With the World Cup on the way, bloggers get a free ride to Germany

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With the World Cup on the way, bloggers get a free ride to Germany


It’s a great deal: Write a blog about the daily lives of the soccer players on Korea’s national team and be rewarded by Internet companies ― the ones who use your content to promote their sites ― with free plane tickets and travel expenses to go to Germany for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
On Friday, one of these bloggers, Yoon Hae-young, posted some photos of grilled sausages and a frothy tall glass of beer. “On Thursdays and Saturdays, an open market is held in downtown Frankfurt,” he wrote. “Beer is very important to German culture. There used to be a huge debate about whether they were going to allow beer [to be sold] at the World Cup.”
The same day, in Milan, Park Bo-kyung posted pictures of Spanish soccer fans parading around the city hours before the Barcelona-Milan match. “I was afraid a fight would break out, but the Milan fans seemed to be enjoying the challenge, and cursed them back in a good-hearted manner,” she wrote.
Mr. Yoon and Ms. Park are part of the Cyworld Taegeuk reporters, a group of amateur bloggers who have been selected by the Cyworld operating team as “official cyber reporters,” otherwise known as blog reporters, for the World Cup.
Eleven bloggers from such places as England, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland were selected in late March to report about local soccer-related news from a common fan’s perspective and share local “goodies” ― inside personal information about the players. The bloggers were given a customized “skin” for their Web sites and monthly reporting fees of 200 dotori a month. Dotori, or acorns, are a currency used on Cyworld sites to purchase items to decorate one’s blog or have it play music. One dotori costs 100 won, equal to about 10 cents. One of the bloggers will also be given round-trip plane tickets to Korea.
Though the monetary perks weren’t so impressive, the Web traffic certainly was, averaging 1.2 million visitors in less than a month for the World Cup blog site. Due to this success, Cyworld decided to expand its Taegeuk reporter team to include other bloggers from other countries, such as those in Europe and Africa. It is currently receiving applications from prospective blog reporters.
The portal site Daum selected a “pool” of 20 bloggers on April 20 who will upload articles, videos and photographs from Germany. The 20 selected people are to leave the country in June, and will be provided with round-trip tickets and living expenses.
Daum, which has mobile and Internet relay rights with FIFA World Cup, is in a particularly strong position. The firm signed a contract with Infront Sports & Media AG, the official agency of the FIFA World Cup relay rights, and became the licensed broadcaster for official mobile video. This enables the Internet company to set up its own small studio within the International Broadcasting Center in Germany. Video programs produced in the studio are to be sent to studios in Seoul, which will then edit and broadcast them over the Web on Daum’s “FIFA World Cup Exclusive Channel.”
“The concept of ‘blog reporters’ is part of our new media service that incorporates user-created content,” said Ha Ji-yeon, a Daum spokeswoman. “We’re attempting to create a new media genre by converging blog content and news service. Although we’re only sending 20 people to Germany, we have more than 8,000 blog reporters already registered on our site as regular reporters,” she said.

by Wohn Dong-hee
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