspective: one the one hand, to highlight the significant business opportunity posed, given the fact that social media monitoring is still in an early adoption phase, on the other hand to stress the economic potential for the SMEs that will be interested in developing innovative tools and services and conduct a market validation before this service reaches maturity. The Linked2Media consortium incorporates proof-of-concept SMEs that will validate the efficiency, applicability and viability of the project results in specific domains. Nevertheless, the proposed platform and services may easily be configured to expand to other market domains. The consortium will strategically embrace international and multidisciplinary cooperation between partners with wide expertise in Web mining and Semantics to deliver the final results to the participating SMEsAG and their SMEs and facilitate the acquisition and utilization of globally available information sources for decision making. Linked2Media will facilitate research collaboration amongst researchers from geographically dispersed, multidisciplinary research groups, with focus on tackling a shared challenge, exchanging heterogeneous and large volumes of user generated data and brands related knowledge, and allowing their experiences to be socially shaped, leveraged and shared.
Linked2Media will expose information as linked data based on RDF/OWL and recommendations of the World Wide Web Consortium, and will be tightly integrated with Business and Trade linked datasets provided by other market research groups. Linked2Media will exploit linked data published to deliver the service on the web to the users.. The work of the global linked data community will ensure that the raw data collected during the project will already have an impact at very early stages of the project. This ensures that the rich data and models developed in the project will add value to the global research information infrastructure, independent of the success of other Linked2Media components, such as social networking and user interfaces. The development of the Linked2Media platform and methodology is independent from the market sectors and can be generalized. This is facilitated by the use of linked data standards, taxonomies and ontologies which offer data, schemas and vocabulary for a wide variety of market sectors. The impact of Linked2Media project is clearly of European dimension. The consortium is composed by partners bringing together diverse cultures and market potential. In order to highlight the strategic impact that Linked2Media may have on SMEs at pan-European level, we provide a consolidated view of the associated members of the participating associations, and the potentially interested in the project results SMEs, followed by an approximation of the potential turnover increase.

Improving European SMEs Competitiveness: Linked2Media aims at improving the capacity of European SMEs to develop and validate products and marketing campaigns and rapidly scale-up and their business activities and expand their business portfolios. It aims at strengthening their industrial competitiveness and have significant economic impact on them. Linked2Media aspires to facilitate the provision of enriched, powerful sector market analysis that will help the SMEs gain a competitive edge against their rivals in their specific market. It aims to foster focused Brand Reputation Analysis complementing and integrating sector market and competitor intelligence data into the platform.
At an intra-business level, the project aspire to facilitate sound decision-making for businesses with streamlined and customised analysis so as to assist the SMEs in taking crucial decisions that can initiate product launches or formulation of market strategies. Linked2Media aspires to provide the means for improved crises prevention and facilitate the provision of real time information for crisis management.
At an inter-business level, Linked2Media aspires to facilitate the synapses of efficient and effective strategic partnerships through the provision of targeted information that highlights industry trends and market players, as well as to increase technology take-up that may lead to the development of innovative products and services. From an economic perspective of view, Linked2Media can have significant impact on European SMEs through:
- The increase of the effectiveness of the marketing campaigns: Via a holistic environment, organizations will be able to access cutting-edge methodologies and techniques which will deliver dynamic, added-value and data intensive reports and alerts. The industrial end users will be able to receive advanced brand reputation analysis at competitive costs that will support the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. Linked2Media will support SMEs in identifying all of the business goals that will need marketing support, in defining the target and finally in measuring the actual effectiveness.
- The increase of the effectiveness of crises management: Linked2Media will be able highlight negative reputation and alert the SMEs that may now “proactively” avoid a negative media buzz.
- The increase of the productivity of knowledge workers’ informational tasks: Linked2Media will provide focused analysis to the end-users (SMEs) and will facilitate the definition of new analysis depending on the user specific needs. These features will signify the increase of the SME employees and policy makers’ productivity, by discarding the redundant information that exists in large extent on the social media.
- The increase of new opportunities awareness: targeted reportings companies will assist companies in identifying in real-time new market entry or new market sub-sectors approaching opportunities
- The increase of the efficiency of the innovation process: SMEs often lack adequate resources (competences, time, financial means, specialised personnel, etc.) to carry out R&D and innovation activities. Through Linked2Media platform, SMEs can gain knowledge about sector-specific news and speed up the conception and foresight phase of an innovation process, reducing at same time the related costs.

