Chapter VI, Group C, The Bestest Group Of All Time (you know this maaan!)


The Human Voice


humans want to interact with other humans, they want to hear and read voices that sound human to them. They monotonous, ambiguous writing styles of early day PR people sound fake and contrived. If consumers are not getting a human voice directly from a company, they will seek it out else where.

Business Blogs vs. Individual Blogs


Business Blogs

Use blogs in their marketing, as a way of improving customer relations and establishing a popular presence on the web, or as a way of getting attention. *This is a way of speaking to humans in a human voice, which we relate to more easily. If a business does not speak in a human voice to their consumers, the consumers will still find other consumers to "compare notes" with (such as the amazon.com reviews) and the voice of the business becomes obsolete.

Individual Bloggers

On the other hand May choose to leave ads out of their blog complete, or can "make money off advertisements on their blogs."
There's even fake blogs for advertising and spam. How dare they?!

How has the web changed changed consumerism?


People are spending more time online, and less time viewing other media. and old forms of advertising become increasingly obsolete. Web ads began with banners and morphed into blogs about different products. The Clue Train Manifesto advanced the progress of web ads, which was written from a consumers perspective and argues against "the hollow and trustworthy" tactics of some PR folks that wish to dupe consumers.

Rettberg reminds us that the most important blogs are not Corporate and therefore they are personal blogs. And these bloggers make some dough, a figure near "half a billion". Which really isn't that much, but may not be very accurate. It also shows that this new niche is opening up and anyone who is willing to work hard to understand the system can become their own bosses. There is hope!

(will bloggers get a government bailout?).

But professional bloggers are increasing. Some can even make a living (I'm jealous), but only by keeping up with the changes in advertising. Some folks are turned off by ads. They site ads as "ugly". This brings up the whole notion of selling out and of selling one's soul. Although, most top ranking adds have blogs--no, I mean most top ranking blogs have adds.

Then came micropatrons! where readers donate, if they wish, to the blog author out of the goodness of their heart. But it seems that advertising is more sustainable.

Micropatrons Vs. Ads


Both ways of making money from your blog have advantages and disadvantages.

Micropatronage

By asking your readers to donate by free will, it is almost like making them your employer. They have come to expect a certain degree of sustainability in your writing and will expect that to continue if they are going to continue donating. It is most common that patrons will make a larger contribution the first time because they view it as back pay for all the posts you've already collected, and make smaller or no payments after that.

However, this type of income allows a blog to remain ad-free, and readers will appreciate the uncluttered feel of your sight, and the fact that they don't feel like your writing is only for the money. It puts more power into the content of your writing.

Advertisements

By placing ads in your blog, you are essentially giving up space where your writing or photography would have normally occupied. It can make you seem like a sell-out, and may make your audience take you less seriously. However, if your writing is strong enough, readers will continue to be loyal even if they are annoyed about the addition of ads. (dooce's blog)

It makes a statement that says "I need money to support me if I'm going to continue this blog, and I am not going to put that pressure on my readers."

A Middle Ground

An individual blogger can make money off their blog without having to put big, distracting ads on their blog. They could simply narrow their blog to be about a couple specific topics or one topic, and work with large companies in a professional (journalist's?) manner. Generally this would involve pictures of a companies product, and the bloggers (optimistic) opinion about it, with a link to where they can buy that product. The blogger can make interest off the consumers who found that blog post to be pursuasive enough for the consumer to want to check out the product, or similar products themselves.

This option, however, does limit you to the things you blog about how you word things. It also puts more pressure on you to be as professional and precise as possible at all times, as well as doing quite a bit of work to keep up with changing products, and maintaining your outgoing links.


Blogging & Journalism


All of this ties into blogging as journalism and whether or not it is, (journalism I mean).
Any blogger who is making money off their blog is therefore acting as a professional. They would then need to do things the same things that journalists do to maintain professonalism, such as building trust by staying on topic, citing sources and verifying facts..
Rettberg quotes Cook as saying bloggers should maintain "fairness, balance, accuracy, and integrity." Like Fox News.


Fairness, Balance, Accuracy, and Integrity Through-out (AKA Chris goes on a rant!)


Ads and micropatronage are synonymous with dishonesty or selling one's soul, but sponsored blogs raise the question. This harkens back to the question of blogging as professional, or as journalism, whether or not their should be rules like in baseball. My take is: newspapers have ads, TV has ads, the highway has ads (billboards), so why not blogs? We live in a culture and an economy based the buying of stuff, the exchange of commerce and ideas; so I think that if you expect to come to a blog and not see the embedded traits of living in America, then you are being naive.
Controversy, argument, blah blah blah.

Corporate blogs just want to advertise, and boost "income stream" by hyping their products. They can be personal. Sometimes they engage in a conversation on the net about them that is already going on. Maybe they want to defend themselves against bad-mouthers and such. Some companies want employees to blog, like Google. This can change the image of a corporation from polluting fat-cat, to gentle, hippie-hugging mouse, like you.

Advertising can help set up a small business or a blogger that wishes to gain attention. Corporate blogs want attention in a different manner than personal blogs. Businesses like Wal-Mart, that warehouse of Chinese goods, has been accused of setting up veiled blogs in order to tout their wonderfulness to the world. How nice. But these marketers should follow the rule of honesty, because when these prop blogs like Wal-Marting Across America are disclosed to be a marketing ploy, they often hurt themselves then gain themselves more customers. Although, I just read that Wal-Mart's sales rose 2.5% last month. Anyway . . .


*edits and additions made by JoHannaWindecker
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