Sunday, April 27, 2014

Blogging: The Transaction Vibe, and What's Wrong With It

So, I was just on Blogchat, unsuccessfully trying to express an opinion in 140 characters. And thought I'd try to express it here.

There are business interactions where the customer is well aware of the nature of the transaction, and are perfectly comfortable with it. When you enter a store, or eat in a restaurant, or get your shoes shined, you are quite aware that the interaction is a transaction. It's about money. It's about you getting value for your money and the business getting value for their products or services.

But there are other interactions that aren't that way. When you go to a movie, for example, you're well aware that it's a transaction from the point of view of the theater--you buy your ticket, you pay money for your popcorn, and so on. But the movie is not supposed to be a transaction. It may be packed to the gills with product placements, but that fact is supposed to be invisible to the viewer.

The same is true of television, and books, and newspapers. You're aware that the whole experience is framed with money--you see the commercials, you paid for the books, you see the ads in the newspapers. But you expect the core of the experience to be business-free, to be just for you, without any "But what about us?" vibe from the business.

And sometimes, the same can be true of the earlier things that I mentioned--the store, the restaurant, and so on. When you go to a Michelin-starred restaurant and spring for the tasting menu, you expect the subsequent experience to be free of further financial/business/transaction elements. That tiny piece of foie gras should look like no other size would do, rather than looking like the restauranter calculated just the right size to make a profit.

But the customer experience in (most) stores, and fast food restaurants, and groceries, and most other businesses, is soaked in the transaction vibe from beginning to end. You supersize things, you hand over your coupons, you walk past big blazing sale signs.

I think that some for-profit bloggers think that they're like the grocery store, and that since they're in business to make money, there's no harm in looking like they're in business to make money.

But there is, because readers don't want the transaction vibe. They're not at the blog to help the blogger make money, any more than a movie viewer is at the movie to help the studio to make money. The intrusion of that transaction vibe reduces the reader's enjoyment, and makes them more likely to wander off and find another blog that doesn't have that vibe.

Most of the really successful  for-profit blogs are, I believe, aware of this, even if they wouldn't put it quite that way. But many, many less successful ones are not, and I suspect that that's part of why they're not successful.



140 characters just doesn't cut it.

Picture: None. Oh, my God, no picture! The freedom of a non-profit blog.


  1. This is exactly why blogs like yours are such a joy to read. No strings attached, just pure friendly opinion.

  2. Bravo! I know these 'for-profit' blogs exist, but am not sure which they are. Assumed they were more on the beauty side rather than perfume?

  3. Thanks, Anonymous! I'm pleased that you enjoy reading it. :)

  4. Yo, Vanessa! Some beauty blogs, some fashion blogs, but the worst offenders tend to be blogs that are trying to make money by telling you how to blog to make money. Sometimes, frighteningly, they seem to assume that there will be even one more loop. (That is, that your moneymaking blog, the one that they'll make money by teaching you to make, will *also* try to teach others to create a moneymaking blog.)