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Review of The Playmakers by Tim Walsh

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Full disclosure: The Playmakers is a fascinating book about classic toys — but this review is not about the book. It’s about the blog that was established to promote the book, a trend we’re seeing much more frequently on the Web.

The following post is from a weekly feature over at Small Business Trends, called PowerBlog Reviews, where we review some of the best business blogs and business blogging models on the Web today.

The Playmakers blog is a lot of fun because it is about toys.

The blog is the online home for the book The Playmakers, by author Tim Walsh.

Of course, there’s a lot more to this blog than promoting a book. The blog is also a place to find information on toys, games, dolls and play sets … and the people who created them.

The book and the blog are about classic toys — the kind of toys that we grew up with. Many of these toys are now collectibles. Some can be found in museums and have real monetary value as collectibles. Others will be found only in our attics and basements, and have value of a different kind — nostalgic value.

In this blog you’ll find information on everything from Crayola crayons (remember the big 64 crayon box that every kid wanted?), to Play-Doh, to G.I. Joe.

One of my favorite posts highlights a visit to Babyland General Hospital, home of the Cabbage Patch Kids (who could forget them?):

    “Call them funny looking, but don’t call them “dolls.” Cabbage Patch Kids may have a certain homely allure, but it was the elaborate fantasy surrounding them — the pretense of their being real — that drove their popularity from the start. While other dolls crawled, ate, cried, slept or mimicked some other human bodily function in an effort to create realism, Cabbage Patch Kids sustained an illusion that was bigger than anything the dolls themselves could do. They weren’t for sale, they were “available for adoption.” They weren’t found in any stores, only at “Official Adoption Agencies.” They weren’t made, they were “born” in a hospital staffed by women in white nurses’ outfits and a man with no medical degree named Dr. Roberts.”

Adding to the fun are polls such as the one in which Super Ball won as the greatest toy ball ever, or the one where Sea-Monkeys beat out Chia Pets as the best “living” toy ever.

And on what other blog would you be able to hear a .wav file of the Swoosh made by advancing the reel on a View Master?

I asked Tim how the blog has helped his business. He points to how the site has given him a “voice” and says, “It is an industry site on the toy business and in many ways, it has legitimized me as an expert in my field. It has also given me the ability to convert potential customers into customers by giving them samples of my writing and samples of what can be found in the book.”

Tim enjoys having a blog because it is a site he can update himself, so that it evolves and grows. Tim blogs from Sarasota, Florida, where hopefully he stays out of harm’s way of hurricanes.

The Power: The Power of The Playmakers blog is its use of a blog format to promote the author’s book and book tours. While this has been done before by authors, it is still a powerful format for a sole proprietor such as an author. And The Playmakers is one of the more fun and interesting of the author weblogs out there.

NOTE: The Playmakers is our 31st review of business blogs. Check out some of the other reviews over at our Small Business Trends PowerBlog Reviews page.

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