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一个blog引发的世纪公关大案  

2007-03-08 15:13:57|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Wal-Mart, Edelman Flogged For Blog

A travel blog featuring a couple travelingthe country by RV and camping in Wal-Mart parking lots turned outto be a fake, its pro-Wal-Mart message backed by the Edelman PRfirm.

一个blog引发的世纪公关大案 - liblog - Liblog 第九传媒
Wal-Mart's Fake Blog Gets Called Out
一个blog引发的世纪公关大案 - liblog - Liblog 第九传媒
一个blog引发的世纪公关大案 - liblog - Liblog 第九传媒

BusinessWeek pulled the coversoff the Wal-Marting Across America blog, revealing its backing by an Edelman-financedorganization called Working Families for Wal-Mart. The demise ofthe fake blog, being called a "flog" by MediaPost in itsdescriptionof the site, promptly had itsdoors blown off by commentary from throughout theblogosphere.

Posts from numerous bloggershave been appearing online. Edelman has come in for the kind ofpublicity that client hire the agency to avoid.

"Edelman naturally fell back onthe approach that has worked for decades - control the conversationby manufacturing it," wrote Scott Karp at Publishing 2.0.

The fake blog launchedSeptember 27th. Anything that is positive for Wal-Mart appearingonline gets subjected to heavy scrutiny immediately, and the blogdid not withstand the laser-like focus for long. Wal-MartWatchnoted the contributors were Jim Thresher, a Washington Postphotographer, and his longtime partner Laura St. Claire, whosebrother is an Edelman employee.

The bloggers for thenow-exposed site blasted those who revealed their identities inthe final post on the site:


Thanks to an organized Wal-Mart oppositiongroup, the whole world now knows who Jim and I are, where we live,what our home life is like and where we work. We didn't discloseall that stuff in the beginning, of course, for a couple ofreasons. We kept our last names and personal lives out of itbecause of concerns about our privacy.

We had heard that Wal-Mart'scritics could be vicious in their attacks. Now we know thoseconcerns were valid.

So now we're being attacked.Why? Because we dared to write positive things about Wal-Mart. Thepeople who hate Wal-Mart couldn't argue with anything we said - wewere writing about real people and telling true stories.


Edelman's side of the story hasnot been told yet. Blogger Shel Holtz sought something from Edelman's bloggers, who includethe highly-regarded Steve Rubel in their number:


Those smart PR folks working for Edelman areamong the members of the PR community who advocate participation inthe conversation. Some of them have been brutal when, to their wayof thinking, somebody else fails to understand what it means to beengage in the conversation.

So where is Edelman in thisparticular conversation? Missing in action. As dismaying as thislatest misstep is, it's even more dismaying to see Edelman'shigh-powered social media experts failing to walk the talk. Nothingfrom Richard in his vaunted 6 a.m. blog. Nothing from Steve, whoblogs at the pinnacle of PR's A-list. Nothing from anybody (basedon a Technorati search and a survey of the Edelmanblogs).


The idea that Thresher and St.Claire did not consider the potential for such scrutiny andcriticism just seems too odd to attribute to naivete. Areport at Editor & Publisher noted that whileThresher received approval for the trip from his boss, there was a"miscommunication" as to the true nature of the trip.


[Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr.] did notbelieve Thresher had sought to mislead the photo chief. "The photoeditor did not fully understand what Jim was going to do, but gavepermission," Downie said. "He did not understand what was beingasked."


Thresher will have to repay hisshare of the travel expenses received from the Edelman-backedgroup, and his job could be in jeopardy for violating the Post'sguidelines on freelance work. Maybe he can apply for work atEdelman if that happens.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technologyand business.

 
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