Tuesday, May 02, 2006

User-Generated Content Crumudgeon

In an iMedia Connection article the author lashes out at user-generated content and it's continuing foibles, notably the recent Chevy Tahoe user-generated ad fiasco. He absolutely rails on the GM execs and how there is no way that GM even thought of the potential hazards and how, basically, the whole thing was nothing short of a complete and utter failure.

He then implies that sites like MySpace will never generate serious money because mainstream brands are afraid of the unbridled content.

Now, I acknowledge that there are definitely problems with user-generated content and that yes, marketers should learn from the past when thinking about using such media for advertising purposes. In fact, when working with one of the top automotive companies wanting to explore a community site, I argued against it due to its unpredictable nature. However, there is a difference between being cautious and being completely negative on the subject. After all, user-generated content is truly changing the face of the Internet and nearly all media and is not going to let up any time soon.

The trick is going to be how to effectively get in there and effectively manage the issues inherent in a free-form media. The solution is not to lambaste those brave enough (note I am not calling them "stupid enough") to venture out and explore the possibilities. In fact, we should applaud those pioneers. I don't think pulling out the old and dusty case study of GeoCities is going to necessarily be the light we all need to understand and navigate through today's Internet. It's a whole new world and if you don't adapt, you might as well go back to TV.


At 4:40 PM, Blogger Ken said...

Excellent post. I totally agree that CGM is worth exploring and that good pioneers will find the right solution.

Another problem with the iMedia guy is that you can't judge this type of stuff with the same tools and metrics as the old ways. GM was first to have a pretty open and successful blog by a high ranking exec and they opened up CGM (not the best execution but they did it and they ate the consequences). No old school measuring tape is going to show value in those two things but let me tell you, they've gotten their money's worth on those initiatives simply by investing in two elements you can't yet accurately measure consumer engagement and brand integrity.


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