Online Marketing

Flogging the Floggers

Thomas Powell

(n) Floga fake web log or blog. Often run by a corporation with any attempt to look like an independent log to promote the company/products or improve its image.

Now who would do such an underhanded thing like this? Well it turns out more people than you know. For example, taking a look at the Wikipedia entry for fake blogs it appears that even large organizations like Walmart (www.forwalmart.com) and Sony which had a a blog called “All I want for X-mas is a PSP” partake in what many at least currently consider a form of deception.

Depending on your take this might seem underhanded to create a flog or it might seem par for the course in today’s hyper-marketed to society. Marketing including much which could be branded deceptive marketing is truly everywhere, so why not in blogs? Does that somehow go too far?

Are you bothered by 24’s Ford driving Cisco using super agent Jack Bauer or the Coca-Cola addicted contestants and judges of American Idol? Maybe not, but that is clear product placement right? How about The Office’s bumbling manager Michael Scott making such clear mentions of going to Sandals Resorts for vacations in a number of episodes? The writers just happened to want to mention it over and over again because it was important to the story? When the characters on some of these shows start spouting corporate tagline variations or going on and on about the positive characters of products does that cross your line? Did you even notice?

Hip hop artists prefer Escalades and Courvoisier just naturally right? Sure it makes just as much sense as James Bond always driving an Aston Martin and wearing an Omega watch, it’s just part of the character. The list goes on and on, be it video games or books, clothing stores, or your local Starbucks ready with the latest music for sale that just happens to be playing when you buy your next mocha frap. Marketing is a heavy component of the media air we breathe.

There is nothing new here, marketing both obvious and not so obvious hits us over the head all day long. If you accept it elsewhere it will just take time before you begin to accept this activity online, flogging is only likely to get much worse before it gets any better.

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