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March 06, 2009

Skittles scuffle and blogger bling: March 6, 2009 Week in Review

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This week's WIR curator is Eden Spodek. Eden has her fingers in several social media pies, but is perhaps best known for blogging at Bargainista.ca.

Seen Around the Blogosphere

Two big stories in the blogosphere this week concerned Skittles new online presence and a brief from Forrester about whether or not it’s cool for companies to pay bloggers to talk about their brand. Reputation is the common thread.

Skittles Tastes the Rainbow of Social Media

Skittles (and Agency.com) took a brave dive into the social media pool and ended up swimming with the sharks. Essentially, they traded in their kid-friendly website for a widget (accessed by their URL, skittles.com) with Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, YouTube and Flickr starring the background depending on when you visit (latest word is they’ve decided upon Wikipedia as their permanent background.)

The site launched Friday, February 27. By Monday there was a huge kerfuffle on Twitter. The background was actually the Twitter search page and all tweets that included the name of their brand appeared in the search results: good, bad and ugly.

I did a quick analysis at one point and saw Skittles tweets updating at a rate of two per second. Some of the twitterati decided to put Skittles to the test and tweeted everything from obscene language to racial slurs. Interesting approach since until now, Skittle Twitter presence was in the form of a locked account with cat as an avatar. Some people think they should have maintained better control of their home page and their brand. What about you?

Hard to say what the impact has been on their sales. As for their reputation, opinions seem to be mixed but it sure can’t be any worse than Skittles vodka. Stay tuned.

Forrester Weighs in on Paying Bloggers

Last December, there was a great divide when Chris Brogan (and at least one other high-profile marketer) partnered with Kmart and went on a $500 shopping spree at Kmart’s expense. Chris was upfront about the entire experience and his reasons for participating. The goods went to charity but the community was left divided as to whether or not Chris did the right thing by participating in the program.

With the release of their brief, Add Sponsored Conversations To Your Toolbox: Why You Should Pay Bloggers To Talk About Your Brand, the folks at Forrester say it’s cool to pay bloggers to talk about your brand, provided proper disclosures are in place. They call it sponsored content and advised marketers to take note. Steve Rubel summarized the brief and Mitch Joel shared his perspective.

Google weighed in as well.

As for marketers and bloggers, both must navigate how to participate successfully in such programs while maintaining the integrity and reputation of their brands.

Releases, Announcements and News
BlackBerry announced the launch of BlackBerry App World. Let the app wars begin!

This Week's Video Meme
LeVar Burton, of Roots, Star Trek TNG and Reading Rainbow fame was in Toronto earlier this week for an interview on The Hour with George Stromboulopoulos. He decided to organize his first tweetup and gave some Toronto tweeps a thrill.


Some definite pros and cons to the new Skittles website. How it's applied to the corporate world may have a lot of advantages if you are willing to take the downfalls. I wrote a post myself on the pros/cons. http://blog.9thsphere.com/blog/social-networking-your-next-website

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