When is a flog not a flog?

When it’s an advert of course!

Chris Brogan flagged an interesting post on twitter the other day, which had an interesting take of flogs and astroturfing

Flogging and Astroturfing aren’t inherently wrong, or evil.  They are just a form of advertising that we aren’t familiar with, yet. The reason so many in Social Media react so strongly is that we’ve not built up our defenses to this form of advertising.  We can’t see it coming, so when it’s finally discovered we are chagrined, dismayed, betrayed, and feeling foolish.  And our reaction to that is often anger.

Chris Keiff, 1goodreason

Kieff had reached this conclusion after meeting a real life flogger and researching for the post in which he revealed his epiphany.  He suggests that in order to avoid becoming upset by the flogs and astroturfery we need to:

“…help the industry develop the mechanisms that can indicate to the casual observer “Hey this blog comment- this twitter message is really an ad!”

Personally I think that would be a little pointless as surely the point of a fake blog or fake grassroots campaign is to sneak in under the radar by being disingenuous, which they would lose by subtly, or not so subtly ,pointing out that it’s really an actually advert .

Also I don’t think it would stop unscrupulous companies faking  blogs for exactly the same reason they do now.  So, as I suggested in the comments on Kieff’s original post, we need to help ppl develop the skills themselves to spot fakery and call shenanigans .  Just as happened with Sony’s All I want for Christmas is a PSP flog in 2006.

Which is where some help would be nice, what are the key markers for a flog? My initial suggestions are:

  • Short tenure
  • No ads, or ads for only one brand
  • Overly enthusiastic blogger who can’t help express his love for whatever, repeatedly
  • Lots on links to brand or brand related website

I am fairly sure that I’m way off on these so please correct me and make your own suggestions.

Or if you feel that I’m flogging a dead horse, tell me that too.

0 thoughts on “When is a flog not a flog?

  1. Kerry,

    I agree that we’re never going to get unscrupulous people to do the right thing.

    I do think there is room for good well intentioned marketers to use Flogging and astroturfing as an effective medium for delivering an advert. We need to figure out how to do that by delivering the cues that “this is an advert” while still being interesting and entertaining.


  2. I think we are going to have to agree to disagree. For I really don’t see how well intentioned marketers can use either flogs or astroturfing tp deliver a campaign. To me that is a total contradition.

    Or maybe we just need a new set of terms for the middle way which is niether complely fake or completly genunine – adlog or adverlog perhaps. No idea for what is between plastic grass and real grass, maybe astroturf-lite?

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