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Charlie Kondek

Whoa. Hi, Kitchen Review. Let me state up front that I work for the same firm as "young Miss Asher," caught notice of this, and was a little surprised at the tone of your post.

May I respectfully make a couple of points?

First, no one offered you money or attempted to "buy" your opinion or influence in any way. You were simply asked to try out a product and give your opinion on it, good or bad.

Second, most bloggers constitute fifth-column, grassroots journalists. Is this not the case with you? A quick glance at your site - especially the word "review" in the title - leads one to suspect that reviewing things is what you do. How do you think journalists and quasi-journalists are approached with information and new products? In this respect, you are being treated the same way a mainstream member of the legitimate press would be treated. Is this bad or somehow outside of the reaction you were hoping for?

Third, I personally am a little disappointed by some of the assumptions you make in your post. You assume that any time anyone from the "legitimate" or "corporate" world attempts to "interfere" in the blogosphere, it is an act of indecency against net protocol. I and others operate under the contrary assumption that the net is an open resource for voices of all types, even (and perhaps especially) voices that wouldn't normally interact any other way. You also assume that Miss Asher is "young Miss Asher." While I would never comment on a lady's age, your phrasing in this case was condescending and sexist. Miss Asher - like your Mr. Weiss - is probably a very professional adult and should, under the best circumstances, be treated in a way that isn't obscene or degrading.

Okay, we get it. You don't like plastic. No one tried to buy your soul, and you're not broadcasting Industry Secrets.

charlie

By the way, it's nearly 5:00 here, so sorry if you reply and I don't respond again until Monday.

paul

See? That's why we "grassroots influencers" go off whenever some PR hack expects us to act like a "mainstream member of the legitimate press". Blogs are our house and you shouldn't get defensive when you can't control your message in other people's houses.

And another thing, us grassroots types don't shut our computers off at 5:00 and close for the weekend. It's obviously just a job for Charlie, so he really should learn not to take it personally.

Jen

Dear Mr. Kondek,

I would prefer to refer to myself as a member of “The Sixth Estate.” I am no closet Royalist: http://www.webster-dictionary.net/definition/fifth%20column

To be clear, I am also not a quasi-journalist, I am a writer. Being a writer, albeit a fairly poor one, I can use something called 'dramatic license.' This means I use exaggeration and humor to make a point. You should be familiar with the use of exaggeration in the PR field. While I understand you’ve got a job to do, getting low-cost PR for your client, and there is nothing inherently wrong with that, I have to fill this page with entertaining ruminations about food.

While the debate rages on as to what a blogger’s relationship to mainstream media actually is, I will point out that Ms. Asher asked me to review a product. That is exactly what I did. I reviewed the entire category of products: plastics.

Since posting, I’ve continued thinking about the use of plastics in my kitchen. I’ve done some reading and discovered that there is a growing body of scientific evidence (see, if I was a journalist I would have to cite specific studies) that plastic food containers might be a cancer risk. And let us not forget that plastics are petroleum products. In addition to degrading our environment during manufacture and disposal, getting petroleum seems to be quite a tricky venture. Shall I thank a Saudi prince that my broccoli is preserved another day?

So, there is my response. I hope you had a nice weekend.

Missy Jen
Bee-otch to the Sixth Estate

Fifth Business (Charlie)

"...us grassroots types don't shut our computers off at 5:00 and close for the weekend."

You should, there's this brilliant place called Outside? There's sun, there, and members of the opposite gender, and games to play, water, trees, birds. You might like it. *wink*

And may I add, Paul, that if you re-read my post you'll see that no one is trying to control anyone else's house. Which brings us to what Jen said - what is the nature of blogging, its role as journalism or publication outside mainstream press and literature, and what, if any, are the "rules" to using it, sharing it, etc., in your opinion? (I tend to think one of the rules of internet publication of any type is that it's more rude and histrionic than other forms of communication simply by its very nature).

You're not the mainstream press, you're a blog. You're not a journalist, you're a writer. Well, what are you, then? You tell me. What sin did we commit by offering to give you free samples of a product in exhange for a review - a review that could have gone either way, remember (as you have, Jen)? Would it have been better if we'd asked you to review, say, Two Buck Chuck or free-trade coffee? Why is it acceptable for, for example, an independent record label to try to use blogs as a way of raising publicity for their product and not for a Big Bad PR Firm? (I don't see as as Big and Bad, by the way.) Do you want to have a dialogue, or deliver a monlogue? And what makes your views on blogging more legitimate than another?

Just questions. You don't have to answer. I'd like to add that I believe our firm approaches blogs not because they are "low-cost PR" but because we feel blogs, message boards, and other internet media are excellent resources for communicating. We value it, in other words, not to exploit or ruin but to sustain.

Jen

So what was your sin? You wanted to use this channel for commerce and you wanted to promote a product that I think is bad.

Charlie, I am worried about PR creep into blog opinion. While the only thing Hass MS& L is actually doing is pushing information about the attributes of various products in the marketplace, I am already overwhelmed with the amount of marketing I encounter in my everyday life. I think it has a deleterious affect on my freedom of thought. Frankly, I want to read blog opinion that is as untainted by the business of doing business as possible. This isn't a TV program or magazine that is supported by paid advertising. I spend $8.95 a month to keep it up in the hopes that someone will find it entertaining. And if I can do my little part to keep people from speaking in advertorial, then I'll get all histrionic on you.

You've been nothing but respectful with me and you seem to really want to know what is going on in my head. I appreciate that. I do actually understand that you are just doing your job, and that you like what you do, and you are probably not continuously coked up on Frappuchinos. But I don't believe that every product belongs in the marketplace, and that what you do does impact how people make purchasing decisions - and that people will hear about Serve n' Store and say "wow, what an awesomely great idea!" and not give a moments thought to any of the concerns I've raised. Then, on the slim chance that they Google "Serve n' Store," they will see my rant and perhaps, perhaps, give it a second thought. That is all I hope to accomplish.

Charlie

Hey, that's cool. Like I said, this is how product review journalism works. Company gives product to journalist, journalist gives opinion. In the best circumstances for the company, the journalist likes the product. But it doesn't always work out that way, does it? *laughs* Sometimes the journalist trashes the product. I only resented the way you portrayed my company as trying to control you or influence you when I think it would have been more fair to say we were simply trying to dialogue with you.

But to each his/her own, there's no set of Ten Blog Commandments that says it's this way or it's that way. Checked out adblogs.com, for example? It's a network of ad-friendly blogs and there's quite a few of them, heavily trafficked. Best part, it seems to me is that adblogs tries to hook the client up with an unobtrusive ad that complements the site rather than clashes with it. Win-win if the blog in question wants to be taken seriously as fifth-column journalism and the client wants to reach a literate, modern marketplace. Anyway, thanks for your feedback.

Jen

It's been nice dialoguing with you, too, Charlie!

Bob Montgomery

"I don't know why people think they're too damn busy to do dishes after dinner."

Well, they have kids. Once you have a few, plastic looks pretty good.

Renee

"Well, they have kids. Once you have a few, plastic looks pretty good."

I think disposable products still look bad even when you have children. I don't find it too time consuming to pop a dish into the dishwasher or take a few minutes and wash the dish yourself. Kids do go to bed, and that's when you have some time. Also, you have to think beyond the 5 minutes that you get to yourself when you throw a dish away, and look toward your children's future.

Are these plastic storage products recyclable? If not, then why not? Isn't it better to recycle than to throw away?

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