Thursday, December 14, 2006

Viral Marketing At Work

Of the NHL owners, Ted Leonsis, the owner of the Washington Capitals is the most internet savvy. His talents come from his "day job" as vice chairman of AOL. He sees the potential of internet bloggers as a cheap source of advertisement for his team and is doing a very good job of grooming them to get them to shill for the Capitals.

He has invited bloggers such as Eric McErlain to join him for a hockey game in his luxory box. Showing an interest in the local bloggers has helped with a proliferation of Washington Capitals blogs who are trying to get on Leonsis's good side to make sure that they receive rewards like this. Becoming friendly with the bloggers makes his side of the story much more sympathetic to the blogging community and mutes criticism.

It goes further than that. Leonsis has announced online a 15% off offer on some tickets to Washngton home games for the rest of December which he announced in his blog (NHL owner with a blog). Thats not a bad business decision. I am sure he knows that sellouts are unlikely in these games and a 15% discount really isn't much. There are other ways to get discounted tickets in Washington (and since this offer cannot with other discounts its not a big deal). What is brilliant is the way it caters to the online community. He has a team of "independent" bloggers ready to advertise this offer. Here is Japer's Rink shilling for Leonsis (and in the comments claiming it is a good idea to do so) and here is On Frozen Blog doing the same.

Leonsis certainly has a portion of the once independent blogosphere doing his bidding. Did either of these bloggers decide to write blogs so that they could advertise for free for Ted Leonsis? When did their priorities change so that this became a reality? Lenosis has done a wonderful job of making these bloggers think his priorities are actually their priorities.

At the same time, I think of the blogosphere as an independent source of opinions. Things like this make me wonder how independent it actually is. It is a shame if the independant voice dies, because the mainstream media is not too independent.

"Leonsis certainly has a portion of the once independent blogosphere doing his bidding."

It think that sentence should read:

"Leonsis certainly has a portion of the once independent blogosphere doing his bidding. [thunder clap] wwoooooohahahaah HAHAHAHAHAHAA [thunder x2 + screech owl]"
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