The Wall Street Journal reports today in the Advertising column (registration required) that Starwood Hotels has launched a web log called TheLobby.com. But read further…they’re not allowing their customers or other blog visitors to comment on the blog.
As much as I question the value of senior corporate executives spending their time blogging, I have to agree with corporate blogging evangelists that a one-way blog with no dialogue going on between the corporate bloggers and their audience just is NOT a blog at all.
It’s nothing more than a website where the designers are using a publishing tool that lets non-techie corporate PR folks running the website post their press release information without having to cope with corporate IT people who want to control web posting.
It’s ingenuous to post a “blog” with a bunch of super-solicitous, flattering (is that redundant?) links to bloggers their consultants must have identified as “A-List” bloggers that the company would want to be associated with — but not even create the pretense of a conversation with the folks who really matter — the ones that choose to stay with Starwood.
Companies that want to call their latest website a blog need to understand what that term implies, namely, give-and-take with the audience. Starwood could learn something useful about the travel needs and desires of its patrons, but they haven’t taken that risk.