Stock photo site Fotolia's founder, Thibaud Elziere, has just invested a small amount into a new company called mention, a social media monitoring service launching today. Elziere is also a co-founder at mention, which was developed by a European team of five, based in Paris and Brussels. While clearly a crowded space, mention is somewhat different in that it's targeting individual users and small businesses, as opposed to the enterprise. The business model is a freemium offering, with a certain number of "mentions" free per month, then low rates ranging from $5-$9/month for additional tracking. We've covered a number of social media monitoring firms in recent weeks, like Brandwatch, for example, which just raised $6 million to expand to the U.S., and we've tracked major moves in the space, like Salesforce's acquisition of Radian6 last year and Visible Technologies grabbing $6 million in March 2011. We've also taken a look at new startups like Meltwater's launch of Buzz Engage, Disrupt Battlefield company AlphaOutlook, and YC-backed Crowdbooster, just to name a few of the more popular stories. But mention feels different from many of those types of businesses because it seems to be less focused on targeting big brands and more on providing individuals and smaller businesses access to lower-cost tools. "It's like Dropbox or Evernote," says Elziere, "it can be used by individuals." Of course, the tools in question are much simpler, too. Mention doesn't offer analytics-filled dashboards, historical tracking data, details on key influencers, or integrations with in-house systems. Instead, it merely provides a simple app for tracking what's being said about you, your business, or any other keyword you may want to follow. However, a small team could use the app together, as it does support the ability for one user to "assign" a task to another within the application. The app also uses custom "anti-noise" technology that helps users to cut down on the spam. Explains Elziere, "when I look for a keyword like 'Paris,' for example...I would get many mentions, but I would also get mentions for 'Paris Hilton,' which I don't care about." "Our technology uses an adaptive filter, so when you delete mentions about Paris Hilton, it will learn, and the next mention about Paris Hilton would be automatically deleted," he adds. Mention, which was built using newer technologies like backbone.js, node.js, Qt and Webkit, is available now as a web app, a Chrome app, as downloadable software for Windows, Mac and Linux, and will arrive on the iPhone in two weeks, with an iPad app and Android app to follow. It supports three languages (English, French and German), and can track sources across 42 different languages, but no support for translation, unfortunately. It sources content from the usual places - blogs, websites, forums, Google News, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ (coming this week). Elziere says that the team is now working on beefing up the product's features, and plans to soon add support for multiple Twitter accounts, enhanced capabilities to reply, like and comment on mentions from within the application (instead of having it open pop-up windows as it does now), support for additional sources (they're looking into Pinterest), and more. If you're interested in trying out mention for yourself, you can download it here.
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