What is all the fuss about? Really.
A month or so ago, Nikon launched a blogger relations campaign aimed at PR and marketing bloggers. Gave 'em use of a digital SLR camera. Seemed to have covered all the bases for doing blogger relations -- transparency, clarity, targeted pitch, etc.
And then whoops, the accusations of blogola started. Eric Eggertson summarizes some of them here. Mack Collier of the Viral Garden also had a problem with it, as well as with a CBS outreach around the TV program The New Adventures of Old Christine (more on that in another post later this week).
Just exactly what is the problem with asking influential customers and potential customers to try out products? It's part of Western culture. And has been as far back as we have had commerce.
By appointment to the Queen was all about patronage; merchants supplied goods to the sovereign and other nobles as a way of advertising their wares. And it still happens -- the couture houses and high end jewelers like Harry Winston bend over backwards to get the chance to dress and bejewel the big name celebrities and top actresses. Not because us regular folk can afford the stuff we see them wear. But because we just might buy something from company's "off the rack" product line.
Advertising, for good or for ill, is based on the idea that we, the customers, will buy things used by people like us or people we want to be like. Because guess what? We will.
If a blogger has influence with other people like him, it's a smart business move to reach out to him. If you sell a tangible product that you can let her try, why wouldn't you let a blogger try it out? Marketing 101: get someone to TRY something, you are nearly there.
As long as everything is done in the light of day, as long as you don't tell her what to say, what's the problem? Calling it blogola, as in payola, implies some sort of secret dealings. Umm, maybe I'm missing something, but Nikon's campaign seems pretty above board.
Unless of course you didn't get a camera....
Seriously, if a company has confidence in its products and is willing to put them out on trial, we should applaud, not deride, their efforts. Sure, they are trying to sell something. So what. I'm just glad to see them extending their outreach beyond the glitterati and beyond traditional media.
Even if I didn't get a camera :-)
Tags: blogola, blogger relations, Nikon
Posted @ 9:06PM in Blogger relations
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"And then whoops, the accusations of blogola started. Eric Eggertson summarizes some of them here. Mack Collier of the Viral Garden also had a problem with it, as well as with a CBS outreach around the TV program The New Adventures of Old Christine (more on that in another post later this week).
To clear the air, I actually did receive a D80 and am one of the 50 bloggers participating in the Picture This campaign that The MWW Group is running for Nikon. And I have no problem with Nikon's effort, or CBS'. My problem is in the execution, because I think both initiatives have/had a golden opportunity to collect valuable feedback from bloggers, and aren't taking advantage of it. Apparently all CBS did was smooze some mommy bloggers on the set, and throw freebies at them and hope they go home with stars in their eyes and gush about how great the show is. That's fine, but why not ALSO actually TALK to these bloggers and ask them how CBS can utilize social media effectively? Is throwing freebies at bloggers a feasible social-media plan for the long-term?
Same with Nikon. There's nothing baked into the program to collect feedback from the participants. That's a HUGE mistake IMO, and I've blogged that, and told MWW that as well. I've been told that these feedback mechanisms are coming, but have yet to see them.
And I think there's plenty right about the Nikon campaign. We are under ZERO obligation to blog about the D80s, and IF we do, then we are requested to disclose our involvement in the program. Many companies would never go for that. Nikon and MWW were smart enough to give us the freedom to go with it if we wanted to.
Do I think either program is 'bad'? No, I just think that both could be more effective. Now having said that, I still think that Nikon's campaign is one of the better, if not best 'blogger outreach' program so far.
Mack, thanks for the comment. And my apologies. Rereading my post, I realize I did not make it clear that your objections were not because of blogola, but on other grounds, which I am going to address at more length in another post. That's what you get for posting late at night I guess :-)
I'm with you, Susan. Journalists and pundits can speak out in favor of things as long as they disclose any relevant relationships or transactions. Politicians advocate for the interests that contribute to campaigns, and that's all disclosed as well.
Ironic that they're holding bloggers to a higher standard.
Bravo, Susan. You said it better than I did! Freebies are fine as long as they are disclosed. Let readers make their own judgments.
I think (Amanda == A man, duh...) is just trying to emulate Walter Winchell.
I've gotten value from the loaner. Nikon has gotten value from loaning me the camera. And both Nikon and myself have been transparent about the process.
With this program, they've also helped Grassroots Journalism in the American Midwest. That's a good thing, something other corporations should be trying to do.
K. Paul Mallasch - New Media Publisher