Too much product placement on Singaporean blogs?

$1 million?
Which creates greater change: Words or Money? // Photo by NoahWesley

MyRick of AsiaPundit.com recently wrote about Singaporean bloggers getting all kinds of perks and filling their blogs with product placements of all sorts:

As if Technorati rankings weren’t enough to prove it, a sudden outbreak of product placement in Singapore blogs should demonstrate that the Lion City owns the blogosphere.

Singapore bloggers get all the good gear. Kevin gets a free Samsung A920 and the Mediaslut gets an Xbox 360. Both reserve serious product reviews for later, as professional reviewers should.

Blog queen XiaXue, meanwhile, gets a Creative MP3 player and immediately starts dissing iPods and Mac users evangelists.

I responded on myrick’s post but would like to elaborate here on:
1. Blogger obligations to marketers
2. Two polemic approaches to blogs marketing

Blogger obligations to marketers
= Nada. It’s our courtesy.

First off, my recent cell phone acquisition was probably part of a guerrilla marketing campaign by Sprint. Sprint was pushing the phone to a bunch of tech/gadget bloggers and I happen to be in that demographic (they push out a lot, just google “sprint ambassador program”). While a free phone with free unlimited service doesn’t hurt, I mentioned it on the blog out of courtesy, not because Sprint has asked any of us bloggers to say anything about it. In fact, I actually wrote that I was unimpressed with the service, maintaining my honest opinion which I maintain with my readers. It may be nice, but it’s only appropriate that Sprint accepts the honesty of bloggers in their reviews. Companies seeking to market themselves via bloggers have to understand how bloggers work by recognizing the value of honest marketing over blatant advertising. Just look at CowboyCaleb’s “How not to email a blogger” for an example of how companies could try to approach bloggers.

Two polemic approaches to blogs marketing
Many veteran bloggers have built strong reputations for themselves, so just as in real life, they get recognized for it. It’s not uncommon for companies to approach bloggers to tap on our established reputations, just take a look at my lengthy review of blog marketing in the United States entitled “The Criminal Blogger: From Opinion Leader to Shill“. While I covered the trend of blog marketing, how readers check a blogger’s reputations and so on, the comments left by other bloggers were equally if not more insightful. Do read.

What’s more interesting is how different bloggers approach it. While some don’t mind full-on advertising (e.g. Xiaxue, Heather Armstrong of Dooce.com), some prefer not to let anyone else get in between bloggers and their readers (e.g. Jason Kottke, myself). You can just listen to exactly this from the Keynote Conversation w/ Heather Armstrong and Jason Kottke at SXSW 2006. It might not dawn onto the uninitiated, but too much commercialism on blogs might ruin the very foundation of blogging, that is in keeping with your personal voice. This gift of authenticity is something you’ve built with your readers: they respect you as a discerning writer, while you respect them as intelligent users. Both sides have equal footing and readers who sense any form of bullcrap may stop reading the offensive blog altogether.

Finally, if you haven’t gotten any freebies, don’t fret. The real gift we have as bloggers are our readers. It’s one of those things you can’t simply buy! 🙂

11 thoughts on “Too much product placement on Singaporean blogs?

  1. Yay for readers, they really are the most valuable assets to a blog. 😀

    Though I wouldn’t mind freebies too…eh heh heh…

  2. You can’t be serious about listening to Chris. Isn’t obvious that he’s just jealous of not getting to promote anything? 😀

    I mean, someone should just call up Tsingtao Beer Company. Ehehehe.

  3. Rubez: Here’s a tip, start mentioning things you personally like or even dislike on your blog. You’ll never know when a comapny searches and hits on you!

    Elia: You’re full of crap lately aren’t you Diodati… is it because you’re going Japan, and possibly Paris? Seriously though, myrick (aka Chris) might be jealous (who knows), but at least I found some validity in his case 🙂

  4. The flipside to this is if you give a blogger a freebie, he might not have all too kind words to say about it. Just because you deigned to bestow a freebie doesnt qualify your product or service for a positive endorsement.

    So it works both ways, really. The integrity of a blogger will probably the yardstick of product placement effectiveness in the near future.

  5. While I would have no objection to review copies (or cash) I wouldn’t say I’m jealous. I was more or less just baffled by Wendy’s sudden anti-Mac rant. Praising Creative wouldn’t have been out of place – or even comparing the iPod to the Zen – but the lashing out at Mac users was biizzare.

  6. CowboyCaleb: Word.

    myrick: Don’t fret, I never doubted you. I agree, the anti-mac sentiment did stir up some feelings, but maybe so in the past. Now so many people use Macs, it’s not even funny. Let’s see, there’s Popagandi, MrBrown, MrMiyagi, Siva, etc… 😛

  7. Having a regular based reader is lovely 🙂 Would be nice to have free stuff too tho .. Oh well, guess I just have to keep on dreaming eh? 🙂

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