Corporate Blogging Survey 2005

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December 27, 2005

Nokia Blogger Relations Campaign II

Matt Miller of the PalmSolo blog gives an overview of the Nokia blogger relations campaign, in his post, "Thoughts on the Nokia Blogger Relations Communications program." There was some discussion about the issue of getting the telephones for free, if a blogger receives a telephone for free and blogs about the telephone, its important for the blogger to mention that fact. However, the fact that Nokia sent the phones along with a FedEx label indicates that they understood the importance of respecting bloggers integrity. Matt Miller states,

"In every document I was given we were not told the devices were ours to keep for good and actually I have a return FedEx label right in the package they sent me. As a result, I am personally treating it like I do with other review units I get sent where I get to check out devices for 30 days and then return them."

On the Mobile-Blog, Oliver-Starr discusses the Nokia blogger relations campaign and makes the point early on that,

"When sending something like these phones to hard core geeks, you'd better be awfully confident that your product is exceptional. We don't have Nokia advertising plastered all over our blogs, and while these phones are awfully nice, not a one of us would sully our reputation by giving an undeserved glowing review; if there are things about these devices that we don't dig, you can count on reading about it."

Oliver's discussion raises an interesting issue for me; it appears that Nokia sent the telephone to several types of bloggers, gadget fanatics like Starr and well-known bloggers. For those bloggers who regularly blog about gadgets, this may be a bit of ho hum campaign, they already get gadgets from manufacturers. We can probably expect a fair and credible review from them, as the gadget expert bloggers will have a lot of experience in reviewing such products. It’s also in a gadget blogger's interest to give as fair a review as possible, as their audience reads their blog for the product reviews. For those bloggers who don't typically review gadgets, they will probably give more of a review of the campaign than the telephone, and be seen less of a credible source of information on the product review.

I think Stowe Boyd gave a terrific review of the Nokia campaign on the Corante blog, and in addition hosts an online discussion between Clogger and Andy Abramson, Nokia's blogging consultant for the campaign. I blogged about the Clogger post in my earlier post, "Nokia Blogger Relations Campaign I."

Stowe writes that Clogger assumed that every blogger who receives a phone would give a biased positive review of the telephone. Stowe stated, "The implication is that we are being subtly influenced by Nokia, and will naturally -- without even knowing, perhaps -- write more glowing praise for the N90 than we would otherwise. I doubt it. If the phone sucked, I would say so, and I'd happily send it back when the marketeers decided that I was bad juju. But the phone is cool, and I am happy to say so." While Stowe gives some thoughtful interpretation of the campaign that expanded my understanding of the Nokia campaign, his positive review is not likely to influence me in the same way that PalmSolo’s or Mobile-Blog's reviews are going to convince me of the relative merits of the Nokia telephone. Why, well, Stowe is not a gadget blogger, he might be a gadget fanatic in his spare time, but his blog does not give me the impression that he is necessarily an expert on the subject of cell phones. And that’s the point credibility comes from gaining trust over time.

I think the criticism of Nokia on the part of Clogger is helpful but also wrong. Nokia is being completely open about what they are trying to do, get the word out about their product. Just because Nokia sent you a telephone does not mean that a blogger has to write about the telephone. And I suspect that if manufacturers attempt to seed non-gadget bloggers regularly in the future, the luster of receiving a new camera will soon rub off, it will be old news. Bloggers will probably not have time to write about the product and focus on what they really care about, the topic of their blog or current conversation.

Rather criticism should really be directed at bloggers who give a positive review of the product without revealing the origin of the review, its one thing for a blogger to give a positive review of product when a blogger purchased the product themselves and its another to read a review when I as the reader know the blogger just received a phone for free. I don't doubt the sincerity of the blogger, but I do gage the credibility of the writer in assessing cell phones. Sorry Stowe that counts you out on this, and me as well! I am not a very credible authority on cell phone technology.

In addition, we should criticize the reader who fails to consider what they read, and instead advise them to search for expert product comparisons from several sources. The growth of consumer generated media, and corporate blogs is increasing the volume of discussion, that those voices are not all journalists is okay to me, in some ways the world is a little more dangerous because of it, I have to be more careful when reading any source of information today, just as I should have been careful before 1995 and the web. But surely having to think about the credibility of a source of information is a good thing for the reader?

I think Paul Jardine of the Produktivity blog said it best in his comment on Stowe Boyd's post,

"His [Cloggers] is the cry of an industry about to be disintermediated (look at the quality of reporting in newspapers and TV today and I don't think the majority would claim it to be any better than the popular blogs) by advertisers. There will always be a place for people who can write, but the model has changed and you don't need a newspaper, or similar, in order to inform and comment on the issues (or products) of the day."

Posted by johncass at December 27, 2005 12:03 PM

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