A “personalized web log” being used as a promotional/engagement tool by Amazon.com:
“…your Plog is a personalized web log [i.e. a blog] that appears on your customer home page. Every person’s Plog is different (hence the name) and just like a blog, your Plog is sorted in reverse chronological order. Each post also gives you the opportunity to provide feedback to the sender as to whether you liked the post or not. This feedback loop means your Plog becomes even more relevant and interesting over time…. Your Plog will appear if you are logged into our web site and is visible only to you.
So of course I immediately checked out my Plog™ to see what was there, and why, it was a post from Debbie Weil, in which she discussed (extremely briefly) this story by AP technology reporter Rachel Konrad on the topic of CEO blogging:
“…She quotes Jonathan Schwartz, the only Fortune 500 CEO to date with a public blog:
“The blog has become for me the single most effective vehicle to communicate to all of our constituencies – developers, media, analysts and shareholders,” Schwartz said in an interview in his Silicon Valley office. “When I go out and have dinner with a key analyst on Wall Street or a key investor from Europe and ask them if they’ve read my blog, they almost universally say yes.”
“Ultimately, a good blog is good writing. Most CEOs are not good writers,” said Debbie Weil, a Washington-based consultant and author of The Corporate Blogging Book.
“The packaging and controlling of the corporate message has always been done for them, so often they don’t realize that writing well is hard work and takes time and thought and practice,” said Weil…”
Now, I’m all for companies using their innovative muscle to leverage new methods of communication, but I’m not sure that this particular use is anything more than more advertising noise, for two reasons:
1) I didn’t choose (subscribe) to Debbie Weil’s Plog™ (it’s actually kind of the reverse of a blog, when you think about it – the content comes to me, rather than my going to the content, and I am assuming, based on Amazon’s literature, that I can expect posts from all sorts of different people to appear in my Plog™. Actually, the more I think about it, the more this model starts to sound like email. Email that’s 100% spam). Ultimately, this model removes the thing that makes blogging so durable and attractive – choice. My ability to filter in and out exactly what I want to read about.
2) There are three posts in my Plog™ from Debbie. One dated September 16th and two more from August. They are also very short and not very deep. In other words, the quality and frequency of the content is insufficient to keep me coming back. And, because Debbie already has several blogs, if I’m really interested, I am going to leave Amazon.com and go to her place instead.
I have to wonder, branding opportunities aside, why Amazon chose to re-invent the wheel?