Friday, March 21, 2008

Feed The Blogger

There's no such thing as a free lunch—unless, of course, you happen to be a food blogger. Food manufacturers tend to be liberal with their samples when it comes to gaining exposure through influential voices, and one New Orleans-based blogger has turned that into a defining feature of his site.

On, Blake Killian has developed SOOPZ, a network of 200 or so readers who are also food bloggers—"Sooper Heroes," as he calls them. Manufacturers send multiple samples of a particular item to Blake, who announces that they will be given away through his site. Registered Sooper Heroes can then sign up to receive some in exchange for at least the possibility that they'll write about them on their own blogs. Most recently, for instance, TCHO—the chocolatier we featured not long ago on our own pages—donated a bunch of its chocolate bars for giveaway to the SOOPZ network. Before that it was Sucre chocolate. Since the site's founding last May, Blake has even started developing a line of his own products, starting with Peanut Butter Dulce de Leche—of which he's given away more than a hundred jars through the site. Future plans include videos and a cookbook as well, Blake says.

Whereas food brands have increasingly begun seeking out blog exposure, traditionally that's happened just one blog at a time, and on the brands' own initiative. By acting as an intermediary, is turning that model on its head and giving companies quick access to many bloggers in one shot. Bloggers get free food, companies get free publicity, and everyone gets happy. If you're in food, better start lining up now...!

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