Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Those wacky bloggers? Or are they really just canaries in the consumer coal mine?

Meet Gina.

Unless I'm misunderstanding her post she saw in her referrer logs that some marketing company read her blog and probably linked to it in some private report on their site. She got hits from people reading that report and visiting her site, but she herself could not get to the referrer link without a log-in.

This is what Gina thinks of companies "snooping around the web" listening to what bloggers say about products:
Basically, they are in league with advertisers and snoop around the World Wide Web (is it still really supposed to be capitalized anymore?) searching for what us nice, unsuspecting bloggers have to say about products and the like.

Well, let me tell you, Unnamed Jerk Company, I don't know how I got onto your little list, but I want off!

Now, I'm sure some of you out there are thinking: jeez, lighten up lady...don't you wacky bloggers want readers?

But Gina is making a point I try to make to clients all the time: it's not just the quantitative stats about a blogger you should care's the subjective, qualitative nature of the blogger too.

Think I'm ever gonna email Gina with any idea or blog post or anything, even if I read her blog religiously and know it's right up her alley? No, I'm not because she has made her feelings clear...and they need to be respected. It would not matter if she was the number one read blogger on a topic my client's company cares about.

Listening to and participating in the blogosphere means listening even when they say "keep out!"

I was watching Larry King one night when he was interviewing Donald Trump and he said something about bloggers and said, "that's what all the bloggers are saying" and Donald Trump said he didn't know what that meant. Larry King said, "I don't know either, I just know all the bloggers agree, it's on my pad right here."

I laughed and laughed, but also was a little annoyed that the term "blogger" lumps everyone into one group.
Well, given my choices, I am going to pick "canary in the coal mine."

That post was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but there is an underlying tone of exasperation to it.

Advertising is so pervasive in our society that most people are just getting tired of it.

Witness the pressure upon Congress to institute the "Do Not Call" list and its subsequent popularity, the rush to subscription tv and radio to avoid all the commercials, the universal hatred of junk mail, the plethora of spam-blocking and anti-spy software, as well as our own Blogger-instituted word verification system.

I viewed that particular company's activities as akin to eavesdropping. Are people conversing in a public place? Yes. Despite that, do we consider it ethical to eavesdrop? At best, I would think it is considered impolite.

I realize that everyone has the right to make a living, and that consumer spending due to low interest rates is what has spurred the economy in the past few years. But, there has to be a balance. And I don't think it has been found yet.

And, I really do like commenters, by the way.
Thanks for commenting Gina :)

Most blogging evangelists talk about "listening" to the blogosphere, assuming that all bloggers want to be paid attention to as they blog about their lives. You bring up the fact that there are many who are probably horrified by the idea, and don't feel "flattered" by the attention.
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