Thursday, November 15, 2007

AdAge hoodwinks bloggers with Power 150?

When it was announced last summer that Ad Age was taking over Todd Andrik's Power 150 ranking of top Ad/PR/Marketing blogs, many in the blogosphere were thrilled with the possibilities. I wrote about it at Daily Fix and thought it was a great idea because:

Ad Age would now have a vested interest in promoting Ad/PR/Marketing bloggers. The publication could now use these bloggers as sources for articles, or even interview some of them. For example, if Ad Age quoted Armano, they could say 'Critical Mass' David Armano, whose Logic+Emotion blog is currently #20 in the Ad Age Power 150, says...' A win-win for everyone, as Ad Age can create better content, and the bloggers have an incentive in promoting the content that Ad Age does create. Sourcing the bloggers also gives more weight to the Power 150 itself.

But now 4 months later, the only thing that I can see that Ad Age has done to leverage the Power 150, is to create a nifty 'badge' that any member of the Power 150 can add to their blog. And yes, this badge links back to Ad Age's site.

The top article on the site right now is one on how Word of Mouth Marketing is booming. Where are the supporting quotes from bloggers? What about getting insight from Andy Sernovitz, who blogs and literally wrote the book on word of mouth marketing? How about a quote or two from Jackie Huba or Ben McConnell, who coined the term 'Customer Evangelism'?

So for all the talk about how Ad Age was embracing 'new media and its potential', it seems that in this case, it is little more than linkbait. I hope I'm wrong, because the Power 150 could create so much more value for both Ad Age, and the bloggers they claim to be embracing.


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Anonymous said...


I was thinking the same thing the other day. Somehow, I expected them to do something more with it than Todd did, as an individual.

I think all they've done is make the 150 a list of 600+.


Anonymous said...

I don't know if "hoodwinked" is the right word, but it certainly has not lived up to expectations. In addition, I've lost all faith in both the subjective measure used to rank blogs and the anachronistic Bloglines ranking, which should only hold a weight commensurate with its market share.

What I have appreciated immeasurably, though, is the fact that they made available an OPML file of the blogs on my list, which I imported into my reader. This has allowed me to quickly browse news across the 'sphere and stay in touch with the conversation.

Anonymous said...

I more or less agree with you, Mack. I thought that the inclusion of the Power 150 on AdAge's site would lead to more highlighting of the blog world but that hasn't turned out to be the case.

It's still a great list, but AdAge obviously took it over as a way to build their own brand ("Look - we have the 150 most influentialist blogs evah!") than to become participants in the larger community.

Mack Collier said...

I understand why Ad Age is doing what they are doing, and I know they are benefiting from all the extra traffic/exposure and are no doubt seeing their Pagerank get a bit of a pop from all the incoming links.

But that primarily benefits Ad Age. The readers do get the benefit of having the list as a resource, and the bloggers get exposure from being on the list.

Still, I think if they had actually started involving bloggers on the list and in general in the creation of their content, everyone wins for the reasons already stated.

Scott Monty said...

The joke's on them. I altered the badge so it only directs to the Power 150 List. I couldn't care less about AdAge at this point, for the very reasons you mention, Mack.

Gavin Heaton said...

Too true, unfortunately. I have a post in draft that has been sittin there to remind me to come back to the AdAge/Power 150 question.

I have been holding my breath. But nothing. It is a shame that the great opportunity that this represented has simply not been explored.

Anonymous said...

Great post and observation. It's time for those on the Power 150 to refuse permission for Ad Age to carry their links without reciprocity.

Anonymous said...

Mack -- It's so very sad in my mind. I really expected them to leverage the people on this list a lot more. What better content than to tap a group of experienced people who are in the trenches.

They could always turn this around so it's not too late. Better yet, they could communicate to the group and let us know their plans.

Mack Collier said...

Matt that's what's most disappointing to me, the fact that they have had the Power 150 on their site for about 4 months now and have done nothing with it, suggests that they didn't PLAN on doing anything with it.

Wait....they did expand it to about 1,000 blogs, which means more badges to hand out, and more links for them.

Funny because Jonah Bloom left this comment on my DF post back in July: "All that said, are we really going to keep up this "MSM" 'them and us' thing going? It just feels very 3 years ago."

How ironic.

Anonymous said...

