PR Blackout?

02 August 2009

Will it really happen in a week’s time?  It’s scheduled for August 10-16, but there has been little written about the call for a PR Blackout since the middle of July when MomDot issued the challenge to mom bloggers across America, which also seems to be echoed by certain mummy bloggers in Great Britain.

The issue? Apparently mom bloggers have gotten a bit carried away with the allure of give-aways, reviews and blog trips.  The challenge?  Get back to basics and “talk about your kids, your marriage, your college, your hopes, your dreams, your house and whatever you can come up with for one week”.

BlogHer, the leading participatory news, entertainment and information network for women online, seems to be taking a more practical and balanced view in “The good, the bad, and the completely puzzling”.

Is this about having a go at PR folks who don’t approach the blogosphere professionally and intelligently?  They are probably the same PR people who don’t earn the trust of traditional journalists either, and whose PR prose ends up in the trash bin countless times.  It’s no different – just a group of PR hacks who don’t take the time to learn about the people doing the writing, the media channel they write for, and the interests of their readers.

Or is this about a group of bloggers who got carried away with the freebies and/or pay-for-play that the PR profession can offer the blogosphere?

When I heard Jory Des Jardins, co-founder and president of strategic alliances for BlogHer, speak at the CMO Club’s May summit, I was encouraged to hear how BlogHer has put some structure around how bloggers can work more effectively with brands and their partners.  There are ethics and guidelines; there is transparency; and there is a a publishing network of more than 2,500 qualified, contextually targeted blog affiliates.

BlogHer just completed its 5th annual conference last weekend.  Nearly 1,500 women bloggers descended on Chicago to attend meet-ups, sponsored sessions, events, and more.  One of my colleagues who attended suggested that there is a clear break between a small group of top bloggers, “purists”, who are creating guidelines and dealing with sponsors in a very professional manner, and a middle group that is willing to cross lines for sponsorship or some free products.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the Blackout and how the community may morph over the coming months.  Monetization will undoubtedly continue to be a contentious issue, as well as the Federal Trade Commission’s targeting of parenting bloggers’ informal product endorsements.

With an active US female Internet population hovering around 42 million – 43 percent of whom visiting blogs for advice or recommendations, there’s a lot at play.

One Response to “PR Blackout?”

  1. trisha

    yes, our community is still participating. But our challenge was for our wasnt about the PR as much as it was about the women behind the blogs getting back to basics. So we have been focusing on that and supporting our women regarding their own back to basics. We hope we have atleast shown the ones that felt the need to take a break that its ok at anytime. Not just one week, but every day.


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