Multichannel Merchant reports on the expansion of UK gadget merchant Firebox into the US market. Unremarkable you’d think, accept for these juicy parts:
Bill Linn, a partner with Sandbox Strategies [Firebox’s PR firm], says his firm looked for blogs popular with techies or pop culture enthusiasts, then e-mailed them messages about unique products, deals, and contests offered by Firebox.com. The company started with major blogs such as Boing Boing, Engadget, and Gizmodo; news of Firebox then circulated among smaller blogs that linked to the larger ones.
“Not every one of our clients can get away with that, but when you have product lines like gizmos and toys, you can feed the blogs and generate sales,” Linn says. “We found that blogs don’t respond well if your message is too corporate, so we cut that out and got to what’s important to the reader.”
Yep, that’s 3 of the biggest names in the blogosphere: Engadget (Weblogs Inc), Gizmodo (Gawker Media) and Boing Boing, all happy participants in a scheme that was nothing more than a marketing ploy to make sales.
Before any one tut tut’s me though, I’m not necessarily saying this is wrong, and indeed it’s something that’s been going on for a couple of years now, but many in the blogosphere still hold themselves high upon the dais of perfect morality, when the truth is we all get spinned to, all the time, and some of the time we nibble on the bait.