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Last Updated: Monday, 5 June 2006, 07:55 GMT 08:55 UK
The growing market for blogs

Ahead of Tuesday's Content 2.0 event in London on interactive media, marketer, blogger and conference speaker James Cherkoff argues its time for companies to wake up to the power of blogs

A blogger uses his laptop
Bloggers now have influence beyond the internet
It's the interaction between blogs that makes them so interesting and influential.

A single blog can be akin to a ranting madman on the corner.

However, when linked together into massive intertwining communities, they have the vibrancy and passion of an enormous street market.

Information, opinions and whispers exchange hands at light speed. And it's no longer confined to techie chats.

Conversations about every conceivable subject take place, from newborn twins to politics, or rants about brands and products.

As the quantity and quality of these conversations grows, so does the blogosphere's influence beyond the internet, including the commercial sector.

Pay attention

Consumer power is not a new thing. What is new is the passion that the blogging community creates and the speed at which communities builds.

Media professionals often write off user-generated content as amateur and poor quality, and, of course, a lot of it is.

James Cherkoff
User-generated media has gradually created groups of independently- minded critics who constantly publish their views to faithful audiences

However, enthusiasm for these new media tools is infectious and many amateurs are striking chords among their audiences in ways that traditional media struggles to do.

It's worth noting that gender stereotypes are changing too.

Livejournal, a big provider of blogging tools, has 500,000 UK users and females outnumber males 2:1.

A key element of this new type of media is the trust that people have in it.

If someone's blog raves about a new product people take notice because they know the publisher has no vested interest.

Unsatisfied customers can immediately tell the world and hook up with their disgruntled brethren.

The resulting energy and passion can make traditional media look quite pallid in comparison.

User-generated media has gradually created groups of independently-minded critics who constantly publish their views to faithful audiences.

If the traditional press is the fourth estate, the blogosphere can be thought of as a new, fifth estate. If there is a story to tell, it will publish and be damned.

James Cherkoff is Director and co-founder of Collaborate Marketing and editor of the blog Modern Marketing. He will be speaking at the Content 2.0 conference in London on 6 June.

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