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.
Based on feedback that we received from our launch of http://www.thelobby.com, today we made an adjustment to the site so that there are now moderated comments/One of the great things about having a weblog is that we can – on an ongoing basis – make changes based on what we hear and what we learn internally.Over the next few weeks we’ll continue to address the ability for Starwood customers to participate in a dialogue on the site and we’ll continue to make adjustments like we did today.I hope you track our progressMarc SchillerElectricArtists
Thanks for the comment, Marc. That sounds like a great response to the critique. I’m sure you heard from a lot of people on this, and it’s good to know that you’ll be reacting and engaging in the dialogue.