Weblogs aren't just weblogs anymore. I've noticed some very real changes in the last few months--all as a direct result of publishing a weblog:

  • I've been finding myself on more and more PR related mailing lists.
  • I've received numerous solicitations for advertisement on my weblog. In fact, I got a phone call about another scheme an hour ago. So far I've been experimenting with Google AdSense but have rejected all others because they're a horrible fit, don't target my readers, or are simply bad deals. I don't mean to imply I'm happy with AdSense either. Their contextual targeting seems quite poor on a lot of my content, so I need to dig into that a bit more. Ads that are not relevant are a waste. It's a shame there are no real AdSense competitors. DoubleClick and Overture, where are you?!
  • I get product and service announcements sent specifically to me, asking for coverage on my weblog, and many of them have begun to carry terms like those that Om Malik has been seeing. At first I thought this was the result of being on editors@linux-mag.com but upon more careful inspection I've found that it's not related. So far, I've posted a few of them to my linkblog. Most are simply not appropriate for my weblog.
  • Folks in the media have begun quoting weblogs in a way that suggests they're almost substitutes for interviews. The problem, of course, is that weblogs are different than interviews--especially in a journalistic context.
  • It seems that some of the things I wrote about last March have come back to haunt me in surprising ways. It's really too bad, but that's life I guess.

Companies large and small are realizing that weblogs are a very important communications medium. The interesting thing in all this is that some companies and journalists seem to really get weblogs while others are either [blissfully?] ignorant or are fighting them in one way or another. Seeing the differences first hand sure is interesting.

My question to the companies that are fighting them is simple: Do you think we're going away?

(Also: which do you thinks sounds more authentic to the average person, a press release (or e-mail spam) full of marketing speak or a weblog written by a normal person? Think hard about why Amazon's user reviews are so important to their web site.)

My question to the companies that are blissfully ignorant: What's wrong with your PR, sales, and corporate communications people?

See Also: Scoble on Corporate Blogging.

Posted by jzawodn at February 19, 2004 04:59 PM

Reader Comments
# Scott Johnson said:

Good points Jeremy. That a corporation could be ignorant of blogs at this point seems like a bad thing, but I bet that over 75% of corporations have no idea what a blog is.

on February 19, 2004 10:40 PM
# Patrick Berry said:

Somebody actually stood up at a shareholders meeting and said "Zawodny said blah blah blah, how do you answer that?"

on February 19, 2004 11:24 PM
# Jeremy C. Wright said:

My blog's been quoted in a few journalistic pieces that I'm aware of, but the journalist always calls to ask for permission and for an addendum interview, just in case I have more to say. That's what happened with the 2 Google interviews in the Washington Post.

But yeah, if someone was quoting directly from my blog I'd be a bit upset. A blog is my thoughts at that moment. Developing, fuming, whatever. If you want my full thoughts, ask!

on February 20, 2004 06:17 AM
# Peter Caputa IV said:

I think this conversation is long overdue and should continue. There are obviously a lot of bloggers trying to make a living out of blogging (eg weblogsinc, gawker). Their models are advertising and sponsorship revenue. However, i think blogs could be better leveraged by PR people and product design/marketers to stimulate conversation about new products, ideas, etc in order to get feedback and to expose people to a new product.

I understand why bloggers wouldn't want to accept payment for PR/advertising. For many bloggers, maintaining their editorial independence is very important and rightly so.

Nonetheless, I've been thinking a lot about how the best way to approach people about blogging about my company. Simply, because it is the best way to get feedback and exposure at the same time.

Here are my questions: Do you think it would be unreasonable to ask a blogger for a review about a website, company? Would it be appropriate to propose paying a blogger for a review? Paying for it ahead of time, so that the blogger would be free to publish a negative review. The blogger could make full disclosure that they've been paid for the review and if the review is bunk, it'll quickly be called out by the blogging community.

Look forward to some feedback.

on February 20, 2004 01:29 PM
# Anita Campbell said:

Re your comments about Amazon reviews being so important, you couldn't be more right!

I used to run a very popular motorcycle website. We had something called Rider Reviews, where people could post a review of their favorite bikes.

We had professional reviews, too, from the top print magazines. But people wanted the user reviews! They were more popular by a factor of 10-to-1. Why? Because users got unadulterated information -- no hype, no marketing, just "real talk."

Of course, if we were doing it all over again now, we'd have a motorcycle blog as part of the site. Or probably several...sport bikes, cruisers, dirt bikes, four wheelers, etc....

On a related note, you probably also know that Blogcritics.org provides blogger book reviews to Advance sites such as Cleveland.com.
It's another example of getting it "straight" from the people.

on February 20, 2004 06:25 PM
# John Battelle said:

Totally agree. For what it's worth, I wrote up the importance of this in a column a few months ago, out this month thanks to the dead tree press process....in 2.0 and on my site. I think in a year or two's time, nearly everyone who works in business at a ceratin level will be reading syndicated feeds via an aggregator. Why? Because if they don't, they are out of the loop...

on February 20, 2004 09:13 PM
# Christoph said:

Hi Jeremy,

Maybe give AdSonar a try - that's Overture's contextual text ad program... I am using it for a few days now and in general I have the feeling they target a little better than AdSense I had before... of course their program is still beta...

AdSonar can be checked out at my own weblog


on February 21, 2004 11:59 AM
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