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Blogvertising – Blog off or blog on? September 3, 2006

Posted by britishbullblog in Blogging, Blogvertising, Geek, General, Internet, Questioning.
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I watched the latest epsiode of the BBC News 24 show >Click and they discussed, all be it briefly, the issue of online advertising. However, in amongst the debate of pop-ups, overlays and paying search engines, they looked at the issue of blogvertising.

Blogvertising is basically when advertisers pay ‘respectable’ bloggers to endorse products. The question the programme raised was ‘Is this in the spirit of what a blog is?’ Tim Phillips, technology journalist was quoted on the show as saying

“The whole thing defeats itself. Either they don’t say that they’ve been paid, in which case it becomes a time bomb and it immediately self-destructs if it comes out that they’ve been paid to do it. Or they do say they’ve been paid, in which case they lose the respect of the community they’ve built up.”

The definition provided by the Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang for the word ‘blog’ is –

An Internet website containing an eclectic and frequently updated assortment of items of interest to its author.

I have some reservations about this term for a blog. Whilst it would perhaps surfice as a very generic term to cover the majority of blogs, it does not go anywhere near to really defining the nature of blogs in their entirety. Some blogs are not just an eclectic mix of ramblings, but rather more focussed with their content.

If a blogger creates and develops a blog that is about something specific and then gains a significant readership as a result, does that not give some value to the opinions being expressed by the blogger. If it does, then wouldn’t it be of benefit to the readership if the blogger promoted products thet s/he felt were worth promoting? Well, no.

This is where blogvertising falls done as it does with all advertising when being endorsed. Why should you trust the opinion of someone that is getting paid to say something is great? Of course they’re going to say ‘yeah, this new mobile phone is the best’ because they’re getting paid a wedge to do so!

So, should bloggers be allowed to advertise and promote products via their blog? In my opinion, yes, what they do with their blog is up to them. If they do and readership falls, well, it was their call. If readers purchase products solely on the basis of an endorsement and it turns out the product sucks, well, they’ve learnt the hard way. Don’t by into products purely on the basis of advertising and I don’t me just endorsements, but any advertising.

Let advertising spark an interest, but then research the product, try it out if you can, ask other consumers what they thought of it. If you do this then you will save yourself a considerable amount of grief and money.

My advice is to become a discerning consumer, not a foolish one.

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Comments»

1. britgirl - September 5, 2006

As you say, I’m not sure we can say that bloggers shouldn’t be allowed to advertise a product as at the end of the day the blog is theirs, what they choose to do with it is their own business. Blogs would just be thel latest medium – what do you think reader reviews are?Endorsements. Products endorsed by people who have used them. And if peoople didn’t buy products through advertising, the industry would be dead. Like it or not, that, in the main, is what the majority of consumers do.

Endorsements are a particularly powerful form of advertising – which is why it’s coming to blogs. Think Tiger Woods – American Express. Kate Winslet – American Express. Tiger Woods – Nike. Etc, etc. I’ll bet Nike are beating down Roger Federer’s door with Million $$ endorsements as we speak 🙂 And that’s just sports!

Having said that, your point is a good one. If I understand rightly it centres around credibility and that is a call that the blogger will have to make. For a blogger, if they are being paid to endorse, I would doubt what they say about the product. But their blog has a steady stream of loyal readers, they might believe the blogger (because they think he/she is credible) and buy the product.

Personally, right now I would rather not endorse a product on my blog unless I was actually using it and believed in it.(it’s funny but I was approached just today to endorse a product on my blog). I say right now, because I never say “never”, but frankly I think it would detract from what I want to get from blogging. But others will see this as a way of making easy money. At the end of the day, as you say, it should be “Buyer Beware.”

2. britishbullblog - September 9, 2006

Caveat emptor indeed!


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