A Clarification

Some comments I made in a Mediapost interview concerning Blog advertising have generated a bit of hate mail. Before skewering me, please read below, where I've posted the entirety of the e-mail interview.

Q. Do you notice that more of your clients are spending more money advertising on blogs?

A. We've done some testing and have had great results. Some of our clients wish they could find more sites like the blogs we advertise with. Given that the number of blogs continues to accelerate, I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities going forward.

Q. In your opinion, how much money do you think advertisers will begin allocating toward advertising on blogs?

A. I'd hate to see blog advertising become a line item on a flowchart (like paid search) simply because it's the 'latest and greatest' or because media planners see the word 'blog' in dozens of trade media stories. It would be easy to lose sight of the opportunity given all the hype. Blogs tend to be topical and in many cases are small in terms of the audience they draw. But those audiences tend to be very loyal and very dedicated.

For some categories, like political and cause-related advertising, it's a layup because of all the popular political blogs. The question often becomes whether or not advertisers and agencies can use multiple blogs to roll up desirable audiences. I like what folks like Nick Denton, Jason Calacanis and Henry Copeland are doing with site representation and networks in the blog space. But often, I find that it makes sense to approach bloggers directly. That may change as more blog networks and rep firms (Burst!, for instance) are brought to market.

Q. Has blogging become an 'accepted medium?'

A. I think blogs have a critical role to play in the news reporting dynamic. News stories are being vetted every day in the blog community and bloggers are breaking some very important stories. Bloggers serve an important function in that they analyze what's being reported in the mainstream press to the Nth degree. They poke holes in stories, disclose unforseen biases, check facts and formulate new opinions. To me, the blogging movement is all about accelerating Holmes' concept of the 'marketplace of ideas.' Ideas get passed around from blogger to blogger and the cream rises to the top. Bloggers are also finding their own stories and picking up on things that the mainstream media tend to miss. Not only are they an important part of the media landscape, they're also critical to the newsgathering and reporting processes.

In our own industry, check out sites like MarketingVox and AdRants. They're talking about things that the AdAges and AdWeeks weren't talking about. Is it any coincidence that AdWeek launched a blog?

Q. It seems that traditional companies seem to be advertising on blogs much more AND talking about it more openly than they would have in the passed. What has changed?

A. I think it was something that clients needed to quietly test before making a big fuss about. And if other advertisers are anything like our clients that have tested blogs, they've found success and are ready to commit to larger-scale campaigns. As for how vocal they are about it, that might have something to do with the general popularity of blogs and the revelation that over a quarter of Internet users read them. Advertisers may want to be counted with the folks who realize how big blogging is.

Other folks I'd recommend you talk to...

Rick Bruner at DoubleClick. (Runs BusinessBlogConsulting.com and is an authority on blogs.) rick@bruner.net

Jeff Jarvis at Buzzmachine. (Check out Buzzmachine.com for his contact info. He's been making regular appearances on Air America and doing lectures on blogs all over the place, so he might be tough to reach, but he'll give you tons of great material if you can get him.)