February 21, 2008

The Power of Bloggers

Since participating to a couple of bloggers' events and speaking with other bloggers, I've noticed how one of the "hot" and recurring theme of the night is usually the "us bloggers and our place in the world".

In the beginning, bloggers were completely dismissed by all other established medias, and then, after some time, somewhat recognized, and then again, despised by them.

These mixed feelings are understandable, especially if you consider the number of bloggers out there, and it's easy to see how publications/magazines/companies could feel threatened by this phenomenon and wished for its demise.

Except bloggers are growing and getting stronger every day.

So, like it or not, many people in prominent positions and with all kinds of journalism and communication degrees have had to "slum" and acknowledge this or that blogger along the way. All of it, of course, done with repressed disgust and with condescending attitude. But that's what makes it all that much sweeter to me... because they had no other choice. ;)

Another change that has happened because of bloggers: companies have lost that, once untouchable, total control over how their products are presented to the public, and now find themselves at the mercy of these amateurs writers, and have learned the hard way what a bad review from a reputable blogger can do to one of their products.

For this reason (damage control) a blogger friend of mine was approached by a very famous beauty brand (I won't mention any names because I don't want to cause her any troubles, but you can be sure if it had been me, you would have seen that company's name spelled out in BIG colorful letters with fireworks in the background!). While meeting with the representative of this brand I've written about on few occasions, my friend was given a third degree about what her blogging intentions were, what her feelings were toward their brand, and most importantly, she was made very aware how bad reviews from bloggers could be detrimental to many companies and to their products. Nooo, really??

Basically, what this woman wanted to do was meet my friend and establish some kind of "friendly" relationship, to hopefully avoid any future "less than stellar" reviews of their products on her blog.

She then proceeded on sealing the deal by offering my friend a nice swag bag full of products...

All of this got me thinking about the blogging world vs. the established media.

In the past, a company would approach the advertising media and after careful review (with creative directors and focus groups involved) the "perfect ad" would appear on the magazine, on TV, on the billboard, and would say "exactly" what they wanted it to say.

Today, this is what's happening because of bloggers:

The consumer is finally getting an honest opinion about a product and is not subjected to just paid advertising after paid advertising.
Of course giants are trembling!

I think what companies should really focus on is not keeping the bloggers happy/quiet, but putting better products on the market, that way everybody wins.


Alison at Wardrobe Oxygen said...


Roxy said...

What a wonderful, well thought out piece! Thanks so much for publishing it online. It's nice for "the little people" to not only have a venue to express their thoughts and opinions but to be earning respect for them as well. Woohoo ...


Anonymous said...

I think over the years, pple have grown wiser and have become skeptical of what they read on the mass media. Whereas for blogs, it's a personal view and pple associate that with forthright and honest views.

But now that companies are reaching out to bloggers, there's also a dilemma. Can we remain as objective? I see three camps. One group staying true, one group standing on the fence, and another group swinging to the sides of the companies. Where do we want to be?

Shannon Nelson said...


NY Spender said...

Thank you ladies, I'm glad you've enjoyed it!

you raise a very good point.
I can only hope that people will be able to discern a genuine blogger from one that has gone to the "other side". Honesty is what has given blogs the power they have today, so disguising lies as sincere opinions will definitely hurt your reputation as a blogger. Unfortunately, if this spreads (bloggers ready to write anything for a buck) it could definitely hurt us all as a result (people could eventually start doubting all bloggers).

Anonymous said...

ditto 'hear hear'!

another example: http://www.whatshauteblog.com/2007/03/gucci-sucks-conclusion.html

Anonymous said...

I agree - I like how blogging about products forces companies to be accountable for the quality of their products.

Anonymous said...

Gee, I hoped to make money on my blogs but it never occurred to me that I could get SWAG! Drat, why didn't I think of that sooner?

So, my blog can work just like network television - a 37 minute hour and a couple of "now a word from our sponsors"?

I'm in the money, I'm in the money. . . .LOL.

Erika said...

I love blogging! I have no idea what I would do without it!

Anonymous said...

The consumer power that results from blogging is awesome. Many companies pay for focus groups, so it helps them too! Produce better goods and services and everyone wins. Being bombarded with advertising isn't the only way.