November 28, 2014

How to Restart a Blog When You’ve Been on Hiatus for Three Years

Posted by: of Stephan on 05/14/13

I left my blog dormant for a few years, but I’m finally back in the saddle! I drafted up a post entitled “How to Restart a Blog When You’ve Been on Hiatus for Three Years” because it seemed fitting. Here are my main points to get you started:

1. Jump in and write something. No apologies. Or a lengthy explanation or justification for being off the grid.

2. Get some tools or processes in place that will make it as painless as possible to post. Like Dragon – which incidentally is available as an iPhone/iPad app.

3. Hire a virtual assistant if that will help you. (More on using VA’s in a future post).

4. Roll out a site redesign at the same time to let everybody know you’re reengaged and committed.

5. Don’t try to get all your readers all caught up on your life all in one post. You’ve got plenty of fodder for many blog posts – so save it for later.

6. Finally, silence the perfectionist in you. I have this bad habit of pouring over my blog posts – my articles even more so – trying to make them perfect. I put a dozen hours or more into articles on search engine land. That’s crazy. That’s not good use of your time. Much better to freeze all those great ideas and insights stuck in your head – share them with the world. It’s okay if the sentence structure isn’t always on the mark. It’s a blog post for Pete’s sake.

Secrets to a Faux Blogger’s Success: Fake Steve Jobs

Usually faux blogs get lambasted on the blogosphere for violating the unwritten business blogging rules of transparency, openness, and authenticity. (Remember Raging Cow?) Not so with “Fake Steve Jobs,” aka Forbes columnist Daniel Lyons, who gave a hilarious speech at the Web 2.0 Expo last Friday. The 25-minute video is embedded below:

Lyons’ main points about his successful blog are:

  • It’s material he’s excited about
  • He has fun writing on FSJ
  • He embraces audience participation
  • The mystique behind FSJ’s identity helped build the blog’s readership

Lyons covers three “Whys” behind the Fake Steve Jobs blog: why he got into blogging (fear and boredom), why he chose Steve Jobs (he’s narcissistic, Apple has bad PR, and Apple fans tend to be so, well, fanatic), and why it works (it’s the audience!). When he first learned of successful business blogs like Jonathan Schwartz’ at Sun Microsystems, Lyons thought it was a great idea. But what if one of those blogging CEOs went crazy and posted all kinds of un-photogenic, not-approved-by-PR material? Thus Fake Steve was born, and readers found it interesting. He had 90,000 monthly readers within 6 months of launch.

“I think what’s happening in media is profound and interesting. This thing [Fake Steve Jobs] is all very wrong, obviously very stupid and primitive, right? But it’s a great way to learn about how new media might work. I think the biggest change we’re going to have is the involvement of the audience. Where Internet media is going to get interesting is when we start really exploiting the uniqueness in it rather than paving a cowpath. First generation Forbes.com was, take the print magazine and put it online. Hulu was take TV shows and put them online. But when we start involving the audience, and having people form a group to entertain themselves, I think that’s going to get really interesting.”

Edelman responds with a plan, will it be enough?

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 10/21/06

I caught on Steve’s blog last night and via Jeff Jarvis this morning, Richard Edelman’s blog what is an interesting follow up to yesterday’s news about Wal-Mart (Walgate? Floggergate?).

From Richard Edelman’s blog:

  • We are undertaking a thorough audit around the world to ensure we apply best practice guidelines to every program in every market and specialty area.
  • We are requiring that all employees attend an Edelman University class on ethics in social media, hosted by members of me2revolution team as well as external experts. This will take place before the end of next week
  • We are establishing a 24/7 hotline so our me2revolution team can review, provide counsel and apply best practice guidelines on social media programs before their implementation. This ensures that programs adhere to the WOMMA guidelines or best-in-class standards around the world.
  • We are creating ethics materials that will be distributed to each office and all new hires.

