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Business Week : Explosive growth of blogs means big business

Business Week says the explosive growth of blogs means they are suddenly in Madison Avenue’s sights. An estimated 4.8 million blogs now exist in cyberspace, up from just 100,000 two years ago, according to blog search engine Technorati.

The article discusses the money making opportunities from blogs and even discusses American Lawyer Media’s recent entry into the blog ad business by sponsoring some well known lawyer blogs. It also raises the potential conflict between blog journalism and promoting products.

Advertising potential for blog industry

Most of you are lawyers and law marketing professionals. You are not looking at blogs for generating ad dollars. But thought it worthwhile to share some of the info in the article about the upside for the blog industry.

Online advertising is estimated to grow about 35% this year. This far outpaces the spending increases for any other sector of the media world. In addition about 11% of Internet users today are inveterate blog readers.

BlogAds, which places ads on blogs is placing ads on 50 to 100 blogs a day for up to 20 advertisers, including Sharp Electronics Corp. and Walt Disney Co. Just six months ago, the firm served 20 blogs for about 10 advertisers.

American Lawyer Media sponsoring blogs

Last month American Lawyer Media (ALM) started a blog network on its site. The site links to eight independent lawyer blogs. The lawyers in turn agree to host ads from various marketers, and in return ALM shares the advertising revenue and pays hosting fees for the blogs.

Conflict between blog journalism and promotion

Business Week says it won’t be easy for those looking to push products online, and bloggers to co-exist.

The article discusses the car blog with Audi as its exclusive sponsor. It’s sparked debate in the blogging world about whether that constitutes selling out. Audi loves the sponsorship since 85% of Audi buyers do research online before coming into a showroom. It’s willing to risk some bloggers bad-mouthing Audi.

Jason Calacanis posts disclaimers on his 60 Weblogs Inc. clearly labeling advertising as distinct from editorial content.

Law firm blog a conflict?

Law firm blogs providing legal information on a niche topic are no more a conflict than a law firm Web site or email newsletter. You are providing practical information to maintain mindshare with your target audience and extend the brand of the firm’s expertise. Sure it’s promotion, the best form of it, and fully disclosed with notice that the blog is published by the law firm.

Bottom line from Business Week: “…[T]he business of blogs is in its infancy, with lots to be worked out. But that’s not stopping marketers, entrepreneurs, and writers alike from diving into this newest form of New Media.

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