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Magazines and Mommy Blogs: The Parenting Media Revolution

Wednesday, September 13, 2006
I spend a lot of time analyzing parenting media -- pregnancy and baby magazines, parenting magazines, and -- over the past few years -- parenting websites, grassroots parenting blogs, shopping blogs and business blogs aimed at the parenting market, and so on.

The slicing-and-dicing of the parenting market must be complete at this point. It's hard to imagine that the market could get sliced-and-diced much more than it already is. Amazon.com lists 71 different parenting magazines for sale under the parenting and families category. That's a lot of hungry publishing mouths to feed from the same ad dollar pie.

The same trend is occuring up here in Canada. A few years ago, there was just one major player in the parenting magazine marketplace.

Now there's another popular parenting magazing -- Canadian Family -- as well as yet another magazine rumored to be coming down the pipeline in 2007; countless targeted print and online media and magalogues that are able to meet the needs of specific audiences of parents: e.g., Babyvibe.ca, Urban Baby, Thyme Maternity, glow.ca, Savvy Mom, Urban Moms, City Parent; a growing number of TV shows; and so on.

And as for the once humble mommy blog, it seems that almost every week, someone else is launching a new parenting blog (or group blog) in an effort to try to reach blogging nirvana, Canadian style. After all, if Dooce can make a living blogging out of Utah, why shouldn't you be able to do the same by doing the same out of Ottawa or Moose Jaw or St. John?

So here are some questions for any of you who happen to like to mull over these types of hypothetical/moral issues. Answer as few or as many as you'd like, as always.

- Do you feel like you are getting more parenting information because you there are more sources of parenting information available to you? Or do you feel like the mainstream media tend to present essentially the same view point, even though the publications in question are being printed by different media outlets?
- What do online parenting media give you that you find lacking in print/broadcast parenting media?
- What do print/broadcast parenting media give you that you find lacking in online media?
- Are print/broadcast and online media providing something radically different or similar products? Is this different than a few years back?
- Do you see yourself making use of a mix of mainstream and online parenting media for at least the foreseeable future?
- What AREN"T parenting media providing that you wish they would?
- How comfortable do you feel about the increasing commercialization of the blogosphere?
- If so, which issues trouble you most (if any): shopping blogs, ads on blogs, ad pitches in blogs, PR companies contacting you to pitch products in your blog in exchange for freebies or celebrity access?
- Do you think it is ethical for a blogger to market to his/her friends without being upfront about his/her intentions or to fully disclose his/her business involvements when he/she is pitching/recommending a particular service. For example, if I were to recommend that you visit a particular resort, should I declare upfront if the resort and I had an agreement for them to pay me a commission for any referrals that resulted in business for the resort? (This is a fictional -- and wishful -- example!) :-)
- Has the cult of celebrity entered the domain of the blog? Have "who you know" and "who you link to" become things that bloggers think and care about?
- Is "the Golden Age of the Blog" (that time of idealism and mutual support and sharing) over? Or has it only just begun?

| posted by Ann D @ 12:32 AM