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December 09, 2008

People don’t trust company blogs. What you should do about it.

by Josh Bernoff

Consumers trust company blogs less than any other channel.

This result comes from a survey we did in Q2 of 2008. Have a look at the data yourself. Not only do blogs rank below newspapers and portals, they rank below wikis, direct mail, company email, and message board posts. Only 16% of online consumers who read corporate blogs say they trust them. If you’re a corporate blogger or somebody who advises companies, you need to take this into account.

blog trust

For our clients, the full report is here. If you're a marketer who would be interested in this report, you can download it after you register here.

Now I suspect this report is going to generate a lot of discussion in the blogosphere, and it’s easy to misinterpret. So please, humor me and read the rest of this post before you write your own take on this. If you’re interested in the way we collect data, that’s at the end.

We examined these results further. Among people who regularly read blogs (at least once a month), 24% trust company blogs. Among people who blog themselves, 39% trust them. These are low numbers any way you slice it.

In fact, those who trust company blogs are the most trusting of all consumers. Not only do they trust blogs more than average consumers, they trust everything more. Your blog isn’t winning over many skeptics, folks.

In retrospect this result is not that surprising. People don’t trust companies in general. Why should they trust a company blog any more than a press release or an advertisement?

So, what should you do about this?

Make no mistake. This is not a plea to give up on blogging.

It is a plea to be thoughtful in how and why you blog.

This means that if you blog, your goal should be to create a blog about which people say “I like that – I don’t think of it as a company blog.” For the most part, that’s a hurdle you need to jump to gain their trust. I don’t mean to hide who is writing the blog. I mean it has to be more about your customers than it is about you.

Blogs exclusively about companies and products are what I think generate these low trust ratings. So don’t do a blog like that.

Instead, adjust your strategy based on your objectives. (Sound familiar?)

If you want to be a thought leader and helper for your customers, and you blog frequently about those customers’ problems and solutions, then you can generate trust. This takes time and effort, but it will enhance your company’s reputation and it’s worth it. Want an example. Check out Rubbermaid’s blog.

If you have created a community for your customers, your company needs a voice in that community. A blog is a natural way to meet this need.

If you have hordes of fans, blog for them. This is great if you are Harley Davidson or Apple (which, ironically, have has no company blogs). For the other 99% of brands it doesn’t apply.

You can also blog, or Twitter, just to be on the record about your company. This is fine; Motrin could have benefited from this strategy. But if you do this, just recognize that you’ll be playing defense, and that people in general will not trust you.

So, right at the moment when companies are getting ready to join the groundswell, I’m telling them to stop and think. Always a good idea before taking a step into the melee, wouldn’t you agree?

A note about how we collect data. The data comes from an online survey we conducted in Q2 of this year. Our online panel is as representative as we can make if of the US online adult population (18 and older). Companies use our data all the time, and I believe it’s the best available survey of its kind; we’ve been conducting surveying consumers since 1997. In this case, we surveyed over 5000 people. We asked them to rate how much they trust information sources on a five-point scale, from 1 (don’t trust at all) to 5 (trust completely). Respondents could also answer that they didn’t use a particular information source. In this case about 80% of those we polled said they did use corporate blogs. Of those who used them, only 16% rated them 4 or 5 on the five-point trust scale.

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Comments

Robin Grant

Hey Josh

An interesting perspective – obviously your data deals with corporate blogs en-masse and (understandably) does not distinguish between them. I think we’d find that trust levels of individual blogs vary greatly depending on some of the factors you’ve outlined yourself – the brand in question, how the blog is used, what sort of content is produced and how the blogger(s) engage with the audience and the wider community.

At We Are Social, we help Skype run their network of blogs, and we approach it in a very nuanced way, at different times announcing new products, dealing with issues, talking to the fan base and always being a voice in the community, both in Skype’s own blogs and forums and out in the wilds of social media. We think the approach works well...

Dan Smith

Thanks for sharing your research. A brief comment.

Trusting behavior involves risk, surrendering of control. While company blogs in general may not be trusted, there is variation between company blogs in their trustworthiness. So if you were to probe more deeply I'll bet that you would find that those companies that take risk, who engage customers and employees with the good and the bad, have blogs relatively high in trust.

Tom Humbarger

I have even less trust for companies that don't even try to blog - it shows a disrespect for me as a consumer or potential consumer of their product/service and makes me question whether they even have or care about a customer satisfaction strategy.