This is just the beginning. We recognize we have further to go. You can and should be helping us. I appreciate all the invaluable feedback you have provided during this week–and we have taken action on at least of one of your comments. If there any other actions that you would advise us to consider, I would welcome them.

The question is then, is this enough?  On the surface, I’d say it’s a really good start.  Time is going to have to tell though.  I suggested in a comment on Richard’s blog that they need to tout some successes and start a blog with a client that really follows all the principles and ethos of WOMMA.  And hire some outside biz bloggers as coaches wouldn’t hurt either.

You can bet this is going to be talked about at Blog Business Summit next week!

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I don’t accept Edelman’s apology for the bogus Wal-Mart Blog…

I’m still amazed at this situation. Edelman PR, one of the premier public relations agencies in the world and a company that not only hired sharp blogger Steve Rubel but prides itself on really understanding the new world of Web 2.0 and the blogosphere, screwed up royally, and no-one seems to be particularly upset.

The situation: They created the Walmarting Across America blog which pretended to be a couple of middle aged RV enthusiasts driving from Wal-Mart to Wal-Mart and blogging about their experiences, mostly with how wonderful Wal-Mart was. No surprise, the blog effort was a campaign paid for by Wal-Mart!

When it came out that it was a fake blog and that Edelman was being duplicitous and tricking people, it also became obvious that they’d violated the very code of Word of Mouth Marketing ethics they’d helped create.

The response of the blogosphere? Oh, Richard Edelman apologized, and Steve Rubel said he had nothing to do with the account or the campaign. And all is well. Or is it?

If you want to have an example of the class structure within the blogosphere, go and read how top bloggers like Debbie Weil, Neville Hobson and Robert Scoble are not just accepting Edelman’s apology, but being apologists for the company themselves. What the heck?

I don’t agree. I think that there’s a much bigger issue of ethical consistency, of leadership and of hypocrisy, and I write about it at length on my main blog: Edelman screws up with Duplicitous Wal-Mart Blog, but it’s okay?

Spam Attack!

Posted by: of One By One Media on 08/28/06

You never really know what good something is doing in the blogosphere until it is broken and you don’t have it anymore. Over the weekend, the popular spam assassin Akismet was down and out. I only knew this after logging in to my site and seeing over a 1000 comments. At first I thought I had been the newest news story out there and my popularity had soared through the roof based on something that was said in the land down under. I was far from that fantasy.

With as many as came through the filters in that period of time, I was convinced that Akismet would be worth it even if I had to pay for the service (my site does not make enough money to be paying for the service yet. They require big companies to buy a license fee). I spent most of the day cleaning up the comments and the trackbacks and wasted a better part of my day.

The folks at Akismet had the same thing to say on their blog:

“I’m really sorry about this, when things are working smoothly it’s easy to forget how much vile junk is actually being blocked day to day.”

The better part of this lesson is that the folks at Akismet could talk to me about their problem. I don’t mean to say that they called me up at home while I was cursing all things spam, but when I went to their blog they had the information right there on their site and I was able to know what happened in real time. I knew that the glitch came after an upgrade or some similar technical backend move and it caused the system to fail. I was given the problem, the solution and an apology. Here is a company that understands the power of a blog as a communication tool.

Why I Don’t Believe in Anonymous (Corporate) Blogging… Strumpette, You Can Stuff It

Posted by: of BlogWrite for CEOs on 07/24/06

Because it’s bogus.

What I mean is that, as amusing or clever as anonymous blogging can be (of course sometimes it’s nasty), it’s still slippery. Only half credible. And therefore ultimately an artifice. It’s not real. It’s not *authentic.* It doesn’t carry the weight of legitimate commentary.

The obvious, of course, is that an anonymous blogger is cloaked by er, anonymity, and can toss grenades at anyone or any company without fear of being personally attacked in return.

By contrast, the essence of effective business or corporate blogging is that it *reveals* something about the individual blogger… his or her smarts about a particular issue or discipline. We are usually as interested in the “who” of a good corporate blog, as in the “what.”

