I really wasn’t going to spend time talking about Wal-Mart’s fake blogs–flogs–until I came across this article in today’s Online Media Daily from Mediapost. Turns out that Wal-Mart’s PR firm, Edelman, has been outed again for running two other flogs that, instead of being written by "working families who are supportive of Wal-Mart", were actually being produced by three Edelman PR employees.
The big dustup is that neither Edelman nor Wal-Mart were being transparent, i.e., hey, folks, our PR team is really writing this.
Wouldn’t it have been easier, in the long-term, for Edelman to find some consumers who really are passionate consumers of Wal-Mart? Why not a big group of these consumers and provide them with some non-cash incentives to generate blog posts? If Edelman were really driving the point home about participation, why not figure out what kinds of activities these passionate users are also passionate about and help facilitate that? Then, there’d be some conversational value generated.
When I started blogging, I went around and asked people immediately for links. Rightly, they said no. They didn’t know who I was, and I’d built no credibility in the blogosphere. Over time, the fact that I’m on a number of blogrolls is a testament to the fact that I’ve built my blogging cred. That, and the fact that I’m not a shill for anyone but myself.