Josh Bernoff

@dan and tom: I hear you. Blogs, like press releases, aren't trusted in general -- which means you have to use them carefully to stand out. Otherwise it's not worth the bother. I think the lesson here is: thoughtless blogs aren't worth the effort.

Account Deleted

Josh:
Great data. Thanks. I agree with your advice, with one addition. A company blog - even one that talks about customers in the traditional 'case study' way - will still be greeted with skepticism - because of the motives behind it. We all judge the speaker by what they have to gain by our listening to them.

To the extent that the blog shows a willingness to talk about the company, it's customers, the market at large with an 'honest and unglossed' view, it will be better received, but also be walking a finer line on the liability front if it's "officially sanctioned by the company."

Yet another strategy (regardless of how the above is managed) is to equip employees to carry the brand message in their personal voices (e.g., overused but useful example, Richard@dell). This can be very effective, but only if the employees are supported in that effort and the definition of "support" is still in development as a branding and employee-relations strategy.

All in all, I think it's best to engage in all these strategies. Even if corp. blogs aren't "trusted" they are still useful vehicles to get the official company line out into Google's index. And they by no means need to be the exclusive company voice in the blogosphere.

Thanks for sharing.

jacob morgan

hey Josh,

I'd be curious how you defined a corporate blog for those who participated in the survey. Are we talking about a corporate blog that is hosted on the company site? an individual exec corporate blog? both? was there a difference in trust between small/mid/enterprise size companies?

Jacob

Josh Bernoff

@jacob The survey data is what you see. We used the words "company blog" -- people interpreted that as they understood it.

Josh Bernoff

Worthy of note: the Blog Council, a collective of company bloggers, has listed some blogs they think are worthy of trust. http://blogcouncil.org/blog/here-are-a-few-trustworthy-corporate-blogs/

Dominic Jones

Since the survey was done in Q2, before the current financial and economic crisis, do you think the results would be even worse if the same survey was done today?

David Blanar

Does this research assume 'Consumer Product Ratings/ Review' is done by an independent third party?

Peter Kim

You asked on Twitter, I'm answering here.

First of all, there's a clear problem in how the question is worded and/or response quality. You can see this in the data - almost a quarter of respondents report they don't trust or are neutral about email from people they know. The intention of the question is clear - so why would this number not be very close to 100%? When I ran the question before, it asked about advertising in the channels. This version requires respondents to respond with their own interpretation - might be editorial, might be ads, who knows?

So the numbers are what they are. You still have three variables mixed together that should be isolated and potentially produce a strong case for "why." There's channel, content type, and creator - examining these more closely will lead you in the right direction. The Edelman Trust Barometer does a great job here. So does Universal McCann's Tracking survey.

But ultimately, 16% is only indicative of a larger issue. Consumers don't trust company blogs for the same reasons they don't trust corporate advertising (reference: Consumers Love To Hate Advertising). Today's corporate messaging intends to spin, convince, and persuade consumers to buy stuff. Technologies like contact optimization and behavioral targeting only exacerbate the problem, helping marketers to target consumers like a sniper and drill them with a message that has been calculated for potential affinity. And now that consumers can fight back, they are, with technology: DVRs, satellite radio, ad blockers.

Objectives start to solve the problem, but you need to make a stronger call. There are certain purposes for which social media should not be used and marketing communication leads the list. I.e. "speaking" should probably be removed from your list, because that's what most people choose, despite claiming to "embrace" or "support." Marketers must lead the way to true customer-centricity and social technologies can be the tools to drive true collaboration and community. Combine Social Computing, Reinventing the Marketing Organization, and The Connected Agency and that gives you the answer. It's nothing short of a revolution in the way business - not just marketing - operates.

Ari Herzog

Perhaps part of the rationale behind the numbers stem from the fact many members of society don't have a foggiest clue what a blog is because they've never visited one so presume corporate blogs are no less drivel than what mass media purports them to be?

Josh Bernoff

@peterkim Research coming soon on why energizing works better than talking. Just as you said.

John Earnhardt

this feels a little bit like "i hate congress...but i like my member of congress..."

and was the online poll really open for all of Q208? where did people access it from?

Scott Dodds

Of interest to me was how many respondents in the survey said they didn't trust the personal or company blogs, and yet they still reported that they read them.

Sounds to me that the blogs are providing some utility, even if they aren't recording a large amount of trust yet. Obviously there remains an enormous amount of work to be done by bloggers in general to build up trust with their readers, and corporate blogs are unquestionably the worst offenders in this regard. But there are some good examples to emulate out there, as previous comments have noted. The good news out of this for me is that the readers haven't given up on blogs, even if they retain a healthy dose of skepticism about what they read and the source.