And the connection with Strumpette is…

Update

Ooooh too cool… here’s my back and forth with Amanda Chapel (aka Strumpette) that clarifies what I’m trying to say about anonymity as it relates to corporate blogging.

Yo Ho Ho and a Blogger with Rum

Posted by: of One By One Media on 06/14/06

Bacardi Canada has joined the blogosphere, but in a somewhat unorthodox manner. They have hired Dave, in a move that is similar to other campaigns such as the Captain Morgan Blog (now visiting Davy Jones’ locker). I have heard the term coined as character bloggers by my partner and colleague Tris Hussey in describing this type of blogger. Dave is not a representative of the company, in fact they are apparently paying him partially in product to be their blogger.

Rick Bruner, our fearless leader here at BBC states:

“If you think of blogs outside of the marketing context — just your ordinary person writing a journal online — they tend to be nothing more than honest and transparent, individual and personal.

“And when companies try to fake that for marketing purposes and try to, in a sense, hoodwink readers into thinking it’s something it’s not, in many cases bloggers tend to react very badly.

In fact a contributor here Dave Taylor boils it down to:

“I think it’s a little naïve to think that … every blog has to be real and genuine from a real person that you could meet on the street or go have lunch with,” notes Taylor.

“A blog is just a tool. There’s nothing special about it. There’s nothing magic. It doesn’t re- invent corporations. It doesn’t fundamentally change anything.

“It’s up to people and up to companies to come up with interesting and creative ways to utilize the tool.”

Steve Rubel of Micropersuasion and Senior VP at Edelman says the right way to use the tool as referred to by Taylor is to have some executive in the company be the blogger:

“Corporate blogs, whether they come from the executives or employees or customers, are tremendous.”

This wouldn’t be the first time I disagreed with Steve, but I think that hiring a blogger when you don’t have the ability is a smart move. Some companies don’t have the manpower or someone in the organization that is equipped to handle the duties of a blogger. Blogger are at the moment a rare breed. They are a mixture of writer, public relation specialist, advertiser and IT person. Not every company has this in their arsenal of employees.

I agree completely with Rick’s thoughts:

“If you’re doing something trying to be funny, then be really funny, not just kind of mild funny that the marketing department and the legal department and the HR department are going to sign off on as funny,” he says. “That’s not funny.”

Give this blogger a little time to perform, but as a character blogger goes, I find him to be amateurish towards his approach and the quality of the conversation lacking. Perhaps when he is in a drunken stupor from the client’s product or it is wages, he might actually submit something that is his own and not just another blog that is trying to act like a myspace.com knock off.

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The Nofollow Rule = No Good?

Posted by: of One By One Media on 05/30/06

I have been following the conversation in the blogging world of “Google’s Embarrassing Mistake” started by Dylan Tweney.  It seems that he as well as others feel that the nofollow tag was a patch that failed the blogoshpere and in fact may have been a detriment to bloggers:

Worse, nofollow has another, more pernicious effect, which is that it reduces the value of legitimate comments. Here’s how:

Why should I bother entering a comment on your blog, after all? Well, I might comment because you’re my friend. But I might also want some tiny little reward for participating in a discussion, contributing to the content on your site, and generally enhancing the value of the conversational Web. That reward? PageRank, baby. But if your blog uses the nofollow tag, you’ve just eliminated that tiny little bit of reciprocity. Thanks, but no thanks. I’d rather just comment on my own blog. And maybe, if you’re lucky, I’ll link back to you.

Jeremy Zawodny makes his own statement about the Nofollow tag with the cavalier attitude of “Kill em all let God sort em out” with his statement:

Look. Linking is part of what makes the web work. If you’re actually concerned about every link you make being counted in some global database of site endorsements, you’re probably over-thinking just a bit. Life’s too short for that, ya know? Link and be linked to. Let the search engines sort it out.

