Op-Ed

Op-Ed
BlogJam of the Week: Threedom of Speech?

Russ Pitts | 2 Nov 2006 15:12
Op-Ed - RSS 2.0

We're all, at this point, familiar with blogs. At least I hope we are. You're reading one now, if it helps. We're also all, I assume (at my own peril) familiar with advertising. The two phenomena usually remain separate. That is, in form, if not function.

A blog is nothing short of a short-format editorial publication, cranking out rapidly updatable, and widely dispersible bits of information and opinion. Adverts (that's how the British say it /wink) are similarly easy to disperse and usually catchy, but tend to limit their scope to espousing the merits of one product or service. You may find yourself slowly becoming a fan of one or more product by virtue of assimilating the offerings of a well-written blog, but usually only by virtue of the fact that said product may be of sufficient quality to attract the attention of a blogger, and thereby your attention as a reader.

So, while editorials may advertise and adverts may editorialize, we can all agree that the two are usually not the same animal.

Until, that is, we start looking at advertorials.

An advertorial is an editorial publication commissioned by a commercial entity for the sole purpose of promulgating good will towards one or more of its products. You usually see them tucked into magazines with the words "paid advertisement" across the top. They may be one or more pages in length, and if the company making them knows what they're doing, barely distinguishable from the content created by the editorial staff of the publication in which they appear.

The idea is that savvy readers, for whom the act of breezing past adverts is almost second nature, may linger a moment, attracted by actual content and convinced to give the advertisers a chance to throw their pitch.

It's a smart tactic, and usually done with class. After all, who among us can claim to know everything? Isn't it nice to find out about a good product or service, about which you were previously ignorant? If course it is, and it's for that purpose that many of us spend the time we do browsing the web, looking at websites, community forums and blogs.

So, if you're the head of an embattled console maker, you've put your company billions of yen in the hole, you can't find a single blog willing to publish the good news about your product and you really really need to sell the damn thing or else be forced to do that thing with the tea ceremony and the short knife, what do you do Hotshot? What do you do?

Why, you make your own adverblog, of course.

As the folks at Gamesetwatch have correctly pointed out, the Three Speech website claims to not be "part of PlayStation, but it does get to speak to PlayStation."

Uhuh. So I guess that would mean they're a semi-official Sony blog?

"You could say we're 'semi official.'"

Right. Semi-official also means semi-independent, semi-biased and semi-credible. Part editorial, part advertisement. Welcome to the adverblog.

If you're looking for potentially exclusive, possibly objective and wholly endorsed news about one single product, brought to you by the people who make it, I recommend adding Three Speech to your RSS feed. Should be good for a few laughs at least.

For example, I've been having to correct my spelling of their name all day. I keep wanting to type Three Brain or Free Space. Must be a mental block.

BlogJam Score: For continuing to break new ground, test boundaries and shift paradigms, I'm awarding Sony/Three Speech a BlogJam score of 3; which is, coincidentally, the number of PS3 consoles North America will be receiving at launch.

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