Max Kalehoff

Josh,

Thanks to your PR team for sending me your report!

I love your "When And How To Blog For Business" list of best practices. Very practical and reassuring.

However, while the data you selected to peg your report on are great for generating a headline, I believe they're ultimately irrelevant. Blogs are a both a communications channel AND a medium, whose value are not proxied well by prompted survey questions among general populations, but instead by the trust developed among engaged niches over time, i.e., customer and industry relationships.

Here's an analogy: Do you trust telephones? No. But you may eventually build trust with the people with whom you talk and do business with via the telephone -- over time.

Also, thanks for the personal shout-out in the succession plan for employee brands/blogs that eventually leave a company (though I was a VP on the management team of Nielsen BuzzMetrics, not the president). I think it’s a double-edged sword, but there’s far more benefit than risk because customers simply want relationships with brands PLUS the people behind them. It's a risk not to embrace employee brands, but it's got to be done right. It’s inevitable that the two will have to co-exist, and there are best practices that company brands and employee brands must adhere to. It would be great if Forrester would openly tackle this -- for I know it's something your organization grapples deeply with as well. I applaud your colleague, Jeremiah Owyang, who went out on his own personal blog this week to tackle the issue. You should get your entire team thinking about it, though. As both blogger and head marketing exec for a brand, it's something I think about a lot.

Oh, btw, I'm still a huge proponent of Nielsen BuzzMetrics. And now they've got another significant ambassador on the outside -- perhaps more credible now because of my independent status.

Regards.

copydiva

Though I'd agree with Pete about the data quality, the end result isn't all that surprising to me. The "all companies need a blog" bandwagon is similar to the "all companies need a website" bandwagon of the 90's. Without thought, strategy or purpose, corporate blogs are the new millenium version of corporate brochureware - the official mouthpiece and corporate-speak that no one wants to hear.

Josh Bernoff

Great issues raised here. John, we conduct this research with a panel, they answered over a short period, less than two weeks, in Q2.

Scott, I think one interesting question is whether something you say you don't trust can still influence you. And it can, definitely. Think about all the political ads. Did you trust them? Did the influence voters?

Max and copydiva, you are exactly right, it's not the channel that matters, it's what you put into that channel.

And Max: The question of personal reputation and personal blogging is an interesting one and I agree we should tackle it.

I was hoping this post would generate more discussion than mud-slinging. I crossed my fingers. And thankfully, that's exactly what happened. Thank you, blogosphere.

Jarvis Cromwell

Josh, you’re helping to open up a hugely important conversation for business, consumers and the culture.

Low trust in big companies (not just their blogs) reached its lowest ebb in a century in 2002 and hasn’t recovered. That’s a big problem for business because trust is transactional – meaning when there is a lot of trust this accelerates a transaction; and when there significant distrust, it acts a clotting agent. This dynamic applies to transactions that involve human interaction whether a blog post, a sale, a conversation, an employee review, etc.

For several years I’ve participated in an open-source collaborative created to drive solutions for a low-trust world called the Reputation Garage. Trustmeisters in the Garage include ad agency leaders, CMOs, consultants, sales and HR leaders, among others.

What is some of our learning?

1) Trust and reputation are business performance issues, not simply marketing or communications issues.
2) Spin in part of the lexicon and companies operate in a “show me” marketplace where company actions speak louder than words.
3) Most organizations opt for spin. Few today practice trust-building on its deeper operational and social levels, and even fewer have useful processes for managing, measuring and monitoring it.

David Ogilvy’s oft-quoted line from long ago “the customer is not an idiot, the customer is your wife” holds true here. Most people don’t believe that big companies are in it for them. Your proscriptive advice to make corporate Blog’s places where companies truly listen, converse, and help their customers is dead on. As is your advice that they stop and think before joining the “groundswell.” These are practices worthy of a true trustmeister!

Thanks for sharing your research and insights.

Benedikt

@Peter: "There's channel, content type, and creator" - I believe there could be a fourth variable: time. It could matter whether it's about breaking news, consolidated stories or yesterday's archived information.

@Josh: Thanks a lot for making this report available for free. The thing that interested me most was the distinction between the whole population, people who read blogs and people who are blogging themselves. What about the other types of users from Forrester's Social Technographics? Do the trust levels of joiners and critics differ?

