BLOGOSPHERIC HYPERPARTISANS AND CORPORATE DOLLARS
Put my hands on some unusual reading material today, the dead tree edition of Internet Retailer
. Not normally a periodical that I would much care about, but as I flipped through, an article caught my eye:
"FirstStreet wins ' passionate customers through political blogs
The key excerpt:"Mix business and politics? At first it sounded like a bad idea to Daniel Yonts, the manager of Internet marketing at TechnoBrands Inc.’s firstStreet, an e-retailer of innovative products.
But the world of political weblogs beckoned with new web territory populated with a high concentration of Baby Boomers and “active seniors,” two of firstStreet’s most sought-after groups of consumers. And when you’re a retailer that specializes in selling unusual and innovative products—like atomic watches, battery-operated refrigerators on wheels for outdoor patios, and “independent living” devices that can make life easier for aging Boomers—it makes sense to take innovative steps in marketing, too, Yonts says.
“At first, I was leary of alienating any of our customers who may be of one political persuasion or another,” Yonts says. But after running ads on blogs like the Right’s DanielPipes.org and the Left’s DavidCorn.com, Yonts realized that while the blogs produced new customers, he also could engage the few complainers in positive e-mail communications that resulted in helpful insights on consumer interests.
“I point out that firstStreet advertises on blogs from the Left, Right and Center of the political spectrum equally,” Yonts says. “What started out with a disgruntled customer calling us ‘Communists’ or ‘Right-Wingers’ settled into incredibly civil and interesting conversations.”
Being a good capitalist, I have no ethical problem with bloggers getting advertising dollars for their writing, even crypto-socialist lefties who normally abhor corporate America. But longitudinally, this article sparks some questions:
If the ad revenue ever becomes significant, "real money" as it were, will the lively extremes of opinion and idiosyncratic style for which the blogosphere is noted become homogenized ?
Or, will " real money" temptations drive bloggers, especially popular ones, to go to even greater levels of polarization and demonizing rhetoric ?
What will "moderate" ( I mean tempermentally as well as politically) do if this situation develops ? It is hardly healthy that the feedback loop that is forming is a dynamic to reward the most irresponsible behavior by the bloggers with the deepest influence.
Thoughts ?CONCEPTUALLY RELATED LINKS:
" by John Robb
" thread at the Small Wars Council
. Pay particular attention to the comments by Selil