This is actually decent advice that Jeremy discusses as stated by Nick Wilson at Performancing and I would have to agree.

Comment spam continues to be an ever increasing problem in the blogosphere, and there have yet to be any applications that are the end all solution.  Dylan does come up with a fairly simple solution to the problem in his step by step tutorial:

In fact, the solution to comment spam is simple. I’ve used it both on this blog, and on my haiku site. Here’s the step-by-step solution:

Step 1. Automatically moderate any comments that include hyperlinks.
Step 2. There is no step 2.

Moderation of any and all comments does pose somewhat of a problem in the fast world of the blogosphere.  I have moderation of comments on my own blog when a hyperlink is placed in the comment, but the problem is when I am not in front of the computer making sure comments are moderated in real time.  I could miss out on a great conversation if after 2 days I finally get around to allowing a comment. 

One thing about the discussion is certain, comment spam for the future is here to stay.

Splog Generator

Posted by: of One By One Media on 01/23/06

As I sat perusing my web feeds in my aggregator, I was reading blog posts that referenced “Blog Marketing”.  One thing led to another, and I found myself staring at a most upsetting site.  A splog generator.  This is a company I really did not want to link to, but nonetheless, I want to hunt out and make these companies known.  This would be a classic example of the wrong way to use blogs for a business.  This is a problem that needs to be addressed.  I think it’s time to report this site to the Splog Terminator

Splogs May Be 1 in 5

Posted by: of One By One Media on 12/22/05
It is reported in Adweek that there are 80,000 blogs a day popping up on the internet and 1 in 5 of those might be spam blogs.  Frankly, I believe that number may be higher than 20% as reported.  I am not stating that I have the pulse of the entire blogosphere, but I’m certain that there are not that many legitimate blogs being set up and content provided on a regular basis.  The article states that Umbria, a Boulder based company looked into some of the numbers:
 
 Umbria examined results in October from three blog search engines—Technorati, IceRocket and BlogPulse—and found them rife with spam sites. On average, 44 of the top 100 results on the engines were spam. For instance, an Apple iPod search turned up splogs in 80 of the top 100 results on IceRocket, and 75 and 71 on BlogPulse and Technorati, respectively.
What the numbers did not tell us were the number of blogs being lost each day through attrition.  Those bloggers that tried it out for a few days to see what the hype was about and then abandoned the platform.  I’m certain that Google has numbers through its blogging tool Blogger that would perhaps track the numbers of their blogs that are not active or have remained dormant over a period of time.  In fact I would assume that for purposes of cleaning out their system of dead blogs, they would discontinue the accounts of those blogs not updated for a period of time, perhaps putting them on a suspension basis and then dropping them from the database once a redemption period expired.  I might investigate this further with them and report the details.
 
Cross posted from One By One Media
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Attack of the Zombies

Posted by: of One By One Media on 11/10/05
We have been reporting about the use of fake blogs or spam blogs (Splogs/Zombies) since Mark Cuban went on the attack creating the Splog Reporter.  Nobody is immune from this practice not even us blog consultants.
 
A blogger in my blogging pool at Bloggers For Hire recently found that his personal blog at The Parental Olympian (yes, he was a gold medalist in the Athens Summer Games for swimming), was being copied and used as a splog or a zombie blog.  He posts about it on Bloggers For Hire.
 
This is something that is being done more and more by those wearing black hats in the SEO (search engine optimization) market.  The content is being generated for them and they are benefiting by stealing the words and using that content for their own gain.  This must be stopped if bloggers are going to be taken serious in the business arena.  If you think that your content has been stolen and used for evil, please report the site.  You can check using Copyscape.

Panasonic … great products, bad blog

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 10/30/05
Ah, let the controversy reign.  Another big company
has decided to jump into the Blogosphere to help build buzz about their
products, and again they are blowing it.  Panasonic has a video geek blog allegedly authored by "Tosh
Bilowski".  I say allegedly because thought he
claims to exist
, it’s hard to prove that he does.  Amy drew my
attention to this with her post asking
just who is Tosh Bilowski?
and Dave follows suit with asking whether
character or "fake" blogs just always plain wrong
.
 
