Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner and media-savvy blogger, writes that the rush by respected publishers to re-brand their content as coming from bloggers "is easily one of the many bad decisions that newspapers have made over the past 10 years." At least call it something else, he says.
Never, ever, ever consider something that any literate human being with Internet access can create in under 5 minutes to be a product or service that can in any way differentiate your business.
If you feel that you must offer this product or service as a means of "keeping up" or as a checklist item that you must have for competitive reasons, then do everything possible to brand the product or service in a manner that segregates it from the masses. Perception is reality. If you can leverage your existing brand to create the perception that yours is different from the masses in some meaningful way, then you must do everything you can to do so.
I'm sure the NY Times, like all major media outlets hopes that because it is branded a NY Times blog, that readers will have the perception and expectation that it will be of a higher quality than say, Blogmaverick.com. That when readers actually read the blog, they will see that its of a higher quality than say, Blogmaverick.com. It may well be that some do. The marketing reality however is that there is a significant risk that they will not. That rather than assigning the brand equity of the NY Times to the blogs hosted, they will take the alternative path of assigning their perception of what a blog is to the NY Times, there by having a negative impact on the brand equity of the NY Times. That's an enormous risk for any mainstream brand to take.
If I worked for the NY Times, or any other media company with any level of brand equity, I would have done everything possible to define the section of our website that offers ongoing [sic] as anything other than a blog. I would make up a name. Call it say.....RealTime Reporting.
The L.A. Times blog roster now numbers 31, and makes no special effort to brand those reported by staffers as different from those written by freelancers.