Blogola? If this is all it is, bring it on

From today’s Wall Street Journal comes this item, “To Create Buzz, TV Networks Try A Little ‘Blogola’.”


“Trying to tap into the burgeoning power of blogs as promotional tools and fed up with the jaded attitudes of professional critics and TV feature writers, studios and networks are flooding bloggers with free stuff in hopes the flattered recipients will reward them with positive coverage. 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.”


For the record, on July 25, 20082005, I said the following: “Podcasting won’t officially be mainstream until it has its first payola scandal.”

However, I don’t consider schwag and junkets that are disclosed by the participants to be “blogola” anymore than I consider disclosed press-passes or review-copies to be payola — especially if that largesse is not accompanied by a specific set of requirements and explicit instructions for positive coverage.

Payola — the word from which the term is derived — implies a discreet, direct payment for a specific outcome. For example, there are companies that will pay bloggers to make posts about specific products and services. I consider that practice to be more worthy of the term “blogola” and consider it worthy of scandal. However, the WSJ story today — that promotional and public relations pros are treating bloggers the way they’ve treated TV critics and reporters for eons — is nothing scandalous — except, perhaps, why it took them so long to figure it out.

Disclosure: I’ve received no schwag from any entertainment companies, however once a Hammock company sent me a hammock (that I never reviewed) and I am currently participating in a blogger-focused PR effort that I will fully disclose the first time I mention the product. I always identify any gifts over $25 — I just never get any.

  • >>>I always identify any gifts over $25 — I just never get any.

  • Okay my full comment was actually much funnier and full of pathos and dry wit – apparently the comment system didn’t like my “quote brackets.” My main point (I won’t repeat the rest of it) was just that creating words like “blogola” seems to me to be a cheap ploy to make a scandal where none exists, and I would have assumed the WSJ had bigger fish to fry. I’m with ya, Rex, I’d have a “disclose all gifts over $25” policy if I needed one. LOL ~ Janet (PS – did you keep the hammock? Maybe I should’ve kept my maiden name… HARLEY DAVIDSON SOFTAIL DELUXE… ???)

  • Rex Hammock

    Disclosing the hammock: Before I could get around to testing it, my wife stored it somewhere and I haven’t been able to locate it. (She does that quite often.) It seemed like a nice hammock, though. Mayan, I believe. I’d be happy to review any hammocks that others would like to send me, although I do not have any trees situated strategically in a shaded area of my backyard so I’d need a stand to be included. I will also be happy to review books I read while testing the hammock. I will start a disclosure page listing any such “relationships,” of course.

  • Really? You said that in July of 2008? I knew you were technologically advanced, but time travel is pretty impressive. (evil grin)

  • Rex Hammock

    Thanks, John. I traveled back in time and corrected my typo.