An interesting observation has been that people who are further up the ladder of engagement (e.g. bloggers) seem to trust media more in general. Is it because they are more media literate than other people? Or because they are more optimistic about the quality of information? What do you think?

Lacy Kemp

Great post. As someone who runs a corporate blog this info is sobering and definitely helpful. Of course it's easy to say you're going to write about lots of other things going on, but it's not always so easy to tie in. Regardless, it's an effort that I'm trying to take, and I'm sure many others are here as well.

laurent

I've seen several survey like that and the winner is always 'people you know'. I think it's just human nature + years of corporation using their immense power to exaggerate/misrepresente/lie to individuals. The problem I see with corporate blog is that most of the time (I've seen exception), beyond being a sanitized sudo-stream of PR (no value to a community), they're also not 'connected' -> no blogroll, no linking toward like minded people (not for the link juice be to be part of the conversation). I'mm gonna venture to say that if a corp blog is well connected in its community, it will not be what we typically see today, it will be also talking about 'those customers’ problems and solution' as you mention in your post. I think that's why the #1 blogger tip is to start blogging by not having a blog but reading others and comment then start your blog (I've read that over and over on the top blogs about blogging) If a corp blog has value for the community, is done the right way and the blogger(s) are participating actively in the conversation, probably that will help. The blogger will become a 'people you know' and if a lot of employees blog the right way in the right communities, they'll be quite a few 'people you know' and increased trust will be the end benefit.

Frank Paolino

I agree with the reply that a company without a blog is scarier. But it is true that the blog should be about helping the customer, otherwise it is just another press release. I write a company blog about stopping spam, and it is a dry topic, but I mix in related stories to keep it interesting. This article got me thinking about improving the blog by having guest customer postings to make it more relevant to our customers, sort of "in their own words".

mark ivey

This is fascinating. Despite all the hoopla the last few years about blogs,what this indicates is they have a long way to go to gain people's trust. People aren't stupid. They know co's are using the blogs as thinly veiled marketing tools in many cases. More messaging, more spin. As far as personal blogs, most are well meaning and add to the conversation in new ways. But they lack the checks and balances of even the weakest magazines and newspapers (thus, trust levels of 18% vs 46% for newspapers). Bottom line, people do distrust blogs for the same reason they distrust anyone trying to sell them something; no one wants to be "sold" anything anymore, and corp blogs in particular smack of sales and marketing (I have no idea why direct marketing would rank higher). I do believe the best blogs transcend this and provide a service to everyone; they do this by connecting at a human level, sharing, opening up, being transparent--all of the things we learned years ago with ClueTrain Manifesto. But they are in the minority. Thanks for sharing this and triggering what I"m sure will be a robust debate.

Kevin Hillstrom

Think people trust your blog? It's corporate :)

http://www.ddmcd.com

I have methodological questions: (1) can you say something about your response rate, i.e., of those you asked to respond, how many responded? (2) Did you compare respondents and non-respondents? (3) How did you create the pool of respondents? (4) Did you use a formal sampling process stratified by different demographic or behavioral variables?

Shooter

Hi Josh,

This is an interesting post, and there's some great discussion about this info.

I do agree with some of the criticism regarding the question wording etc., although I do realize these things can't be bullet proof.

The one point in particular that I find puzzling is according to this survey 52% of you respondents did not trust the physical Yellow Pages? To me that sounds a bit absurd. Its a book full of phone numbers -- what's there not to trust? Maybe there's a small segment of the population that don't trust anything, but this study says half of people don't trust the yellow pages? To me that seems a bit crazy, and frankly undermines the rest of the data...

Dave Kustin

I think everyone is missing something major here by focusing on the efficacy of the study. There should be some focus on the organizations that are taking advantage of the fact that email is the most trusted source.

Email is in dire need of re-invention and this study seems to show tremendous opportunity.

txtface

Interesting to note that traditional media seem to be holding their own.

Lackeyman

Does this mean that only 16% of the people reading this blog post trusts the content posted about low trust? Just some ironic food for thought.

Josh Bernoff

Let me answer a few questions.

1. Yes, this is a corporate blog. My "out" is that I am mostly in the content business, not the promoting Forrester business. I hope that helps people to trust me.

2. Regarding sampling questions: we use an online panel that reflects the demographics of the US population. Past surveys (and we've been doing them since 1997) lead us to believe our results are probative and representative. All surveys have biases -- if there one here, it may be that we reach more active Web consumers.