While I’ve defended character blogs in the past, no dice on this one.  This
isn’t a character blog (e.g. the Moose Tracks blog) where it’s clear that the
author isn’t a real person, this blog is supposed to be written by a real
person, Tosh Bilowski.  The problem is that it doesn’t look like Tosh exists. 
Amy and I Googled him and came up with bubkus.  Sorry, if
you’ve been sing the Internet at all in the past, you’re going to leave a
trace.  It’s pretty much inevitable.  Check out these Google searches on my name
(short
and long
forms).  You will find references to my life as an academic (co-authored papers
and book chapters), lab manager (how to get imaging software to work), tech
support person, webmaster, and blogger.  The record goes back well over a
decade.  What’s my point?  Look if Tosh is about my age (looks like it) and he’s
a true vid geek, he should be pinging up on e-mail lists, newsgroups, websites,
etc.
 
 
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Are character blogs fundamentally a bad idea or just inherently boring?

The latest incarnation of this debate in the business blog community revolves around the Def Perception weblog written, ostensibly, by someone named Tosh Bilowski on behalf of Panasonic Corporation. The tag line of the blog reads “Tosh Bilowski focuses on high-def pro video – brought to you by Panasonic.”

So far, the blog community seems to be enjoying some detective work (see for example Amy Gahran’s article Who Is Tosh Bilowski: Corporate Blogs and Authenticity and engaging in its typical criticism of any corporations trying to do something new with weblogs, at least in my opinion.

But I want to bring this topic to the Business Blog Consulting crowd because I suggest instead that Panasonic deserves some significant credit for having the courage to try something new and interesting. Yes, a quick Google of “Tosh Bilowski” reveals zero matches, which seems darn curious for someone who is a blogger, but I don’t think that’s really so important. Indeed, for Global PR Blog Week II I wrote an article on this very subject, entitled Fake Blogs: New Marketing Channel or Really Bad Idea?

In that article, I wrote:

“There’s no reason why a fake blog cannot be interesting, amusing and informative, while also having the desirous blog characteristics of credibility and authenticity within the context of the blog itself. Indeed, I don’t even like the pejorative “fake blog”, so let’s call it a “story blog” instead, to emphasize that everything about the weblog, from its premise and entries to the very persona of the author, are part of the fiction, of the story being told.”

I then observe that: “the real reason that story blogs aren’t better and therefore more popular is because it’s just darn hard to produce material week after week as a fictitious character.”

That’s the fundamental problem with the “Tosh Bilowski” weblog effort from Panasonic and its PR agency in my eyes, not that it’s “fake” or that they’ve pretty clearly created a fictional ‘video geek’ to write about their product line, but that it’s just boring and unengaging.

Even when “Tosh” acknowledges that there’s some controversy about the blog (as he does in the entry Oh Brother, Who Art Thou?) he doesn’t link to anyone, doesn’t acknowledge the controversy and doesn’t have anything interesting to say.

So I remain convinced that there’s an opportunity for companies to create “story blogs” that are interesting, compelling and effective at selling their products, but am still waiting to see an example of what this could be and how this could be done well. My kudos to Panasonic for making the attempt to further push the blogging envelope, but they need to find a better agency or blogger to work with. “Tosh” just isn’t going to make any headway in gaining visibility for their product line in the blogosphere.

Faux Blogs from Hollywood

When is a blog not a blog?

When it’s a faux blog. Recently, two (or more) marketing hacks from Hollywood decided to cash in on the buzz on blogs to manufacture blogs around new releases. Perhaps they created these blogs to add "authenticity" to the campaign.

In other words, if you can’t be sincere, perhaps you can fake it.

