Friday, March 04, 2005

Open Source Marketing

This is a term that I'm starting to see a lot of. Google tells me that there are currently over 54,000 results for "Open Source Marketing."

To the extent that the discussion has a center, it appears to be the article "What is Open Source Marketing?" You can read it as a pdf or as a blog post with comments. James Cherkoff, the author, writes that the values of the open source software movement are now being embraced by mainstream consumers.
The buzz of meeting like-minded people from all over the world: the fun of sharing ideas, however crazy or leftfield; the feeling of empowerment; the can-do, pioneering freedom.
The empowerment arises from control over content. In the context of software, the control comes from access to the source code. In the context of marketing, according to Cherkoff, the equivalent of the source code is brand-related content. Blogs are an important medium in that they make it easy for consumers to create and publish brand-related content.

Many people have commented on Cherkoff's article. Of the comments I've read so far, my favorite is a post by Greg Brooks. He doubts that Cherkoff has really defined open-source marketing. He's not sure that there's anything going on at the moment that is usefully termed open-source marketing, although he regards open-source branding as another matter.

As for me, I'm not sure that software source code and content about brands are similar enough that taking the term open source from the software context to the brand/marketing context is very useful. But over 50,000 Google results suggest that the term is sticking, so I may as well use it, comment on it, and hope that this blog posting gets some of the traffic.

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