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Advertisers look to 'Blogosphere'

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Once the preserve of bedroom technophiles, "blogging" is now firmly in the media mainstream. More and more people are writing Web logs and far greater numbers are reading them.

But advertisers have been slow to catch on to the fastest growing segment of the Internet. An ad on a top U.S. blog site can still be bought for as little as $500 a week.

Mink Mediaexternal link is one company determined to change that. The UK-based blog network is trying to convince advertisers not to look at the number of people who click on a blog but instead to concentrate on the niche community the blog creates.

It's a straightforward marketing strategy: if you sell ski holidays, advertise on a snowboard blog.

"There are several million blogs out there, a few dozen are worth looking at and those few dozen are taking advertising," said Mink publisher Azeem Azhar.

"And some of them are doing very well. Not many of those blogs are in Europe, as yet."

One company that has already recognized the potential of the blogging market is vacuum cleaner manufacturer Dyson.

It advertised its newest model on TechDigest.tvexternal link, which attracts up to 10,000 hits a day -- the first major ad campaign to be launched on a UK blog.

"It was chosen because it was a very niche product, it was a very niche target audience and they believed the Web log actually captured their core target market," said Alistair Shrimpton of blog software developers Six Apart.

But while advertising on a blog could help get your message across, starting a company blog could have an even bigger impact.

One company that has successfully launched itself into the Blogosphere is General Motors. Its Fastlaneexternal link blog has created a forum where top executives can be found interacting directly with customers.

And in the UK, Savile Row tailor Thomas Mahon says that suit sales have jumped since he created a blog called Englishcut.comexternal link earlier this year.

Mahon says the blog has lifted the lid on the workings of Savile Row for new customers who might otherwise have been intimidated by bespoken tailoring: "The most important thing about it is that these are the people who would never have dreamt of ever having Savile row suits. That's the best part of it."

So, whatever you're selling, the chances are that someone, somewhere out there with a tailor-made audience has already blogged it.

-- CNN's Jim Boulden contributed to this report.

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