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August 18, 2008

Woman-to-Women Media, will they have more influence than Oprah?

Comscore_2Are you one of those new mistresses of media that the NY Times talked about last week - a blogging mom? Categorically, moms spend more, talk to other women more and have more social contacts around town than any other consumer group. If you sell a retail product, they represent not only a customer, but a built in advertising network.

Blogging women have become a media all by themselves. Heather Armstrong, the author of Dooce which was profiled in the NY Times article has over 850,000 visitors last month - mostly women.

This puts a whole new spin on "direct" marketing. As women can be very direct, cynical, hilarious, candid... during their daily posts. The wild world of blogging moms raises the the bar more, social media isn't for the meek. Being "direct" is what gives many of these blogs high readership and yet that's also what scares the heck out of advertisers. They have no control over what "content" is seen next to their product. Nor do they have control over what is said about their product should the blogger and her readers choose to comment.

According to the NY TIMES:

Sites aimed primarily at women, from “mommy blogs” to makeup and fashion sites, grew 35 percent last year — faster than every other category on the Web except politics, according to comScore, an Internet traffic measurement company. Women’s sites had 84 million visitors in July, 27 percent more than the same month last year, comScore said.

Advertisers are following the crowd, serving up 4.4 billion display ads on women’s Web sites in May, comScore said. That is more than for sites aimed at children, teenagers or families. “Moms are the decision makers of the household as far as purchases are concerned,” said Chris Actis, vice president and digital director at the ad agency MediaVest.

I have to thank the NY Times to blessing what I wrote two years ago in In Women We Trust, women form groups easily and talk with one another, when they also hold the tipping point purse strings it's easy to see why the line is blurring between "I'm a blogger" and "I'm an advertising media."

NY Times put some numbers on it: 

Although men are heavy users of the Web, they tend not to visit sites explicitly aimed at them. AOL’s Living channel for women had 16.1 million unique visitors in June, while its Asylum site, a top men’s destination online, had only 3.3 million. ComScore does not even track men’s sites as a category.

Guys, don't shoot the messenger. Your numbers may not be low, but they are low enough and coupled with the fact that you aren't the dominate purchaser of retail goods; that's why ComScore doesn't bother to track your sites as a category. There is no financial interest.

If you want to be seen as a media, then build an audience and grab the ad dollars. The tech writers have been doing that for a long time. Men still pretty much own that world. Conversely, women own the retail world. It is what it is.

Last month BlogHer reported that NBC Universal put $5 million into their online blogger model of mostly blogging mothers. NBC wanted a way to integrate their other venues, Oxygen, iVillage, and Bravo into the social media stream.

I can't thank Yvonne enough for starting me down my blogger path. To all my women blogging buds - congratulations for changing your reader's world and the business world at the same time.


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Nice to be part of such a powerful demographic.

With power comes responsibility, eh?

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