...and Ad Age continues to bash bloggers

Anonymous said...

And how is this link baiting and the badge different from the top 25 marketing blogs thing that you do?

Mack Collier said...

"And how is this link baiting and the badge different from the top 25 marketing blogs thing that you do?"

LOL! I figured someone might ask this, figured it would be an 'anonymous' person that did so.

First, the graphic I have doesn't have the link back here attached. Anyone in the Top 25 is free to use it on their site if they want. Many do, and some do so without linking back here. I've never asked anyone to link back here, and never will.

Second, the links I get from the Top 25 aren't the reason why I am doing the list. If it was, I would have quit it last summer. I got a huge influx of links from the list last May and June, but since then it has cooled down considerably. I now get about 2-5 links from each week's post, and many of those are from sites that have already linked to me, so they don't count as 'new' links to Technorati.

Also, if I were interested in getting links, the list would have a helluva lot more blogs on it than 25. Which is another reason why the Ad Age list has ballooned to 600 or whatever it is.

I do the Top 25 Marketing Blogs list because I want it to serve as a reference guide for people that are looking for the best marketing blogs out there, and as a tool to bring exposure to the blogs that some people might overlook. And it's my subjective list. I have refused to add many blogs that wanted to be added as a 'marketing' blog, and I didn't think they were, at least not in the sense that the ones listed are. I've had bloggers tell me that they were never going to read this blog again and delete my feed from their reader. If I were just in it for the links, I would have gladly added them.

A big reason why these type lists aren't started or maintained is because unless you can come up with some automated process, it's just too damned much work. I've now gotten it down to where I can do each week's list in about an hour, but originally it took about 2 hours a week.

There are easier ways to get links, believe me.

Anonymous said...

I have also been disappointed with the AdAge rendition of Todd's wonderful work. I was hoping for more collaboration and activity, and maybe even some links. I get one occasionally, but it doesn't amount to much.

There is certainly a lot that could be contributed to AdAge from the bloggers on the list (although I can't speak for the many more that have been added). Too bad they aren't doing something else with it. I can't even use their "numbered" badge on my site, anyway, as doesn't like coded badges.

Mack, I really do appreciate your Top 25 Marketing Blogs list. I get many more links from that which are people who are actually interested in what I have to say.

You rock, Mack. You really do!

Susan Getgood said...

I've never been too fond of lists anyway, and agree with Cam's comment about the subjective and bloglines ranking. Bloglines is heavily skewed to older blogs, and I also question how much of that is "real" in that a lot of people have abandoned Bloglines for other readers but never bother to unsub. On the subjective, it never changes, even though the content of blogs on the lists has. Whatever flaws it has, and there are many, Trati at least reflects something dynamic.

Oh and BTW I do link to you Mack from the badge. Whatever link juice you get, you deserve for keeping the list running.

Anonymous said...

Mark -

Agree. And one fun thing I have done with the list is create a custom Google search for the list. Handy to search what bloggers are saying, like 'ROI' or something to that effect. Try it here -


jb@aa said...

If we used hoodwinked, we'd likely be sued as it suggests we duped people, which we absolutely didn't. We said we'd make a home for it on our site and thus bring the blogs to a wider audience. That was the main thrust of our taking it on--that and Todd feeling it was too much work for one man--and we've delivered on that. We've even added a feature or two, like the badge and the OPML file.

But I think there's fair criticism here too and take some of that on board. I had hoped we'd have done more with it by now, and we've perhaps been sidetracked by the work we've been doing to build our daily video show 3 Minute Ad Age. I also agree about Bloglines, although we do need some sort of RSS measure in there. Still, we do have plans to improve it, and to do more with the community--if you want to work with us--and I'll e-mail everyone about that soon.

I am also happy to hear constructive suggestions for what we can do. But suggestions that we "bash bloggers" are just dumb and suggest the same kind of narrow-minded them vs. us thinking as MSM is often accused of. (There's good and bad media, and that cuts across platform lines.) Sure, there are times when we're going to be critical of a blog or someone who is a blogger. Just as we'd be critical of anything or anyone in media and marketing. And other times we're going to highlight something excellent on a blog--as we do dozens and dozens of times a week--or tap a blogger as expert.

That's my biased view.
Jonah, Editor, Ad Age