Blogger bites advertiser
Wednesday, September 17th, 2003
Publishers often get pushed by advertisers either to run flattering profiles or to kill unflattering exposes. Often enough, publishers succumb to the temptation. (Some publishers have even institutionalized the practice of drafting editorial staff into writing advertorials.)
Journalism professors worried about a blogger’s ability to handle the same temptations should take comfort from the case of blogger Sgt. Stryker, who yesterday sold an ad to author Harrry Helms for his book Inside the Shadow Government.
Stryker reacted by poking fun at Helms’ ad (or site or book?), calling it “basically poorly written fiction that would be funny if it weren’t so passe.”
Apologetic to his readers for running the ad, he commented “…never let it be said that I let principle get in the way of making a buck (25, in this case).”
Helms, an author with plenty of books for sale at Amazon, asked for his money back and we obliged. I understand that it would be galling to have your socio-political analysis trashed by someone who you’ve just paid $25 for publicity. But from a PR perspective, the ad and Stryker’s reaction were a home run. Plenty of other advertisers would kill for Helms’ 18% clickthru.
Blogs are an unedited space where people curse, brainstorm, rhapsodize and generally shoot off their mouths. With individual personality, ethics and accountability on the line and undiluted by the corporate “we,” bloggers seem more likely to bite the hand that feeds them than lick it.
This isn’t your grandmother’s newspaper. And for the right kind of advertiser, that’s the best news in a long time.