Sunday, December 3, 2006

Are Bloggers Giving Away The Cow?

Even a cursory glance at Christmas Sale reports show us that more and more people are using the Internet, letting their fingers to the shopping as sites are visited, credit cards are used, and consumers sit back to have a sip of wine before hunting for another site on which to spend their hard earned cash. There are companies who now make billions of dollars in revenues running ads for this new group of online customers, the biggest perhaps Google with it's adsense program where companies can get their products listed on our blogs. Ever hopeful, we sign up for these programs hoping to see enough funds rolling in for perhaps a bottle of wine, or perhaps a weekend away in some secluded bed and breakfast, but that dream for most never quite comes true. Yet look at GOOGLE...it's stock is now selling at the $500 a share mark, and a small handful of people have become BILLIONAIRES thanks to you and me.

How many of us have written flowing articles about this or that product, or a car that has captured our attention? A picture here, a link there, then a glowing report about the latest must have toy, a free advertisement that our own loyal readership consumes with glee, leaving us a comment or if there is a ranking system perhaps a TEN for a job well done. A few of us get lucky on occasion, companies tossing us a bone, perhaps free samples of their products in the hopes such will generate an article that will make its rounds. Some (very few) have scored a laptop, or perhaps a free mobile home...cheap compensation for advertising moving from home to home. If you write a product review that is read and passed around 500 times, what should it's value be, how much should you be paid? If some advertising firm is offering you $4 dollars to write an article recommending a particular item up for sale, posting on your blog a part of the deal, how much are they making, how much are they being paid?

I'm no different in my blogs, the various programs for clickers sitting in my side bar, myself watching statistics, hoping for a click...it's a ruse, something to keep us all distracted from the REAL VALUE of our blogs...it's not the side bars that the companies want, it's the blogs themselves that count. The real value added is those articles we do write, and all of them we post are put up absolutely FREE at least 90 percent of the time. Perhaps it is time that all of us take down posts and blogs that provide a service to companies that they are not having to spend a dime for...perhaps it is time that some of us group together, and offer up our services, but demanding payment for services rendered in writing up a glowing article about their products which they want to sell to you and me.

On one of my blogs, I've put up three glowing articles for products up for sale in the past week alone. I know from my statistics that the companies featured saw and read the piece, their foot prints found in the statistics that I compile...do you think any of them bothered to leave a comment offering up a thanks? Was there an email offering me up at least a coupon by which I could save ten cents the next time I went out to shop...of course not. Trust me bloggers, we are the grease between the cogs, the conduit that makes the Internet a viable place on which to shop...it is time that we figure out a way that we all share in the the revenue pie that is being shared.

On Advertising: Advertisers creating online buzz, blog to blog

By Doreen Carvajal / International Herald TribunePublished: December 3, 2006

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/12/01/business/ad04.php

PARIS: When the maker of Canderel, an artificial sweetener, cast about for strategies to reach a young, trendy female market, it relied on the breezy counsel of the Buzz Angels, bloggers variously known as Eklektic, Velvetine 2 and Miss Blablabla.

This digital match between fashion-conscious French bloggers and Merisant, the sweetener company based in Chicago, was forged by Buzz Paradise, a year-old advertising agency based in Luxembourg that specializes in word-of-mouth marketing campaigns painstakingly waged blog to blog.

Since Buzz, an arm of Vanksen Group, was started last year, executives have shepherded brands from Candarel to Nokia telephones through this loud and raucous universe in search of publicity and credibility. With a growing registration list of 5,000 bloggers in about 10 countries, it essentially enlists participants to sample products in the fervent hope that ultimately they will be inspired to write about it. No pressure though.

"Our role is very clear with brands," said Emmanuel Vivier, the managing director of Vanksen. "We give products, but we are not going to expect something always positive at the end."

The evolving corporate focus on "blog placement" is part of an intensifying trend, with elite bloggers receiving gifts like show tickets and bottles of Champagne.

Intel, the chip maker, doled out free laptops to six well-known bloggers who were invited to muse about blogging over a six-week period.

There is a video circulating online that pictures four German bloggers careening around a racetrack in a shiny red Opel Astra. All of them received free use of the Astra cars for four weeks plus allowances as part of blogging project for Opel.

In recent months, the gifts and invitations have multiplied, according to an Italian blogger, Luca Conti, who lists himself as a "conversational media consultant."

2 comments:

Emmanue Vivier (Buzzparadise.com) said...

Dear Royce, to begin with, thank you to mention Buzzparadise.com :) Regarding your article, it is clear that brands are definitely watching more and more the blogosphere as a space to interact with to promote their businesses. But there is a thin line not to cross... we are realy in the middle both defending the members of our community since we regularly work with them (based on the trust they have in us) and the business of the brands we work with. We always tried to motivate brands to offer a real experience of their products, services vs advertising. Then they need to respect our members freedom of opinion. Finally it is all about having a conversation which means listening to the feedback (good or bad) on a ongoing base and not only doing a one shot promo while "abusing" bloggers influence. This market is very new, and constantly evolving and we learn everyday... thank you for your opinion...

Porgie Tirebiter said...

Emmanue:

Thanks for your well written comment on my blog...suppose for myself, as one who has created numerous blogs as I search for my own voice and niche here in the bloggosphere, is that I am seeing big business and advertising experts using us, while not really rewarding us in any measurable way, which creates a one way benefits street.

It's a growing trend...look at the efforts on the part of news agencies to get FREE photographs by enticing citizens to become citizen journalist/photographers. Stringers get paid a fee for their photographs, yet we now have CNN, Reuters and Yahoo...as examples, encouraging us to give away what we have for a small fleeting byline on the six oclock news.

I see blogs in much the same fashion...human nature being what it is, there is a good chance most bloggers are going to toss a kind review of a product for a few free samples. At first blush, this seems perhaps like a fair exchange, but is it? If I were getting a $3,000 laptop for running it through it's paces, it would be a win win situation for both company and blogger...but in the case of the article I sited, is some free sugar substitute a fair exchange for say the glowing words of say 30 bloggers posted on the world wide web? If the company is going to link to product reviews on blogs, they are only going to link to POSITIVE REPORTS...in this framework, the company wins, the advertising firm wins, but do the BLOGGERS really win? What is fair compensation if say 200 people read the bloggers review? If the company had a link to said positive review, thus driving traffic to it, should they be paying a FEE to the blogger for each customer that clicks on the link to go read said article review?