In addition to the above the project aspires to:
- Turn an innovative, and business-wise immature idea into a holistic technical solution aiming to resolve a recognized need common to a large number of SMEs at pan-European level, involving during the process key players and stakeholders from the whole value chain.
- Enable the participating SME-AGs and their members, as well as all SMEs at pan-European level interested in utilizing and exploiting the project results to increase their markets and extend/ internationalise their business activities"
- Facilitate collaboration between the industry and the academia, thus addressing possible synergies with education,
And in this sense strategically contribute to the objectives of the “Research for SMEs” concept.
Since Linked2Media is not focused only on one market sector, the aspired results may produce a positive impact transversal to many industrial sectors. In this way, the project goes beyond the call objectives and does not only meet its strategic and economic impact, but also paves the way for a new, exploratory approach for the solution of common problems of SMEs at pan-European level building upon a knowledge-based approach.

European Added-Value and Transnational Approach: Linked2Media acknowledges that the issue of Brand Reputation analysis is a topic requiring if not demanding a pan-European approach. There is much activity in European research at the moment that has addressed the issue of data gathering and turning it into valuable intelligence through semantics and Linked Open Data, but the focus on “Brand Reputation” data is not discussed as much.
The transnational approach in the Linked2Media project is justified on multiple levels:
- On the regulatory level, the transnational cooperation is required during the implementation phase of the project in order to collect, analyse and eventually meet the diverse and multidisciplinary rising requirements of the European Software and Services Industry and address the business needs of the enduser organizations (in particular SMEs) across the enlarged Europe. It is also required in order to actively contribute to and promote existing standards.
- On the technical level, the transnational approach is required during the implementation phase of the project in order to validate the efficiency and effectiveness of the developed tools and services in countries with diverse trends, cultures, philosophies, and of course ICT absorption. At the same time it is required after the implementation phase of the project in order to facilitate the establishment and increase of transnational technological cooperation amongst SME-AGs and between SME-AGs and research organisations or other organisations at the European level.
- On the scientific level, the transnational approach is required both during the implementation phase in order to gather the expertise required to achieve the quality and soundness aspired and required, as well as after the implementation phase in order to disseminate the know-how acquired to the research and academic communities.
- On the business and economic level, the multi-nationality of the consortium is essential after the implementation phase of the project in order to facilitate large-scale adoption and further utilization and commercialization of the project’s results, thus maximizing the Linked2Media exploitation potential.

Contribution to Standards: Linked2Media is bound to build upon and actively contribute to existing standards. The Linked2Media consortium plans to promote the Linked2Media Reference Architecture, models and common Cloud API to relevant standardization groups, like the ones identified in Section 1.2. Equally important though is the fact that the Linked2Media Reference Architecture and models will be designed in a way that they will be aligned with existing standards, such as NEXOF-RA, SIOC and FOAF. Linked2Media will map its Reference Architecture to the Networked European Software & Services Initiative (NESSI) Open Framework - Reference Architecture in order to remain compatible with this major European initiative. The standardization activities will be lead by NUIG and CERTH as both of them are members of standardization bodies, such as W3C and OASIS, and participate actively in many technical meetings and committees. NUIG, in particular, has significant experience in standardization activities, as it is leading the SIOC initiative [10], which recently became a W3C submission. The consortium paid special attention to the contribution to standards, and towards this end –if feasible - the Linked2Media partners tried to develop and submitted for publications the Linked2Media proposed standards within the first semester of the project duration.

