A few different company and industry colleagues have asked over the past few days if some bloggers — in a rabid quest for attention and traffic — are inherently mandated to chime in the iPhone launch. The question is whether they’re consciously and opportunistically exploiting human readers and search engines that are primed and sensitized to the event — similar to ambulance chasers.
My answer is yes. But the iPhone is not unique. There are a number of categories and topics that, simply by blogging about them, will almost guarantee a bump in human and machine traffic — Web 2.0, MySpace, Facebook or porn, for instance, are good topical and brand examples.
It’s simple: If you’re agenda is garnering eyeballs and attention, then it makes sense to jockey yourself around where those eyeballs and attention are headed. Those who better time rising tides will reap better rewards.
But it’s important to note this phenomenon also is prevalent among mainstream consumer, business, tech and media publishers. They do the same; just look at the iPhone front- and home-page placement on all the top news sites. And I’ve seen many cross-promoting the story across their networks and attempting to lure readers in via paid search. There’s a me-too motivation, but the fear of losing audience by not casting the net is perhaps a larger driver. Of course, the risk for a publisher is losing sense of self in the relentless quest for headlines with predictable results. Ultimately, you want to balance trend-catching versus trend-defining.
For brands, manifesting into a rising tide of positive attention can be a very good thing at launch. Without a doubt, there’s an element of self-fulling prophecy going on here; it’s a buzz tornado that sucks you in.
Obviously, I also was a victim of the iPhone buzz trap. But at least I veered from the herd and avoided sharing what I think about the product, without even owning or seeing one — what the brand would’ve liked me to do.
Finally, I will be happy to report an estimate of what this iPhone-related post does to my blog traffic over the next few days. I think we already know the answer.