So the WSJ claims in an article published today. Although this article contains some interesting nuggets on the growth of blog advertising, I found several paragraphs particularly interesting.
Weblogs founder Jason Calacanis [states], customer-friendly companies need not be timid. "If you're hiding from your customers, you don't like their feedback, you treat your customers terribly, blogs are the worst place to be," he says, adding, "PR people and hype-based marketers are not doing well in the blogosphere."
Jason is a forthright and often controversial member of the blogging community. While I don't always agree with him, he is so right on target in this article that clearly focuses on the overall timidity of advertisers to stand up and be counted in a medium where "holy crow" they might even be criticized by an unfettered press.
I have grown weary of endless drivel about companies needing to be "market sensing" and then closing themselves off from their market by only seeking to see and be seen where soft, kind words are said. The message is clear.
If the blogosphere is hostile, that's your customers speaking. So ,listen up!!!
The second "chilling" paragraph is at the end of the article.
For now, many big companies are sitting on the sidelines. "We're in a wait-and-see mode," says Stuart Bogaty, senior partner and managing director of mOne Worldwide, a digital ad agency that is part of WPP Group. He thinks that companies will remain skittish until agencies can better monitor and control what individual bloggers are saying about them. On the other hand, that might undercut their renegade appeal. "If we were able to convince a blogger to do that," he notes, "it would reduce the value of his blog in general."
The most chilling comment is "monitor and control." I don't so much mind the monitoring part, since that is part of what good marketers are supposed to do, but the "control" part bothers me, for it calls into question the objectivity of all media that accepts advertising. Is the media in fact "controlled" by the advertiser. Ask many bloggers, and these citizen journalists would proclaim that mainstream media is not only not objective but has been bought and sold by advertisers.
One of the most interesting ongoing arguments that I have been following is about editorial responsibilities of bloggers. This statement would suggest that advertisers expect the journalist to be a "poodle on a leash" and that editors are merely leash holders.