The Business of Blogging


Intriguing story in today’s Post about businesses using bloggers to sell their product.  They just love it when we create buzz about them – any buzz will do.  And if just a few of us name the product – whether we have readers or not – their search-engine standing will get a big boost.  And baby, it’s all about the search engines.  (You know those annoying spam comments we’ve all received and how we think how stupid they are because nobody’s going to follow the link?  Doesn’t matter; just sitting there on our sites elevates their search standing.)

But back to the article.  Check it out and let us know what you think.  Are we being exploited, plain and simple?  What’s in it for us?  However that plays out, it’ll be interesting as hell to follow because bloggers by our very nature don’t respond like all the other media or consumer groups.   Feel the power, guys.


  1. This is a sore spot for me, not that I have been approached by any ad agencies or vendors yet, but because it enters into the political, spiritual and moral realms that I sometimes feel adds to the disconnect so many have with nature.

    As Amy has said above our “national pasttime–buying stuff” and turning the garden and nature into a commodity is not just some fun frivolous free stuff gathering exercise. It has consequences that reverberate around the planet.

    My first taste of this marketing frenzy was as a virginal forum participant at the GardenWeb, right at its takeover by iVillage. I was not pleased by their recent greedy TOS change claiming equal copyrights to content submitted and said so and was permanently banned from that site. Corporations are not required to grant free speech. As companies muscle their way into the blogosphere and the internet there is a risk of losing some of this freedom we now enjoy.

    I realize this is the engine that drives our economy and is too big to stop, but when consumption becomes the supreme moral value I think we may have gone too far.

    At the very least there needs to be some sort of code of Ethics that most companies and marketers would be willing to follow.

  2. Currently the internet provides democratization of content which means our individual and linked voices have the same chance to be heard as corporate voices. Bloggers survive in a meritocracy.

    However, if the telecoms get their way and destroy net neutrality in the United States then the corporate content will receive priority service. The ability of people to find ordinary people, to listen to voices of dissent, will be snuffed out. Money will replace merit as criteria for page ranks.

    The Senate has put off a decision on net neutrality until after the mid-term elections. You still have a chance to make your voice heard if you want to be able to keep your voice heard. Otherwise the internet may well become like the garden magazines–a little fluff content around glossy ads.

  3. We ran across this right after our blog at the Chronicle started up. Someone offered to send a sample of some weird plant booster or something. We had to make a decision then and there about how we’d handle people trying to market through us. My take is that if it’s a product that a) seems legit and b) is something I’d normally be interested in, then sure! Send it on. But expect an honest assessment, too. Also, we don’t publish the comments from people asking us to market something for them. If we want to try it, we’ll have them send it and them comment on it in the blog in our own words. Otherwise, no free air from us.

    I have a journalism degree myself, so I understand the “objectivity” that some bloggers try to achieve, but as long as we’re being genuine (as in, not saying, “Oh, you should try this!” just to get more free stuff), I don’t see the harm in it. Blogs aren’t subject to journalistic standards unless the blogger wants them to be. Hell, I’ve given several pieces of advice in my blog that I’d never put in a newspaper if I was the Garden writer. I figure, if it’s in a blog, people know to take it with a grain of salt.

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