However, you might balk at my most recent theory, because either I'm nuts, or it's too uncomfortable to contemplate. Uncomfortable simply because we want to believe people are basically truthful. And I'm saying 'new' but I'm probably the last to work it out!
Giveaways and recommendations on blogs.
I love blogsurfing other mother bloggers. After a visit to my zillionth mommy log that was giving away a product, something began to stir within me. It was actually on a blog that wasn't giving anything away on the particular post that I was reading, but does do frequent giveaways. However, the post mentioned a cool new product that a friend tried and now she loved. It was beautifully done. Personal (seemingly) and personable. An easy writing style that made you feel like a friend.
This particular blogger gets hundreds/thousands of readers, daily. I researched the blogger and found that she isn't as upfront as you might think, or like to think. But heck, the online world allows all of us a little anonymity, fantasy, or alter ego role playing. Yet, this woman puts forth a very personal image.
Now, I could be totally wrong, totally. Or.....
Doing even more research, I uncovered that this blogger teamed up with some big names. WTF!? I'm talking not just companies, but COUNCILS.
And I also found this discussion (I'm not linking to it as I don't want to name any names):
PRFirmX and PRFirmY understand that brand conversations happen online whether you like it or not. PRFirmX encourages its clients [bloggers who've teamed up with them] to join in the conversation.Isn't that phrased so sweetly?
You see, viral marketing is a fantastic way for companies to push their products. Another term is conversational marketing, which fits this blog marketing perfectly. I've mentioned before how they use popular children and their slumber parties to push games and toys. They have reps slither their way onto children's online networks and casually mention products. So this exists people.
Now I'm wondering, there are mommy bloggers out their who are directly employed by certain companies, or even freelance themselves out to several. But what about the ordinary folk who are paid for their insidious marketing?
Think about it. You'd rather take another mother's recommendation on a product for home or baby than just a random advertisement, right?
There is nothing wrong with making money from your website. if you put in tons of effort, posting every day, sharing tips and recipes and whatnots, then heck, leave your day job and blog for an income. But I want it upfront. I don't like anyone posing as a cutesy mother or friend and 'casually' mentioning x product.
One big name blogger (no names as I'm not interested in a debate or having anyone's groupies find me via a google search) is such a prolific blogger, and also has kids, cooks, looks after all sorts of things. I got to wondering, is it even her actually blogging? Or taken those great photos, or....?
And when recipes are highlighted as, good ole' country fare that you just have to try, in order to push a specific commodity onto the nation (such as dairy), then this has rather large repercussions - environmental, health, economic..... Think about it. A recipe is posted that uses a good load of milk. Hundreds of people comment saying they went out and made it (it happened on one blog). How many more did the same but never commented? Okay, this in itself isn't going to rock the environment. But those hundreds pass on that recipe, and on and on.... viral marketing.
Now, now, am I saying you should be suspicious of every mommy blogger (and of course ANY blogger) that does giveaways or mentions products on a regular basis?
That's what it means to be a conscious consumer! To question ANY marketing.
Of course their are many legitimate bloggers out there trying to help one another with product reviews and recommendations. Ultimately though, we should research. Yep, it takes time. but it also means you become, what's the word.... oh yeah, intelligent, aware, savvy, take your pick.
Oh, looky here, Federation Media offers a pdf guide to conversational marketing, and a nice list of sites and blogs working for them. That's nice. ;)
[edit: here's a non-pdf author's list a Federated media]