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.

Some background on the initial Wal-Mart/Edelman fiasco can be found here and here .

Posted by Rob Fields

  • If Walmart’s failed networking site, the hub, is any indication, I’m guessing they’re not too big on giving up control over their message, which they’d have to do if they got real families to blog.
    Because of that, instead of just not doing blogs, I’m guessing Edelman just got a little too eager and tried to take a shortcut. Too bad…

  • I agree, Paul. It’s like they bought into the concept of blogging, but wouldn’t truly open it up to the public and have “naked conversations”. Blogging, as you know, is not a tactic to “deployed” in the same way a media buy or an FSI drop is. I guess the message to brands is this: If you’re not ready to have an open conversation about your brand, don’t blog.