Sunday, May 22, 2005

Hired-gun bloggers

In noodling around tonight, I'm reminded that we should not get too teary-eyed and righteous about the "purity" of blogging.

That model probably will always exist in some corners of the Net. But now, as corporations discover the form, it's possible the "blog" you are reading (not this one) is produced by hired guns specifically to "seed" it and drive traffic to it. And of course, that's touched off lengthy thoughts on what paid blogging is worth. (By that writer's reckoning, $10 to $20 a post, with bonuses possible. (Of course this is $CAN, so the actual U.S. value may be lower ...)

Wonder how long it will be before some "guest" blog on a media site is found to be ghostwritten?

Certainly transparency, one of the supposed creds of blogging, is not even at play here.
The standard response is that the "pure" blogging community will smoke out the fakers. Maybe. But I find a bit of delicious irony that mainstream blogging is less than a decade old, and we already might need a seal of approval for a "Genuine Old-Fashioned Blog"?


At 5/23/05, 2:10 AM, Blogger Jon Garfunkel said...

Well, I see a different sort of delicious irony. The blogging evangelists have been pushing "big business" and "big media" to blog. And it's my theory of the new gatekeepers that the essence of blogging is about promotion, not about civic discourse. So now that so many blogs are PR-driven, many of the "genuine old-fashioned bloggers" are in a tizzy about the usurpation of their territory.

At 5/23/05, 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate the link to BloggingHelp. I think it's important that we open discourse around the area of paid blogging. There will always be those willing to blog as ghostwriters or to write purely for SEO. And, I agree, there will be a ton of companies who jump into blogging as the next marketing driver without stepping back to see what else blogs offer - communication. I agree with Jon that companies will be using blogs for PR, but I don't think of it as the same PR we have offline. I think it is more encompassing, and therefore more positive.

I like to think that as a marketing professional and as a ProBlogger, we can offer more than just a marketing engine, but a chance for communication. We treat the blogs we write on as our own, and the readers as our own. We would even help customers and companies liaise. I would never be a ghostwriter personally, as I don't believe many of my fellow pro bloggers would either. Ghostwriting would do nothing to build my personal profile and goes against my ethics. I would like to think that transparency IS at play. Perhaps considering myself a professional writer with some standards is why I do not agree with the linked-to pricing model.

So, I think, like with journalism as always, blogging will have those who follow some rules and those who do not.

At 5/23/05, 6:12 PM, Blogger Doug said...

It's this from the blogginghelp site that provoked what I hope was a somewhat tongue-in-cheek post:
Want to start a blog but don’t have the time to get it rolling? Or need some extra bloggers to spike your traffic? Having dedicated, consistent writers developing in-depth and authoritative posts is a great way to achieve readership and business success. Contact us to begin right away.
If blogs, as some definitions contend, are highly personal media, then how does "extra bloggers to spike your traffic" fit that model? Do you include an explainer on all your posts "I've been hired to spike this blog's traffic"? That would be true transparency, wouldn't it? But how could you call that blogging at all -- if you accept the sometimes didactic classic definition?

That illustrates my broader point. Blogging is a publishing system, and those who insist on defining it rigidly are destined to have their hearts broken.

At 5/23/05, 10:53 PM, Blogger Tris Hussey said...

Speaking as another ProBlogger...

What Arieanna means is that by hiring a blogger can help kick start your blog. Personally I don't ghostwrite either. I blog as me, with my by-line. When I'm writing for a company I'm doing it so that the employees of the company can develop their own blogging style without the pressure of "OMG, I haven't posted today, but the sales figures are due in two hours..."

I concur, Doug, that those who hold to a rigid view of what blogging is will be frustrated and angry as this medium evolves. Folks like Arieanna and I are trying to promote blogging by offering writing services, consulting, and coaching to new bloggers.

At 5/24/05, 2:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogging is fundamentally just another form of publishing. People apply their own set of standards and ethics to how they publish, but none of those define it absolutely. You were right on with your level headed analysis there.

On an unrelatd note, there was no mention of currency in my article. I'll assume your mention of it was part of your tongue-in-cheek approach.

At 5/24/05, 3:17 AM, Blogger Doug said...

You are right on the currency. Tongue firmly planted in cheek.

At 5/24/05, 2:51 PM, Blogger Arieanna said...

I think Tris drove my comment home. If I blog on any corporate blog, it will be as me. It will clearly introduce me as a non-employee or at the very least as a contract blogger. I will be there to provide some insight into how to use blogs, dig up some news, and perhaps add that outsider perspective to the corporate one. I think this is more interesting, dynamic, and perhaps less biased rather than more so.


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