Paul

'trust' is a very loaded word, emotionally. You can't throw together a list of personal and non-personal items and expect people to have balanced answers.

The 'trust' sphere that we apply to our personal, media and professional lives is very different.

The more relevant comparison is the trust we place in information sources we know come from corporate entities. In this regard, email is twice as trusted as blogs. That is what is relevant here.

I'd love to see the breakdown of the whole scale as well. I have a feeling some of the really interesting data is in the 1s and 2s!

Rick Riehle

“The Medium is the Message.”
--Marshall McLuhan.

Generally speaking, he was wrong.

Jijesh

I was not surprised by the untrustworthiness of corporate blogs post by Josh.
But I am really surprised that they are less trustworthy than company emails, direct mail, and online classifieds !

Why do you think that is?

Mookie Pants

I agree with Paul. How did you define "trust?"

If I was asked, "Do you trust such-and-such," my definition of "trust" would influence my answer.

People don't trust company blogs to WHAT? Be completely impartial? Be completely accurate? Be current? Be accommodating of criticism?

Please advise.

aztechwriter

As a former reporter turned communications writer, I expect blogs to rank below newspapers--and I fear the day when this no longer holds true. Blogs, when written properly, can be a valuable source for information and discussion, but at the end of the day, they are still an extension of the person or company they represent. As such, an intelligent reader should follow such blogs with a healthy dose of skepticism. There is, after all, an agenda.

But does that mean corporate blogs are a waste of time? Or that consumers should dismiss them completely? Absolutely not.

As Josh wrote, the blogs people trust are those "that reveal tidbits about what’s going on inside the company, those that comment intelligently on
customer problems and competitor products, and those that speak like people." Blogs that accomplish this goal likely raise people's trust in the company as a whole.

Dan Ziman

Josh, great info. Reminded of a Dilbert all-timer, amazingly timed with an exec directive for a corp blog roll-out.

URL: http://www.debbieweil.com/blog/dilbert-cartoons-skewer-ceo-blogs

Enjoy.


Adam Green

Josh, I agree with your point that Motrin could have benefited froma corporate blog. What is funny is that they still don't have one. Even funnier is that they still haven't registered @motrin on Twitter.

John Cass

The Fortune 500 business blogging wiki counts 64 companies blogging in the Fortune 500. About 30 or so reviews of those blogs reveal that only a few of those blogs take significant steps in using blogs to engage their company's community. The level of interaction with the community is the one factor that appears to be the lowest among the reviews. I believe Laura Ramos’ issued a similar study a few months ago on the success of corporate blogging.

I think the issue here is not whether you have a corporate blog, but how you use the blog, and how you use social media has more to do with marketing strategy than a technology. It would be interesting to build a list of companies that do live the new rules of marketing and engage their customers using social media, perhaps to see what the trust levels are for the audiences that read and are engaged by companies that do connect with their community using social media.

Mark Wallace

I am not surprised at these findings. We trust people we have relationships or bond with - family, friends, coworkers, and peers. Trust is earned.

Only a small number of corporations are actually leveraging blogs and social media in a way that builds trust. Why? In my opinion it is because most customer facing social media initiatives are managed by marketing departments. And, only a small percentage of marketers truly get how much different social media marketing is vs. traditional push marketing.

Mridula

What surprises me is the discrepancy between the trust on consumer reviews and ratings and message board posts. If I can trust consumer reviews why not a discussion between consumers on a message board if the board is well maintained?

Robert Ford

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed both the post and your book.

I just received Debbie Weil's 'The Corporate BLOGGING Book' as I read your blog, and the two things clicked for me in how we need to win the trust of our audiences through consistency, transparency, and authenticity.

Read more at:
http://tinyurl.com/6evxvt

Jonathan

I wonder whether the era of company-produced blogs is already over?

vandamn63

Hai
Nice post. All very good points. There are a few sites that I’ve registered at in order to comment, but they are few and far between.
****************************
Vandamn63
Social Bookmarking Fast Provider

Home

It appears the consumer doesn't trust any blogs........I think the consumer is overloaded with information.

antuan

Check out the trust index of blogs information at http://www.trust-index.com

You can add any item you want to be rated by people all over the world. Express your trust, and check out what others think about.

Unlocked GSM

I think that building trust comes with education. Fro instance if a company sells product A and product B, show the Pros & Cons of each and let the consumer make up their mind. But I definitely don't trust company blogs. I even have one myself and use it as an upsell.

