51.jpgIf you’re reading this there’s not much point in talking about the blogging phenomenon apart from to say that they can boost your business or destroy it almost overnight. In the last few years no less than 8 million blogs have been created and one survey estimates the number of blogs currently being created to be about one every 3 seconds. Admittedly most of these blogs seem to be written by sixteen year old girls talking about Britney Spears but there’s also a serious side – tens of millions of people potentially talking about bad experiences with your product (or good experiences). One micro-pundit has even suggested that companies should employ someone whose job it is to put the word ‘sucks’ after their brand name and enter it into google to see what people are saying. The best known example of how a swarm of bloggers can ruin your company is Kryptonite bike locks. In the space of just 10 days a posting on a blog saying that the company’s product was defective was spread virally and seen by 1.8 million people. The result was a crippled reputation together with a forced product exchange that cost the company US $10m. On another occasion bloggers claimed the scalp of a CNN executive who allegedly claimed that the US was targeting journalists in Iraq. These examples are interesting but the bigger picture is fascinating – people are getting fed up with what’s on offer from the mainstream media so they’re creating their own. Traditional media, and ‘expert sources’, will thus lose their monopoly on content as ordinary individuals go online to express their own news and opinions. We could therefore see vast numbers of people checking blogs before buying anything or going anywhere (they already do). What are the consequences of this for traditional media, retailers and manufacturers?

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