Is Blogging now a mainstream activity?

I’ve been collecting articles and information about how the blogging phenomena has started to change the relationship between Product Management and our customers. This is a more specific niche than how blogging is changing marketing for example – but still lots of data.

One article that caught my eye this morning was on the front page of CNN of all things. “Marketers Take A Shine to Blogs” basically stating that blogging is becoming mainstream. There is even the (now passe?) reference to ClueTrain Manifesto.

So my thought process went something like this:

If blogging is becoming mainstream; and that most (say) technical marketing and product evangelism is done online – how do you really build trust with the person writing the blog?

Obviously there are ways and means to mess with things like Google. Just do a search for influencing search results and for optimal placement. Would the same hold true for a blog discussing a product or service?

Imagine that I am working with my team building a great new version of ZENworks; how could we use our influence to get people buzzed about it? What if that product was only partially complete? Or not fully functional? What if we decided to fill the market with FUD around the product segment? What if a competitor decided to do this to us?

There is no real mechanism for trust between blogs today; apart from old-world charm of a gentlemens agreement and a handshake. I’ll give you a link – I endorse it – hence it must be good. You recommend my blog and the link; you are the trusted referer – again the trust gets transfered with your recommendation.

I can see this being an interesting area for ethical marketers and evangelists in the next year or so. I wonder who will be the first to get bitten by this?

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