Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Alex McNabb and blogging paranoia

Campaign's lates issue (June 11, 2006) had the usual column of absurdity by the self-proclaimed PR guru, Alex McNabb of Spot On PR. Normally, DMO doesn't care to comment on his nonsense, but since he touched on blogging, it seems like it's time to take a look at what he was blabbering about.

McNabb suggests that a lot of the blogs are there to promote one company or another. He says,
Perhaps now you can tell me which one of our region's celebrated blogs is being targeted by shills in the pay of big corporations.
Welcome to the new paranoia.

Ah, Alex Alex.. the truth of the matter is, most corporations are not half as sophisticated as they would like to think. Blogging is hardly taken seriously by any major corporation. Besides, really, how many regional blogs are 'celebrated'?

Aside from Secret Dubai and Emirates Economist, there really isn't any other decent UAE-based blog. Of course there are a couple regional ones here and there, but they hardly promote any companies. Perhaps Mahmood's Den could be taken as an MTC Vodafone advocate with his Boycott Batelco.


Blogger secretdubai said...

Wow - thank you for the kind words!

And I agree totally about the paranoia. There isn't a single blog I am aware of out of the hundreds we've had on the blogrolls that is secretly promoting any company.

There are corporate blogs (Communicate's is particularly interesting) and there are blogs where people specifically blog about their work/company (The Viral Idea being a good example) but nothing so far underhand.

If Alex could provide an example of a "bought blog" I would be very interested to see it.

June 15, 2006 3:14 AM  
Blogger Dubai Media Observer said...

Not sure how people can continue to call my words kind? You are ruining my positioning strategy!

Anyhow, Alex is a nutcase who thinks he knows far more than he actually does. Of course, it would be unfair to say he really thinks such blogs do exist, but he does pose the question.

I find both blogs rather dull.. Campaign's blog is actually a bit more entertaining than the others.

June 15, 2006 10:04 AM  
Blogger Insipid Chagrin said...

I was recently conducting paid research for a PR company that was looking into just such a manouever - spam blogs with "coincidential" pitches that would reek of innocence but be the utter epitome of medacity.

My two cents was that it won't work - no one reads sideline blogs, so exposure would be dismal. And all the worthy blogs have authors with a good head firmly affixed on their shoulders, so company promotions would just be wiped clean.

Does anyone else get the feeling that the great McNabb is writing about Western trends (e.g consumer blogs in the great US of A are very easy to impose upon as they're so many of them) and then squirreling to try and get them to fit in with the Middle Eastern context??

June 15, 2006 11:55 AM  
Blogger Dubai Media Observer said...

insipid chagrin:

I would be interested if you could share some of your findings from that research with us (unless of course you cannot).. maybe just the overview of it.

I think 'shilling' as McNabb calls it, is an interesting idea. However, I think this would be a lot more applicable in newspapers' letters to the editor, op-eds, etc.

Blogs are gaining momentum in the region. The smarter companies should probably begin exploring supporting the ones that already align with their attitude (not necessarily their views) by advertising with them.

The thing is, most of the real audience to blogs and as such are techies and media junkies. The rest of the population could hardly care.

June 15, 2006 3:59 PM  
Blogger Insipid Chagrin said...

Agree wholeheartedly with your analysis - keep a close eye on 6 Days' letter pages - there are some letters there that are very very close to being outright ad material, and there's really no way they could just sneak in unless there was a tacit agreement. But it's sometimes hard to draw the line:
For instance, this little gem "PS: Waxys do the bargain of the football season, five pints and a carvery on Saturdays for 50 chips, absolutely cracking!!!" appeared in the 7 days letter page on the 13th of June.

Now, this could be a stand-up letter defending the place from a patron, or could be a PR response. I think its the former, not the latter, but merely illustrating that your point is well made.

'Fraid i can't really put the research on public domain as i've already recieved money for it, and have therefore transfered ownership rights to it. Sorry.

June 16, 2006 6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A good corporate blog is the one from Flip Corp (no, I don't work there!)...I disagree that Campaign's blog is any good. It seems to me just an advertisement for the magazine...and who cares about the editor's problems getting people on the phone!? BORING. DMO, what is remotely interesting about that?

June 18, 2006 1:53 PM  
Blogger Dubai Media Observer said...

Flip's blog is okay.. perhaps it's not of as much interest to me as Campaign's.

June 18, 2006 7:22 PM  

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