A recent report by Jupiter Research concludes that only a small percentage of consumers consider blogs and public forums to be trustworthy. When considering a purchase, they are twice as likely to trust information on a corporate Web site or on a professional review service.
20% of advertisers surveyed by Jupiter planned to use some form of viral marketing in the next year:
"New viral marketers will adopt advertising within blogs and social sites just as heavily as experienced viral marketers, and will also place increasing brand awareness ahead of direct response goals" according to the survey, which was conducted in April among 273 U.S. advertisers and 4,182 consumers.
If we go back and reconsider how we define blogs in a Long Tail world of content distribution, then we might agree that blogs are in fact lovemarks in niche markets. In that scenario, it would make perfect sense for marketers to reach their audience through that medium.
An example - Recently, Guy Kawasaki asked his audience to take a brief survey by Federated Media to learn more about his readership so that he could sell advertising on his blog. I like the idea of targeted marketing and branding. When I pull content from Guy's blog through my Google Account homepage, I give him permission to communicate with me and sometimes I choose to communicate back to Guy by way of posting comments on his blog. The greater conversation becomes 3-D to extend to other readers posting comments and, why not, the advertisers.
Remember that while it is wonderful to have access to free content and knowledge, the world moves and is sustained when something is sold so monetizing makes sense, especially in niche marketplaces.