Bloggers indicate desire for PR pitches over advertising

NEW YORK: Almost three-quarters of bloggers would be open to PR pitches if contacted, according to a recent survey of more than 600 people who maintain weblogs.

NEW YORK: Almost three-quarters of bloggers would be open to PR pitches if contacted, according to a recent survey of more than 600 people who maintain weblogs.

The survey, answered by those who have submitted their sites to the Blog Search Engine, which categorizes more than 2,800 personal and business blogs by subject matter, is a rare glimpse into the habits of users in an increasingly influential medium. Overall, it demonstrated among blog-owners a surprising preference for PR pitches over advertising, with more than half of the respondents saying they would not run ads even if they were given the chance.

Moreover, the survey provided more evidence that PR professionals remain hesitant in testing the waters when it comes to blogs. Less than 10% of the bloggers who participated reported that they had been contacted by a company or organization seeking coverage.

"People in the PR industry do not necessarily know how to approach blogs, because there's a danger that comes with blogs," said Loren Baker, who runs Blog Search Engine. "It's comfort and fear that are the reasons a lot of bloggers haven't been contacted - the fear that you don't know what's going to happen with that information, and it might come back to bite you."

Blogs are typically subject to fewer editorial restrictions than mainstream news organizations, including those that govern conventions from the timing of news cycles to questions of taste. However, blogs have held more and more sway in public discussions on topics as different as the war in Iraq and celebrity gossip.

Despite the fact that maintaining blogs can cost their owners some money due to hosting fees and other charges, many respondents indicated a reluctance to accept advertising dollars, citing ethical reasons.

"Some bloggers believe that this is a chance to speak their mind, and they think that being independent is important," Baker said. "Many think that advertising kills credibility."

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