My friend Brian Oberkirch over at WeblogsWork says that his firm is getting more and more requests for this sort of service and that this should be a given for any PR firm. Funny, I was just about to write about this as something PR services need to adopt.
As I've stated before, PR firms in this new Conversational Era need to focus their efforts from pushing messages out to facilitate conversations between clients and their constituencies. The hardest part for new business clients is understanding how the tools work, and how to use them to listen better to conversations they did not start themselves.
I'm still learning to master Technorati, PubSub, Feedster and Bloglines. I've abandoned a few others. For businesses just trying to get their arms around it all, these tools are as hard to master as they are important to understand. This is a place for a PR agency to jump in. Use them to listen and learn for your clients. Serve as an early warning system for what is being said by both topic and company. Over time, these tools will get easier and an intermediary will not be used, but not in the near term.