Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Nobody puts Baby in a corner!

That title is a bit of an in-joke for me and my sister, as it's one of our stock phrases (and comes from the movie Dirty Dancing in case you are 80s pop culture-illiterate.) But it also illustrates my conflicting feelings about some recent developments in the ongoing discussions about blogs and metrics.

It all started Monday morning when pal Deb Schultz from SixApart let me know that they were the co-sponsors of a new survey of the blog landscape...focused on reader behavior.

The methodology has been much discussed (and maligned by some) but I'm no statistician, so that's not up my alley. Rick Bruner tries to address the major questions about methodology here.

Several people pointed out to me that in categorizing blogs, the survey indicated that blogs authored by women were the 4th most popular category of blogs read, behind political blogs, "hipster"/lifestyle blogs and technical blogs. And wasn't I, wearing my BlogHer hat, pleased about that?

This led to an interesting discussion between Dana from Pheedo (a man, and in the interest of disclosure, Pheedo is the creator of the Pheedo BlogHer ad network and will donate a portion of their ad revenues to BlogHer), Toby from Diva Marketing (a woman) and me.

Side note: Isn't it kind of funny that in this particular conversation one person was often taken as a woman because of his name, and the other often taken as a man because of her name? I thought so anyway.

-Dana thinks that the fact that women-authored blogs are the 4th largest group read is very validating to BlogHer's mission.

-I say, well, actually, I am not a huge proponent of a bunch of separate lists based on demographics, but rather BlogHer's ultimate mission is to get women's blogs better integrated into lists of authoritative voices by subject matter or topic or style etc. For example, talk came up during the conference of creating a BlogHer 100 as an alternative to the Technorati 100, and that has almost no appeal to me, personally. It would inevitably become as useless as any other broad Top 100 list (IMHO.)

Another side note: I was watching the show Master Blasters with the S.O. the other night (yes, I do make sacrifices for the relationship, who says I don't?) and one of the people on the challenging team was a woman, who they cited for holding the "woman's record for high altitude rocket launches", and the S.O. and I wondered briefly why women would have their own category for such a thing.

But I digress. back to our conversation...

-Dana, cringing in hopes that we don't think he's a "stupid guy" for asking, asks me if that means I don't buy into the philosophy of, say, Tom Peters, who thinks that marketing to women is what it's all about now.

-I spend some time crafting a lengthy response to Dana, but in the meantime Toby chimes in with the exact, succinct point I was trying to make:

"I think there's a difference in a market segmentation strategy and positioning women as credible authority figures e.g., in this case - authors/bloggers." - Toby Bloomberg

Exactly so.

I was only planning to be far more verbose and indeed couldn't resist expounding further:

The difference is "directional." When it comes to sending messages to women, a marketer would be crazy not to consider women, in general, a hot category. (They make or influence a huge majority of consumer purchases in this country.) And much as it can cause a kerfuffle to suggest there are differences based on gender, a marketer would also be crazy not to look at data, if it exists, about women and how they communicate and how the absorb info etc.

Depending on their marketing strategies they are eventually going to have to dig a little deeper or segment their approach a little more distinctly. But unless we're talking one-to-one approaches they're going to have to do some lumping of women together, and they're going to have to hope that their message appeals to a broad enough spectrum of women that it far outnumbers the minority who will feel offended or annoyed by the approach.

But when we're talking about what's coming from women...well, you don't have to wonder about what that particular woman is about...she presenting it to you. And then I think she should be stacked up against all the people outputting the same kind of stuff.

As Toby pointed out to me, I should clearly go for by-the-word payment :)

I would never advocate putting women, bloggers or otherwise, in their own "special" corner. I want to help them get to the center of the room. How do you do that?

Now that's BlogHer's real mission: education, community-building and exposure!

If a woman is writing a political blog, "hipster"/lifestyle blog or technical blog, does her blog get counted twice? Does her writing one of the top three types raise her "value" on the women bloggers list, and lift that whole group?

Only half kidding.

It's apples and oranges. Compare by topic, OK. Compare by gender, age, income, etc., OK.

But mixing them gives you pretty useless (read: invalid) results.
Well, yeah, exactly right too. I went and looked again at the report and it should be made clear that they tracked whether people visited a pre-selected 400 sites or not. And those sites were put into categories and could be put into more than one.

Draw your own conclusions about the usefulness.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?