Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, February 26

Gapers Block

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Cinnamon / February 20, 2005 5:02 PM

It works great for me. Couldn't imagine getting my lil'business off the ground without one. However I don't think it's appropriate for every company and there are limits about what I will and won't write about. For small crafty-style businesses it seems like a necessity but for larger companies I think it might be a hindrance.

Tim / February 21, 2005 9:15 AM

They can be an asset to both the business and the consumer. The hardest part is for the blog to offer a real benefit (information, humor, other) to the consumer so that they contribute and continue to return to the blog.

steven / February 21, 2005 9:21 AM

It's probably best that our company doesn't have one. Otherwise, it would be filled with posts like "layoffs today. more layoffs tomorrow. be happy you have a job, blah blah blah".

That said, I'm off to

Emerson Dameron / February 21, 2005 9:27 AM

If it's tied to a for-profit enterprise, I don't think it can ever be as nervy or entertaining as a personal venture can, but at least it's consistently got something to talk about. Can't say that for a lot of independent blogs.

Benjy / February 21, 2005 10:52 AM

It's great when companies can find ways to use blogs to promote their business by presenting a human side and demonstating their expertise in the field, ie. 37 Signal's Signal vs. Noise. But not many businesses are successful at it. For every one that does get it, there are dozens that look silly because they don't understand what makes blogs powerful.

Tom / February 21, 2005 1:57 PM

Benjy -- if you have a minute or two for a digression -- what makes them powerful?

Seriously, I don't spend much time on the internet and haven't had much exposure to this. I don't even know if my company has one. Does anyone have any examples?

Benjy / February 21, 2005 3:49 PM

Tom -- The power in business blogs are their ability to communicate with current and potential customers in a human voice, that demonstrates both an expertise and passion for the area of their business as well as establishes the company as a group of actual human beings. Too often, though, companies try to set up blogs because it's the hot thing and don't understand that. When you can tell that the posts have been written by PR people and vetted by legal, it loses that human voice and passion.

For some good business blogs, take a look at : Signal vs. Noise, the blog for web designers 37 Signals. Also, Jewelboxing has a nice blog that followed the launch of the product, its developments and how customers are using it.

Shasta MacNasty / February 21, 2005 4:01 PM

I'm very wary of business blogs unless its a small company. Just today, I was checking my email and my host sent a note saying they now have their own blog software:

"Blogs have quickly transformed online communication, giving people the perfect platform to voice opinions, chronicle their lives or ignite viral marketing campaigns."

I'm sorry, "viral marketing campaigns?" That just rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe I'm just too skeptical and distrust corporations and their motives.

Tim / February 21, 2005 4:10 PM

Hey Mac(fly)Nasty,

You are "very wary of business blogs unless its a small company" and your "just too skeptical and distrust corporations and their motives." Did you notice the gooooole ads to the right of your screen? "Business Blogs", "holistic Spiritual Blogs", "custom blogs for you"? This is called ADVERTISING. What, are going to throw overboard for paying the bills? Grow up already, everything is marketing. Now go buy something.

Brandy / February 21, 2005 5:09 PM

I think biz and blogs can be a good match if the people behind the blog know something about blog culture. Smacks very false when they don't know what they're doing and it's obvious that they are just jumping on a buzzword bandwagon.

My blogs have been good for my site/business. It's what keeps folks coming back.

paul / February 21, 2005 5:36 PM

Businesses get sold on the wrong reason to have a weblog. " people the perfect platform to voice opinions, chronicle their lives or ignite viral marketing campaigns." is exacly what corporations are afraid of. Corporate marketing is all about controlling the message, and salesman will always be afraid of opinions getting in the way of the pitch.

The real reasons to have a company weblog should be obvious to any confident company.

Putting a human editor (or editors) in charge of collecting, linking to and commenting on topical news and other info/opinions on the web is an extremely effective way to position yourself as an expert in a specific field.

The majority of examples are internet/tech/design related like the excellent xBlog. But many more exist now in other fields like media, manufacturing and believe it or not, marketing and PR. Of course some businesses are better fitted for this concept than others - for example someone should have been able to convince Sam's to start a wineblog years ago.

I could go on and on about the benefits of human editors and open comments but it should be obvious that anything that puts a company in the position of having to be confident about their product, or their knowledge, is good for that company.

Corporate managers today are too scared to make free coffee for their employees without wieghing the risks and costs, so imagine how hard it is to convince them to hire someone to make and solicit opinions on their industry, and if you got that far, try convincing them to share their knowledge and those opinions with the entire web.

Shasta MacNasty / February 22, 2005 10:51 AM

Tim: You're so sexy when you throw a nonsensical tantrum. Now go read your email and respond with something that makes sense.

Your shining star,

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