Contribution to Policy Development: Linked2Media capitalizes and works towards the directions set by the recently issued Europe’s Digital Agenda. More specifically, Linked2Media respects, is coordinated with and aims to promote:
- Action 12: Review the EU data protection rules
- Action 51: Reinforce the coordination and pooling of resources
- Action 54: Develop a new generation of web-based applications and services
Linked2Media conforms to and builds upon the economic pillar of the Lisbon strategy. It facilitates the transition to a competitive, dynamic, open economy by empowering European Commercial and Industrial SMEs and strengthening their market presence by allowing them to listen to customers, prospects and social media users, to also identify trends and to gain insights to improve their overall marketing strategy and return of investment. Having a well-balanced consortium comprising of large SME associations, dynamic European Commercial and
Industrial SMEs and technology providers and world-leading research institutes, Linked2Media is bound to produce high-quality results that will benefit the European market and the European stakeholders and will boost both further research and development as well as the uptake of innovative technologies. Linked2Media is in line with and builds upon the priorities and the objectives set by the Future Internet Assembly, and the Bled Declaration in particular. Hence, the Linked2Media partners will coordinate their efforts towards:
- cross-disciplinary innovation and creativity;
- optimising the impact of the project’s results;
- creating the conditions for the deployment of services;
- communicating through open standards for Future Internet technologies and architectures;
- contributing to the definition and promotion of European positions within global forums and international standardization bodies active in the project’s field.
Being in line with the European Research Area vision and objectives, through its dissemination, exploitation and standardization activities Linked2Media facilitated the free circulation of researchers, knowledge and technology and will support European-wide cooperation and coordination.

The results of Linked2Media have significant impact in the market both at service provision as well as at technology provision level. The Linked2Media Platform were mainly attracted by the Marketing professionals in SMEs and also by big companies in the Tourism, Footwear, Food& Beverages and different economic sectors such as IT, construction and other located in Turkey, Spain, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Italy as well as the Digital Marketing Agencies.

Business demonstrations of the Linked2Media Platform were performed in 6 different business sites in Tourism, Footwear, Food& Beverages and different economic sectors such as IT, construction and other which are located in Turkey, Spain, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Italy approximately to 171 companies. Moreover, the Linked2Media Platform was disseminated in total to 2.315.950 companies. The SMEs and other companies in the above mentioned industries and countries, got aware that having an intelligent analysis of user generated content and other web information can be an effective sales driver and that getting company-specific results identifying strengths and weaknesses is a central activity for the organizations who want to stay on top. In this context, Linked2Media, given the analysis provided in section one of the current proposal, is bound to have significant impact on both the ways the research is being conducted: Brand reputation and Sector Market analysis.

- in Turkey the Linked2Media platform was disseminated to approximately 6000 companies in the Tourism industry which are mainly the travel agencies.
- in Spain the Linked2Media platform was disseminated to approximately 1413 companies in the Footware industry.
- in Greece the Linked2Media platform was disseminated to approximately 100 companies in the Food & Beverage industry.
- in Bulgaria the Linked2Media platform was disseminated to approximately 53000 companies in the different economic sectors such as Food and Beverages, Tourism, Clothing and Shoes, IT, construction and other.

Linked2Media will have significant impact on European SMEs through
- The increase of the effectiveness of the marketing campaigns
- The increase of the effectiveness of crises management
- The increase of the productivity of knowledge workers’ informational tasks
- The increase of new opportunities awareness
- The increase of the efficiency of the innovation process with a positive impact transversal to many industrial sectors.

Accordingly, not only the SMEs and companies in the above mentioned industries were got aware of the benefits of the use of Linked2Media Platform, but also business professionals working in those industries learnt the use of the platform and its effects in their business and work life. During the business demonstrators, the SMEs contributed by providing new ideas and features in order to improve the platform. This also showed the high necessity of the platform for the brand reputation analysis in social media.

Linked2Media is positioned in this market targeting the SMEs with an innovative and easy to use platform which will permit access to high level performance service with a reduced budget. The exploitation plans of the business sites which are the Linked2Media Project partners having full ownership of the platform and targeting their members and other SMEs revealed the need for the fast moving on the use and commercialization of the platform.

The platform was attracted not only by the SMEs but also by digital marketing agencies and some of the technology and tech service providers including Google.

List of Websites:
Website of the Project: http://www.linked2media.eu/
Contact Person: Leyla Arsan, Project Coordinator
leyla.arsan@tages.biz