Weblog Marketing: Bloggers Vs. Blaggers

This entry was posted on
Tuesday, June 11th, 2002
10:20 am and is filed
under Weblog Marketing.

The industry buzz has been getting louder and louder over the last few months, and weblogs are just about to go mainstream in a big way. This means that more and more companies will be approaching their chosen digital or marketing agency, asking about weblogs and how they might be exploited commercially.

Of course, having seen an article or two – and maybe even a real weblog – they’ll know what it’s all about. The marketing team will be equally prepared for action, because Geoff down in design has been running his own blog for weeks now (and is more than happy to sit in on a brainstorming session where he’s allowed to speak for a change).

Ta-dah! A weblog strategy is born!

Any actor will tell you that when a director asks you “Can you do ride a horse?” your answer is “Yes!” This leaves you with the single challenge of learning to ride (instead of, say, another month’s worth of auditions whilst living off popcorn cast-offs in the stairwell of the local cinema).

I don’t think I’m being overly cynical by suggesting that a design agency would behave in much the same way for much the same reason. If you doubt me, just take a look at the large number of viral agents and mechanisms that were produced over the last 18 months, almost purely because the client wanted one. Oh, wait; you wouldn’t have seen most of these. Because they were crap. And they weren’t viral. They did, however, closely resemble existing viral agents and mechanisms – and the important thing, of course, was to quickly wrestle the client to the ground in a Half Nelson while they had their guard down and their chequebook out.

Hordes of small businesses and individual entrepreneurs are equally likely to dig in and have a go themselves after reading yet another exciting article on the subject of weblog marketing.

I’m not suggesting for a second that the commercial world has no place in the weblog community, far from it. My only fear is that, should it become the buzzword of the season, that a lot of people who don’t know the first thing about it are going to start diving in the deep end (or maybe even having a sly pee in the shallows).

I’m sure the weblog community will be able to ride out the storm, but who wants to spend seemingly endless months being splashed by a bunch of hoons whilst swimming in a pool that’s 39% urine?

A lot of people have been convinced by past failures that viral marketing doesn’t work. This simply isn’t the case. It’s just that people who had no fucking idea what they were doing either commissioned or produced the majority of executions. This leads me to believe that a similar number of misguided ventures are going to result from the weblog buzz, and the hardcore bloggers will have the singular honour of being involved in a phenomenon that launches a million cheques, while still enjoying the relative poverty that comes with being a dedicated surfer with a short attention span.

(I should point out here that, while I do enjoy relative poverty and a short attention span, I don’t consider myself a hardcore blogger. Yet. I’ve merely been watching weblogs closely for about a year and, while I do run a moderately successful blog, there are many folks who have been doing it longer, bigger, harder and faster. Erm, and deeper. I’ll get back to the point now, before my trousers explode.)

In other words, I don’t think we just talked ourselves out of a community, but I do think that now is the time for the bloggers to speak up and take control of a few ‘real world’ initiatives before the blaggers take over the game and fuck it up for everyone.

About Tim Ireland

Tim is the sole author of Bloggerheads.
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