Absolutely not. According to JupiterResearch, a Forrester reasearch company found that there has been a 300 percent growth in monthly blog readership over the past four years.
The study stated:
Buying Behavior: The Nature of Blog Influence
• Blogs influence purchases: One half (50 percent) of blog readers say they find blogs useful for purchase information.
• Blogs sway more purchases among readers than social networks: More frequent blog readers say they trust relevant blog content for purchase decisions than content from social networking sites.
• Niche focus ups influence factor: For those who have found blog content useful for product decisions, more than half (56 percent) said blogs with a niche focus and topical expertise were key sources.
• Blogs go beyond tech: Outside of technology-related purchases, for which 31 percent of readers say blogs are useful, other key categories include media and entertainment (15 percent); games/toys and/or sporting goods (14 percent); travel (12 percent); automotive (11 percent); and health (10 percent).
It’s Buy Time: Where Blogs Sit in the Purchase Cycle
According to the study, blogs factor in to critical stages of the purchase process, weighing most heavily at the actual moment of a purchase decision. When it comes to respondents who said they have trusted blog content for purchase decisions in the past, over half (52 percent) say blogs played a role in the critical moment they decided to move forward with a purchase.
Blog readers also replied around blogs’ influence as it relates to the following steps of the purchase process:
• Decide on a product or service: 21 percent
• Refine choices: 19 percent
• Get support and answers: 19 percent
• Discover products and services: 17 percent
• Assure: 14 percent
• Inspire a purchase: 13 percent
• Execute a purchase: 7 percent
Blog Ads: Taking the Pulse of Reader Trust
For frequent blog readers, ads on blogs are on par with sponsored search results, one of the most prevalent and successful forms of advertising on the Web, and trust of blog advertising exceeds that around social networking site advertising. Twenty-five percent of these readers say they trust ads on a blog they read; paid search links also accounted for 25 percent of the responses. Nineteen percent say they trust ads on social networking sites.
The study also suggests ads on blogs spur a number of activities:
• 40 percent of blog readers have taken action as a result of viewing an ad on a blog; 50 percent of frequent blog readers say this is the case.
• Top activities include:
o Read product reviews online (17 percent)
o Sought out more info on a product or service (16 percent)
o Visited a manufacturer or retailer website ( 16 percent)