Apparently, "TV studios and networks are trying to tap into the burgeoning power of blogs as promotional tools by flooding bloggers with free stuff in hopes the flattered recipients will reward them with positive coverage." How do we know this? Because the Wall Street Journal succeeded in tapping into the burgeoning power of Eat The Press to draw readers to their article on the matter by flooding our inbox with notices in the hopes that we would be flattered by the attention and reward them with a posting about their article! Ha-cha! The system works!
Yes, apparently the WSJ is catching on to the fact that the fine corporate purveyors of goods and services consider the blogosphere as a place where a massive number of hooks can be cheaply baited in the hopes of garnering a few kind words. In this case, they cite the example of CBS's hit comedy The New Adventures of Old Christine, which openly courted twelve influential "mommy bloggers" by inviting them to the set for a rehearsal to meet actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus and receive a pile of Christine-related swag. According to the WSJ, it was the studio's way of bypassing the "jaded attitudes of professional critics and TV feature writers." (So, bloggers aren't supposed to be jaded? Now they tell us!)
For the bloggers, the take can be quite rich:
Flowing into the trough is everything from fancy gym bags and toasters to video iPods and free trips. Some networks -- in the spotlight this week as they unveil their fall schedules to advertisers -- have even borrowed a term from the technology industry to describe the strategy: blogola.
Still the question remains: what about the return on the investment? Microsoft famously attempted to harness the power of influential music bloggers to build buzz on their iPod-competitor Zune, but at the end of the day, no amount of blog coverage was sufficient to surmount the Zune's obvious flaw: it was a Zune. And, really, need we mention the debacle that was the box office for Snakes On A Plane? That mess only proved that the novelty of having bloggers petition for a screenwriting drop-in that referenced illicit matriarchal fornication was not something that could forestall a massive second week box office drop.
Nevertheless, leveraging the blogosphere for cost-effective shilling is a practice that won't be going away anytime soon. And we sort of appreciate the honesty of the term "blogola." But the tactic of reaching out to bloggers to provide buzz has a ways to go before it is perfected. We have our own ideas on how that can be achieved, so...make us an offer! (Hint: We're sort of holding out for the complete first season of 30 Rock on DVD.)
To Create Buzz, TV Networks Try A Little 'Blogola' [Wall Street Journal
The KitchenAid Artisan Series Stand Mixer* [Amazon]
*This would also be a really good gift. Just saying. No reason! We're just talking, here, right?