Exhibit A: A History of Violence Blog by David Cronenberg
As my friend Josh Hallett describes it, this is more of a journal than a blog. There’s no comments, no RSS, no trackback, no posting dates.

And
even though it purports to be from the mind of Cronenberg, the writing
is in the third person. Only the video clips are "from his mind." (And
he comes across as surprising mundane for someone who has directed The Fly, Scanners, and Crash. But I digress.)

Is it interesting? If you find David Cronenberg interesting, perhaps. If you like watching videos of him getting into a Porsche, perhaps. But I don’t think it’s a real blog.

The communication here is all one-way; there’s no interactivity, no way for a community to grow around this "blog." This is not a blog, but rather a photo of a blog. It also seems to me to be a missed opportunity.

Exhibit B: Miles’ Blog (Surface)
This
is a "blog" for a new show on NBC called "Surface" that I have to admit
I haven’t seen. It’s written from the perspective of Miles, apparently
a pre-pubescent character who–from what I can tell–is documenting the
care and feeding of Nim, a sea creature he’s raising.

I’m torn
on this. On one hand I see an interesting way to market a show by
having material about the show available outside the confines of a TV
set or a program schedule. It would be great to see updates during the
week that document things that haven’t been on the show, but affect or
are referenced by later events within the show. It would make this blog
(and marketing campaign) truly viral.

On the other hand, this
"blog" is completely lacking in authenticity. (No comments, trackbacks,
or RSS, either.) The writing comes across as a Harvard grad trying to
write like a over-educated 15-year old, not like the character from the
picture. (Again, having not watched the show, perhaps this character
has graduated from Harvard with classmate Doogie Howser, M.D.)

If you are going to do a character blog, why not allow at least moderated comments and trackbacks?
Maybe you could include comments from fans who are also "in character."
It would give an opportunity for a community to build around this
fledgling show, and to develop a passionate, core audience.

Ultimately, the question becomes "what is a blog?"
Is it posts that include trackbacks, comments, and RSS? Does it include
linking to other blogs? Can it be written by a character, or does it
have to be written by a real person, by that person?

Hollywood
appears to be searching for ways to leverage the popularity of blogs
into their marketing campaign. As a "business blogger" myself, I can’t
fault them for that. However, can the people who bring you sound
stages, CGI and canned laughter create an authentic blogging experience?

Splog Hunting

Posted by: of One By One Media on 09/10/05
They recent buzz in the blogosphere is the appearance and eradication of Splogs or Zombie blog sites.  Mark Cuban at IceRocket has made the reporting and killing of splogs his crusade with the launch of SplogReporter.com.  Making it easier for Firefox users to join the fight against splogs, there has been a recent extension added that allows reporting splogs a one click process.
 
Frank Gruber, creator of SplogReporter states that 60% of the Splog Reporter visitors use the Firefox browser, and  Jeff Johns, who developed the extension states:
 “Empowering splog reporters to clean up the blogosphere is our top priority.�
Once the blogosphere starts policing itself, the issue of splogs hopefully will become a thing of the past.  Of course marketing people and the Black Hat SEO firms will probably always be one step ahead of the people hunting them.  Happy splog hunting.
 

Blogger.com and Zombies

Posted by: of One By One Media on 08/15/05

Mark Cuban writes that "splogs" or "spamblogs" or "zombie blogs" are becoming more and more popular through the use of free blog services like Google’s blogger.com

Blogger is by far the worst offender. Google seems to be working hard to adjust their relevancy indexes to exclude
splog from having influence on search rankings, but they dont seem to be doing anything more than removing reported
splogs. Kind of like going after the zombies one at a time with a shovel. Can we get some help on this Google ?

