June 10, 2004
Salon on BlogAds

Nice article by Farhad Manjoo in Salon on the BlogAds experience. He touches on all of the things that I think need to be said when discussing candidates buying ad space on blogs - bloggers and blog readers don't like to be seen as just money machines (though they don't object to the idea of being pandered to, as well they shouldn't), the 40-fold return that Ben Chandler got on his investment (and the lesser but still great return Stephanie Herseth got) involved a lot of special and non-repeatable circumstances, and the long-term model for success involves real interaction with the world of blogging, as Jim Newberry is cited for. I touched on many of these points myself back in February.

There are a fair number of campaign weblogs out there now (including four that I know of in Texas). I've been pondering what will happen to them after the election. In my opinion, win or lose, they ought to be continued. Winners can use them to maintain a connection to the people who supported them through the campaign. As I've said before, among the things that blogs provide a candidate is direct exposure unfiltered by some newspaper's city desk. The same is true for an officeholder. It's your words, your way, to your supporters, and it's postage-free.

Losing candidates, whether they intend to run again later or were just running this time to "get their ideas out there", can similarly maintain a microphone and an audience. They may not get a paid pundit deal like Howard Dean has done, but continued blogging will enable them to test, refine, and repeat their message for as long as they want to broadcast it. Once again, it's a very cheap form of networking and public relations.

To be honest, I'll be surprised if any candidates, successful or not, maintains their blogs after November. It's still too new, too out there, and for a losing candidate it will likely have a whiff of let-go-already to it. But it will happen sooner or later.

Steve Gilliard also makes a good point:

What I think the article is missing is that blogads clients will shift after the election. Bloggers are going to have to offer more information on their users and seek demographic friendly advertisers beyond politics. The lack of tech ads is noticible. Blogs are attracting an audience way beyond the techies we had on NetSlaves. But once numbers become clear, and bloggers start forming networks, it will be far easier for ads to be sold on them. The technology works, it's not obtrusive and it is flexible. It would be perfect for sporting events, anything which requires quick updating and timeliness. The problem with blogs is that they don 't stress the regional nature of their publications and will miss out on the bonanza of local ads.

I do think blogger networks are inevitable, and will have some potency when they form. To a certain extent, that's what Texas Tuesdays (and hopefully maybe similar organizations in other states) are all about. I'd like nothing more than to get some kind of organization around the Texas progressive bloggers - consider it a long-term project, with an eye on 2006. Several of my Texas colleagues will be in town next weekend for the state Democratic convention, and there's talk of a get-together which (time permitting) I hope to attend. Gotta start somewhere, after all.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 10, 2004 to Election 2004 | TrackBack

I remember reading a story at the BBC site a while back about current MPs blogging during their tenure, not just during their campaigns. We can hope.

Posted by: Linkmeister on June 10, 2004 4:58 PM