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Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Bloggers?

Their opinions do go to extremes.

Product managers and PR mavens can relax, at least a little.

Bloggers often—say a few million times a day—post their opinions. But according to CARMA International, those opinions are positive more often than negative.

CARMA found that 41.4% of all blog coverage of select national retailers was positive. Nearly 31% was neutral and only 27.8% was negative.

Nevertheless, when consumer-generated media is placed next to mainstream media outlets, it is slightly less positive by comparison. Bloggers were 2.5 percentage points less likely to give positive coverage of retail chains and 1.8 percentage points more likely to post negative coverage.

But is there any truth to the commonly held belief that bloggers are more extreme or “unhinged” than their traditional media counterparts?

Maybe.

Bloggers were more likely to have extreme negative reactions in their coverage, while the mainstream media was more likely to be “slightly unfavorable” or “intensely positive” when covering global organizations.

There is good news for retailers that aren’t the apple of blogger’s eyes, though.

A BIGresearch survey conducted in mid-2008 found that blogs influenced only 3.3% of adults in their apparel purchases. A Harris Interactive poll showed that bloggers were rarely the first source used when considering purchasing decisions.

So while bloggers’ opinions can be extreme, their direct influence on sales, both good and bad, is relatively low.

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