Bloggers as Brands

FairWinds Partners —  May 31, 2013

Consumer-generated advertising from a well-known blogger or vlogger can be a major coup for a brand, especially since some blogs and YouTube Channels draw visitors in the seven-figure range. Conversely, a well-known blog or vlog can draw the attention and money from an established brand.

Ad Age recently published a feature on bloggers scoring millions of dollars in funding for their own startups, featuring entrepreneurs Geri Hirsch, the brains behind the “fashion-lifestyle blog” Because I’m Addicted, and Michelle Phan of beauty-tutorial YouTube fame.

Ms. Hirsch’s success with videos produced for Barneys New York caught the eye of Youtube-backed video site StyleHaul. S then turned the success of the video into a StyleHaul investment in her new video lifestyle brand venture, Leaf (which, according to the YouTube page, is ” a fresh, easy to consume, how-to concept covering all things… living, eating and fashion”). Ms. Phan used her success to start a monthly “beauty bag” subscription service – a sort of makeup of the month club that delivers new cosmetics bags of loot each month, and which now has $1.5 million in monthly sales.

The branding success of these two bloggers could bode well for creative use of the new gTLD .BLOG – beyond a community of bloggers sharing thoughts, photos, and experiences. As blogging and marketing become more integrated, will blogs look more like  .BRANDs with reviews, launch events, and new places to feature how-to videos of products? Will domain names ending in .BLOG host more “lifestyle” portals, where brands are woven into the blog content?

And how will .BLOG be integrated with existing services that gather bloggers into communities, such as Collective Bias, which Brandchannel describes as a “platform where brands such as Tyson, Nestle and Smart & Final pay for their products to be covered by relevant bloggers who push that content across social media”?

Nine companies, including Google, applied for .BLOG so the content of that gTLD likely will be tied to the company that wins the extension.

With the growing role of bloggers in brand marketing, .BLOG is a generic gTLD that brand owners should watch – not just as a place to register domain names but also, for opportunities to collaborate with bloggers.