Companies are urged by marketers to blog, the reasons being that blogs increase corporate transparency, authority, and trust. But that advice might be wrong: they are the least trusted source of information, Forrester finds (pdf). Only 16 percent of consumers trust corporate blogs, though regular readers trust them a little more, 24 percent. “Those who trust company blogs are a little younger, a little richer, and slightly less educated than those who don’t. More tellingly, if you trust company blogs, you’re also likely to trust other media, even direct mail.”

Interestingly, corporate blogs are most trusted by those who themselves blog: 39 percent of bloggers trust corporate blogs.  Indeed, out of the demographics polled, bloggers are much more apt to trust any media more than non-bloggers.

The most trusted source of information is email from people you know. 77 percent trust these emails. After that is customer reviews and rankings, which are trusted by 60 percent of respondents, and portals/search engines, which are trusted by 50 percent.

The least trusted sites after corporate blogs are corporate social media sites, which are trusted by 18 percent. Personal blogs are trusted by the same amount. Online classifieds are trusted by only 20 percent of the respondents.

Despite the way media outlets are trending, newspapers (46 percent) are trusted more than radio (39 percent), which in turn is trusted more than TV (38 percent). Online journalism is trusted slightly less than its print counterpart, 39 percent.

Of particular note in these findings is the small amount of trust people have in corporate uses of social media. Perhaps this is why social media advertising is still unsuccessful, despite social media usage thriving.

By Mark Alvarez