Monday, April 24, 2006

Shameless Self-Promotion

As I was online window shopping at Bluefly.com, an online store that sells designer clothes and accessories at discounted prices, and I noticed the retailer had their own blog, Flypaper. A blog about clothes and fashion and Hollywood and things I can’t afford - an automatic winner in my book!

I did, however, notice something else interesting about this blog – nearly all of the posts end with a direct link to a product sold on Bluefly.com. The posts are usually about popular topics in fashion, so most of the time, the linked product looks like or is loosely related to something posted. The blog is more of an entertainment blog, as the posts don’t discuss the particular products, yet the company still uses it as a marketing tool. I suppose if someone is interested in the topic at hand and in the company (since I assume that most people probably find the blog through the link on the main site), they may also be interested in a related product, but I honestly wonder what percentage of the people reading the blog will even consider buying the item in the link.

As with any company, especially in the fashion industry, it’s important for Bluefly to promote themselves as innovative in their industry and as selling products that are “in” in today’s Hollywood-celebrity-trend-obsessed society, so I can see why they have chosen to do this; if people in their target audience see that the clothes on their site look like or resemble the styles represented in today’s pop culture, they may be reassured that what they sell is “in,” which may lead to a purchase. Of course, what they’re doing is not going to hurt them, but will it help them? Are people really going to respond to this? Would you?

I mean, of course every company uses a blog to promote their brand, image, and developments, but do any others promote specific products (especially products that are sold through the company but not made by the company) through links like this? I searched high and dry for another company or retailer who did this type of direct marketing of products they sell on their own blog, but I couldn’t find any. Has anyone ever seen this before on another site?