We hear that there are 80,000 new blogs set up per day, and there may be reason to believe that many of those blogs are nothing more than Zombies.  How do we combat this problem?  Some say that anything with a blogger.com URL could and should be banned as spam.  This is akin to "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

[via The Blog Herald]

Sifry on Spam Blogs and Fake Blogs

Posted by: of Blogging Systems Group on 08/10/05

Technorati’s David Sifry has an excellent piece on spam and fake blogs that gives as thorough an explanation of the subject that I’ve seen. If those things get your goat like they do mine it’s a post you’ll want to read.

McDonald’s Fake Lincoln Fry Blog

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 02/8/05

To support its Super Bowl ad about someone finding a french fry that looks like Abraham Lincoln, McDonald’s has launched this fake blog. Yawn. Steve Rubel and Kevin Duggan among other bloggers are not lovin’ it.

McDonald’s Fake Lincoln Fry Blog

MarketingVox: Mazda’s Blog+Viral Campaign Falls Flat

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 10/25/04

MarketingVox and Adrants report on yet another dub faux blog. Marketers, please, please get the point: blogs are about building trust, not spinning it.

UPDATE:
MediaPost reports that the blog has packed it in, in ignominy.

MarketingVox: Mazda’s Blog+Viral Campaign Falls Flat

Chicago Trib: Fake Blogs, True Buzz

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 10/11/04

Passes the Bruner sniff test: it must be a good article, because it quotes me.

General examination of some fake blogging efforts by various marketing agencies, with mixed results. One thing it neglects to note about the central blog in the article, Beta-7: this stunt is more than a year old. Also notes the blatant gaffe by Warner Bros. in having someone from PR litter a blog’s comments section with praise for a new MP3 preview of a band Warner Bros. was backing (d’oh!).

It also quotes Jason McCabe Calacanis with his favorite peeve, that a blog isn’t really a blog if it doesn’t have comments turned on (which is just a transparent attempt to differentiate his Weblogs, Inc. publishing empire from his rival Gawker Media, which doesn’t turn on comments on their blog; my response to which is, so InstaPundit and Boing Boing aren’t really blogs?)

Chicago Trib: Fake Blogs, True Buzz

Cool Ringtones (Fake) Blog

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 08/31/04
cindy-schmelky
Cindy Schmelky (not)

Yet another example (apparently) of a fake blog for a consumer product. Attention marketers: passing fake blogs off as real io LAAAAAME!!! You will get outed and look like asses.

I’ve said before I don’t mind fake blogs in some cases. I think the distinction is when they are obviously fake, or better yet admit to being fake or in some limited cases part of a publicity stunt (though, that model is growing old fast), they can sometimes be cool. But I can’t think of an exception when you are playing to your core audience pretending to be something you’re not (in this case, a 15-year-old girl) is not just piss-poor marketing likely to bite you in the ass. You’re playing your customers for fools. That is not cool.

Ringtonia has the scoop:

Cool Ringtones Blog which I’ve mentioned in Ringtonia before, is not like a initially thought, the blog of a teenager age who loves ringtones, but the business blog of Ringingphone.com, a provider of ringtones, wallpapers, online games…
Though the blog introduces Cindy Schmelky, 15, from Wayne, Penn with a picture and a quote “I love ringtones more than life”, she’s really just a figurehead for those articles as various members of the company’s team write them, according to Ringingphone co-owner Bob Bentz.

That a ringtone company has a blog is a great idea. But there is no need to mislead readers into thinking the blog is written by a 15 year-old, when it’s not.

All that said, naming the fake blogger “Cindy Schmelky” was a nice touch, as it doesn’t sound like the kind of name you’d come up with for a fake person. Her tagline ” I love ringtones more than life” is especially creepy.

UPDATE:
Check out the comments; a representative from Ringtones apologizes for the deceptive nature of the blog, saying they’ve learned their lesson and stopped faking the bloggers identity. Indeed, they still use the young woman’s photo, but they don’t pretend she’s a real person anymore. They simply refer to the blogger’s identity now as “The Staff at Cool Ringtones Blog.” Real names of those blogging would be a better improvement, but this is certainly something.

Link

 

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