Defining the bottom in a bottom-up world

The online ad agency Carat Interactive is launching a new practice today for, as MediaDailyNews reports, “clients interested in employing blogs as a marketing tool.” The “starter kit” instructs clients on how to monitor blogs “within their purview, advertise on appropriate blogs, and actually blog themselves.”

There’s a fine line between understanding and joining the citizens media movement and trying to manipulate it for sales. This is a bottom-up world, and marketers have a tough time getting their minds around such a concept. They need big masses of consumers that can be lassoed and brought to the ground with formulas. It doesn’t work like that here, because the bottom-dwellers are actually on top.

When people such as myself define the Web as a bottom-up marketplace, it means that everyday people are in control and that the push marketing world is giving away to pull marketing. In this environment, you “employ blogs as a marketing tool” very carefully.

Sometimes I think Madison Avenue looks at all of this and says, “Yeah, but we can still manipulate them.” Bottom-up means precisely that. One may join; one may feed; one may advertise therein; but one may not manipulate.

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