We all know that marketers are targeting bloggers, hoping to get some word-of-mouth going. And it seems they are going after mommy bloggers in particular, no doubt influenced by recent stats that say most moms prefer receiving advice about products from other moms. Here’s an anecdote that appeared in Saturday’s National Post from the recent Motherlode conference in Toronto, where Jen Lawrence of MUBAR (Mothered Up Beyond All Recognition) spoke.
When she wrote a wry post about the idiocy of Tom Cruise, her blog hit the mainstream and she was deluged: “Would I be interested in sampling a baby blanket worth several hundred dollars? Would I be interested in offering my readers access to exclusive [advertising] content? Would I like two tickets to the sold-out show of my daughter’s favourite TV character?
According to the story, Ms. Lawrence — a former banker turned blogger — says “the extent to which these blogs are becoming commercial ventures should give pause to the mothers who turn to them for sage counsel”:
“It is an open and honest medium with such great potential for community-building and I just hate the idea that marketers are actively trying to infiltrate our conversations.”
Throughout the blogosphere, the same conundrum keeps cropping up. Blogs are a direct conduit to people who care about a particular subject, and the fact that they are open and honest also makes them tremendously appealing to marketers, who naturally want to hitch a ride on all that openness. But then marketing — particularly if done badly (see the Edelman-Wal Mart controversy) inevitably detracts from the very things that make blogs powerful in the first place. It’s a Catch-22. Of course, Rob Hyndman says that blogs aren’t always as honest as we might want to think they are.