To link or not to link? Chance would be a fine thing

Following my post on The Economist’s article on truthful inflight announcements, Peeter Marvet pointed me at this story in a Toronto blog. Fundamentally someone at the Economist wrote to a number of bloggers, inviting them to cover and “scoop” the story, as a seeded experiment.

Wow, I said to myself. This is what a connected world feels like. Not sure where Peeter is, my guess would be Estonia. He reads something in a Canadian blog about a magazine published in the UK experimenting with the blogosphere. Wow, I said to myself.
So I read Michael Seaton‘s post, and assumed that the “scoop” link sent to him would open up the DRMed story, so that I could share it with all of you.

I’m glad the Economist is experimenting; but there must be better ways of doing this. Why not just let a few trial stories go out there free-to-ether, stories they think are eminently linkable, and see what happens? See whether they get a spike in digital subscriptions correlated to the linkers’ locations. Whatever.

Update: Michael Seaton commented on this post, and has now provided the entire article on his blog. Thanks, Michael. And thank you again, Peeter. [BTW was I right? Is your blog written in Estonian?]
There is much to learn about all this. We need to move from Seeding-as-Marketing to Recommending-as-The-Only-Way.

Buyers will make their intentions known, either overtly or covertly; marketing has always been about reducing the buyer’s search costs and simplifying the decision to purchase. There is no better way of reducing buyer search costs other than recommendations from trusted networks. Independent trusted networks.

The independence is as important as the recommendation.

6 thoughts on “To link or not to link? Chance would be a fine thing”

  1. This is the short term future – publications, businesses, movies, bands or whatever trying to push word of mouth when it has to be pulled by genuninely interested parties as opposed to seeded bloggers.

    I talked about the idea of crowdseeding in my blog some time back, but my view on this is that individual bloggers generate their own crowds of interest based upon their true voice and genuine enthusiasms and definitely not on manipulated buzz. We’re all too idealistic/cynical, I hope, to be manipulated for any extended period and your suggestion of releasing stories and seeing what happens is what the future will be.

    The only way you can “control” the reaction is by ensuring that you produce something of sufficient quality that it will get a positive reaction.

  2. I was impressed as a long time reader that they reached out in the way they did.

    I posted a week ago on how The Economist gets the new world of social media, at least from a editorial standpoint. And I was impressed at how they reached out and personalized the initial contact with me. I did not feel like they did a cookie cutter “Dear Sir..”

    Now, they actually did send me the whole story in the email I received from Charlotte to review. I only posted the first portion of the email she sent as I was more interested in the experiement than the story itself. I inserted the link on my blog to the page where it was housed on The Economist site.

    I found it a bit strange that, although they sent me the article to review, it was not available as free content for others to see as it was behind a subscriber log-in page.

    Great idea, not a fantastic execution. The article itself was not bad…. but, I felt uneasy doing a review and when the content source of my commentary was password protected.

    This just means I am now compelled to post the whole article as it was sent to me in the email. I don’t feel manipulated as this was presented as an experiment.

    Am I giving The Economist more attention then they deserve and carrying the conversation forward on their behalf? Perhaps yes, but I am an avid reader and had blogged about them last week in a very positive light.

    I thought the experiment was well worth taking on as my voice is one of an authentic fan of the publication. However, that alone is not a bias to be a shill for them just because I have a scoop on their content.

    Thanks for your feedback. Look out for my next post!

  3. yep, I’m from Estonia :-) Your blog is in my feedreader and as the article seemed interesting I tried some searches to see if somebody interprets their fair use rights in a way that allows lenghtier quotes… Google (with selected words from your quote) didn’t return much at the moment so I tried to see if somebody has quoted different part and linked to the same article. And of course the fact that you would have liked to have the article open for blogging and it actually was some kind of an experiment simply demanded I link you two together.

    On the other hand, I might add some really Estonian perspective to this story. Namely we have practically all our newspapers freely accessible on www: most of them have tried pay-walls (typically payment by SMS) but returned to open very quickly (pink-paper business daily is the only one currently paywalled, but I understand that’ll change pretty soon). What’s interesting is dailies were struggling with notable loss financially and in readership couple of years ago, but they have recovered in both (increasing profits & circulation of printed version) despite of open access.

    I’d even say was the only seriously profitable daily for years, so they could afford to be paywalled. Now everybody is catching up and… perhaps they are feeling the discussion moving elsewhere?

    And thanks, Michael, for full article!

  4. This freaks me too, somebody writing from God knows where abroad about our own beloved Peeter “Tehnokratt” Marvet. All those strange foreign countries…

  5. So you can imagine how I felt when I installed Clustermaps and found people reading me in the strangest places…. that’s what the death of distance has come to mean….

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