I’m not usually into marketing research, but as soon as I clear enough projects to start a new one (cf. NY resolution #2), this seems like an engaging question:
3) Do weblogs have the power to shape public opinion — i.e., get people to buy products, use services, etc.?
In terms of shaping public opinion, then certainly. I don’t feel that there is any real statistical data point to support whether blogs support product decisions. I’m sure that it happens all the time — I myself have looked at some blogs to help me evaluate certain recently launched products — but I haven’t seen any real research data on this point. (If it exists, I’d love to see such data.)
However, look at the folks who have put up blogs, especially within the journalistic community. They certainly have the power to shape opinions and, thanks to blogging, they can do so on a more frequent basis that a typical daily paper or a column’s publication schedule allows.
It was posted as part of an interview on blogs and PR. If the domain was limited somewhat, it seems like it would be a very doable survey. Particularly if blogs could be co-opted to help with word-of-mouth.