Dateline: October 11, 2011
By Ryan Farrell with Jaime Brown
Yahoo News reports that the Japanese Government is in talks to approve a travel initiative in combination with the Japanese board of tourism to give away 10,000 free airfare passes to passengers looking to travel to Japan
The Catch: This opportunity is only available to influential bloggers or those with considerable clout in the Social Media world.
I want you all to stop and think about the undigested brilliance of this move on the part of the Japanese board of tourism. Since a devastating Earthquake and Tsunami wrecked the Japanese coast in March, the number of foreign visitors to the country of Japan has declined considerably.
Couple that with the fact that virtually any and all searches in any one of the major engines for a japan related keyword term will give you some denigrating story about nuclear fallout or tsunami damage or displacement of refugees… and you are looking at a real public relations nightmare sitting squarely in the lap of the Japanese Government.
The Japanese need a cost effective way to manage their country’s reputation as a tourist haven… and quick. And what better way to do that than to Fly Seth Godin and Arianna Huffington to Tokyo and have them blog about their happy travels ostensibly using the anchor text “japan tsunami” or “Japanese nuclear disaster” linking back to www.jnto.go.jp? (I’ll bet you there is an anchor text clause in the contract you sign to get your tickets).
The Japanese are about to take white hat link building to the next level. And I for one would happily jump aboard this bandwagon with the rest of the blogger bunch, but I got a sneaking suspicion that they are looking to fill those Japan Air seats with a bit more clout than your average SEO Analyst carries.