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Blog Influence Grows

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[ Business]

Not every company believes they should be writing blogs, but that doesn’t mean they don’t find blogs important. Just listen to Steve Swasey, Director of Corporate Communications for Internet video renter Netflix: “We don’t have a Netflix blog by design—our philosophy is to let our customers speak.”

Netflix has over six million members, some of them bloggers, and the company pays close attention to what they write. Mike Kaltschnee, the blogger behind the Hacking Netflix, has the company’s attention, according to Steve. “We have people dedicated to reading Hacking Netflix every day. We treat him with equal importance to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times because he knows more about Netflix than anyone else.”

Mike agrees that he gets treated as a full-fledged member of the media—he was one of just five reporters to get a sneak preview of the Netflix WatchNow download service, along with the New York Times, Forbes magazine, and the Reuters and Associated Press news services. Like many reporters, Mike has a direct line to Steve for story corrections: “Once, Steve responded from Taiwan with his Blackberry.”

Steve summed up the Netflix blog philosophy: “Rather than creating our own blogs, we harness the energy of someone who’s independent.” The “let others blog about us” approach is risky, because you don’t tell your own story, but for Netflix, the risk is low—research firm ForeSee Results has named Netflix the #1 site for customer satisfaction several times running.

Maybe delighting your customers is the only real key to getting positive publicity in the blogosphere.

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