Kris Osen in AdAge wonders:
Is it safe to advertise in places on the Internet that are essentially run by consumers and cannot be controlled? How can they protect themselves and their good names when blog and chat-room users are liable to say and post anything? It’s not just pornography or off-color language that worries them. What if consumers got angry about something involving a marketer’s brand, and their remarks got linked to across the Internet?
The article has a telling sub-title: Blogs and Chat Rooms Pose Risks Despite Coveted Demographics. Interesting. So what happened to those pyjama wearing, navel-gazing techies, politicos and all-round geeks who are so not the desired ‘target market’. Or has the holy grail of ‘Mainstream’ exposure moved online and into niche audiences? My, we have come a long way. [/sarcasm]
Another ‘interesting’ thing is the terminology used in the article to describe chat rooms and blogs (which finally are being recognised as interactive formats although still clumsily lumped together). Consumer-controlled spaces is what they call them. Hmm.
But all is not lost because blogs are more predictable than chat rooms and they can be monitored, contained, controlled and neutred. Hit them where it hurts, take their ads away!
The other major difference is that because the postings are predictable, the content can be monitored and controlled by automation or by human beings. If something objectionable is posted, an ad can be pulled within minutes…
Feedster is using filtering technology that, among other things, collects and reviews blog postings over time. So the firm that is running an ad campaign on blogs(!) can keep an eye on wayward bloggers:
Feedster squirrels away a record of everything a blogger has written to establish a pattern. The firm knows if the blogger uses profanity, proper grammar and spelling, whether the language is on the level of PG-13 or NC-17, even how often they go off topic. The advertiser chooses the set of attributes it can live with. “Then if something objectionable occurs, it would take us about seven minutes to stop the ad...”.
Seven minutes! How cool is that?! Alright, I give in. It is perfectly fine for companies to know what conversations are happening about them as Pete Blackshaw of Intelliseek points out:
Companies need to be tuned into the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s amazing how many companies have no idea about all the bad things that consumers say about them—really vicious.
However, something has got lost in the translation - the idea is to join those conversations, not to control them.
Update: Doc already said pretty much the same thing. I guess, I am not fast enough these days…
The ”Try impossible” headline was my two-word response to the Ad Age headline, “Marketers wrestle with hard-to-control content”. I had other objections, like calling blogs a “consumer controlled space” and lumping them together with chat rooms; but my main objection was to the “control” assumption.
And states the point clearly:
Freedom from advertiser control, which has prevailed in varying degrees in traditional media for the duration, is one of the reasons we have blogging.