Fri, 18 Feb 2005

Paying bloggers as a way to get businesses engaged rather than removed

JD Lasica has a terrific article on the Marqui paid blogging imbroglio -- The cost of ethics: Influence peddling in the blogosphere. JD's background is journalism, so he goes into more depth and writes more carefully than the bloggers.

It turns out that the company is happy with the results:

Marqui believes the program has been a monumental success. The company has gone from 2,000 mentions on Google in October to 155,000 mentions today. The blog program has morphed, King said, from being a vehicle for reaching developers into "the cornerstone of our branding."

Marqui underestimated the impact its bloggers would have on the company.

"Nobody knew what would happen," King said. "We're now doing demand creation and market research in real time. We get immediate feedback on the plusses and minuses of our product. It has proved to be a transformative experience for us as a company because you have to stay constantly in touch with your bloggers and your customers and responding to what their needs are. I think that's been good for us. Including bloggers in the mix changes not only your marketing approach but your entire corporate culture."

If this is a company that is now engaged rather than removed, that makes them more valuable to their clients. I love doing business with Vonage and hate doing business with Verizon because the former are engaged and the latter are removed. The hope is that Marqui's customers will now have the same sense of connection and, for the company, brand loyalty.

On the ethical issues JD raised, Eric Rice couldn't take it any more:

Ultimately, I think the real problem is, that the blogging vs. journalism thing has blown so far out of proportion, that it's forgotten that bloggers are real people, with real desires to a) get free shit, b) get paid, and c) don't give a fuck what people think.
Amen, brother. I gotta make a living, and most of the people losing it over paid blogging are too rich to know what that means. My ethics are obvious, anybody who thinks I'm a shill doesn't know enough about me for me to care about their opinion.

(One thing: it's time for contract renewal with the Marqui people, and I'm not going to re-up. I don't have anything else to say about the topic.)

Distortion from the power-law structure of web logs

Harold Gilchrist has a passionate post, with overwhelming supporting evidence, about not getting credit for the invention of audioblogging. I was there, I saw it unfold, and he's right. Dave Slusher and other folks who came to audioblogging after June 2004 can rationalize all they want, this situation is wrong.

What happened here was induced by the topology of web logs. The power-law structure of web logs filters information through the upper blogosphere before it reaches most readers. Most readers learned about audioblogging when Dave Winer wrote about it, DW doesn't give attribution except in very special cases, Adam is one of the special cases, and Harold isn't. After Scripting News got in there, peers in the upper blogosphere -- people like Robert Scoble, Doc Searls, and Russell Beattie -- re-blogged the story per what they learned from Dave and one another. The echo chamber amplified a falsehood so effectively that it became the truth, and eventually the amount of distortion introduced by this flow was so gross that there are more podcasters who credit Robert Scoble than podcasters who credit Harold Gilcrist. Check out this bottom feeder:

If Adam had waited, if Dave had waited, and if Scoble had kept this to himself, then a good idea would have sat rotting.
Robert Scoble may be a fine upstanding individual, but he had nothing whatsoever to do with the rise of audioblogging except to blog about it. Robert got it from the other alpha bloggers, the other alpha bloggers got it from Dave, and people in the part of the information flow before Dave are so vastly outnumbered that what we know for a fact is irrelevant.

Now, I'm obviously pissed. I have personal feelings, I admit. But that's not the point. The point is that the power-law structure of the blogosphere can have a profound impact on facts when alpha bloggers get the facts wrong.


Motions of Mutation by Bassnectar has a great collection of Seymour Hersh audio clippings, though the music (electronica) is boring.

This post was generously sponsored by Marqui