Michael Chubber

So why are we supposed to trust this blog?

morris

What do you think of Madonna for Louis Vuitton?http://www.good-handbag.com
Check out the first look at the Louis Vuitton(http://www.good-handbag.com/) ads featuring Madonna! It was

rumored that Madonna would be appearing in Louis Vuitton(http://www.good-handbag.com/) Spring/Summer 2009 ads and

those rumors proved to be true. The shots were taken in a French Bistro setting and shot by Fashion photographer

Steve Meisel. After watching a Madonna concert, Marc Jacobs decided to choose Madonna as their new image model.
Designer Marc Jacobs said, I just blurted out, I think we should do Madonna. I was totally just blown away by it,

and moved by her performance, by what she had to say, and her energy.
Reportedly with this deal Madonna bagged $10 million for the campaign, but that is also said to be a rumor.

(http://www.good-handbag.com/)

morris

What do you think of Madonna for Louis Vuitton?http://www.good-handbag.com
Check out the first look at the Louis Vuitton(http://www.good-handbag.com/) ads featuring Madonna! It was

rumored that Madonna would be appearing in Louis Vuitton(http://www.good-handbag.com/) Spring/Summer 2009 ads and

those rumors proved to be true. The shots were taken in a French Bistro setting and shot by Fashion photographer

Steve Meisel. After watching a Madonna concert, Marc Jacobs decided to choose Madonna as their new image model.
Designer Marc Jacobs said, I just blurted out, I think we should do Madonna. I was totally just blown away by it,

and moved by her performance, by what she had to say, and her energy.
Reportedly with this deal Madonna bagged $10 million for the campaign, but that is also said to be a rumor.

(http://www.good-handbag.com/)

Vinod Nambiar

Interesting research. I wonder what kind of "blog content" are we referring to.
For example - if it is data or information about the company's product or services, I would, and I assume a lot of people would only trust the company's official blog or site. It is upto the company to maintain the tone about its products.

Rachel Levy

Great post...hopefully this will change over time as people become more comfortable with blogs as a source of information.

seven

this is a company blog right? why should i believe this then?

Joachim

Conclusion: in our high tech age, the oldest marketing technique is still the most trusted: word of mouth of people we know. Only now it's: word of email of people we know.

Agitationist

A different take (and very different advice) from a media strategist's perspective here:
http://agitationist.com/corporate-blogs-arent-trusted-forrester-research

Yavor Ivanov

I think the question is wrong.

Not so wrong but more or less the survey is misinterpreted.

I don't want to go into details so just keep that in mind. I think people do trust corporate blogs... in my own experience of course.

Helen Trendell

It's interesting to see that the results show people trust the yellow pages more than the press.

Will this translate online so more people trust directories above news sites?

Tim

Internet cannot be trusted either! Perhaps the only worthy resources in the internet now are file shares (including rapidshare and its search engines like http://rapid4me.com/ )

Alanna

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Alanna

http://www.craigslisthelper.info

David Moore

Great post. And I (@davidamoore) am not on the Josh Bernoff Groundswell payroll, but I did list this blog (and book) as one of 6 Super-Duper Marketing Blogs you've got to read everyday. www.AdvantageBlog.typepad.com

Charles H. Green

The biggest concern with this survey is simply the definition.
Without some kind of context, it's not clear to me what to make of it.

If I look at the definitions you used, you asked people how much they trusted the various media as sources for information. But: information FOR WHAT?

If I want to know what movies are "hot," I may go to a blog. I sure as heck won't take Time's word for it.

If I want to find an oncologist, I'm sure not going to the yellow pages.

If I want to know what a potential client thinks about itself, I'll go to its website. And when I want to know what its customers think, I'll go to community websites.

As the saying goes, I'll trust Bill Clinton with the economy, but not with my daughter; George W. Bush, I'd trust with my daughter, but not the economy.

Context. It depends on what you're asking. Absent that, I don't know what you've got here except data with the word "trust" in it.

Charles H. Green

Josh,
I can't let my previous post stand without saying how much I like your blog and love groundswell. Context matters, and I didn't want to let that earlier comment stand alone.

MagneticPaint

Josh,
This is very great data.

When I first started blogging in May of 2007 I thought blogging was for kids and a way for them to stay in touch with one another. I soon learned about the power of blogging and when done correctly as you have suggested it can play a powerful roll as many have proved. I recently heard that the CEO's of Coke and Toyota are now blogging on their own sites and it has increased sales for their companies. This says it all.

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