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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Now I'm Lawless!

Just when John at Marquette Warrior posts that "the Wal-Mart Bloggers" story was winding down, I find out from the folks at "Don't Go Into The Light" that Adweek and WebProNews both have new articles up on the issue, along with Adotas.com who has also published one.

Yesterday Adotas.com had their article up, which basically takes Barbaro and the Times to task for their piece last week.
Wal-Mart and Edelman were on to something big, and Barbaro was determined to spot their ethical breach.

Try as he may, Barbaro could not villanize Wal-Mart in this case.
The Adweek piece (via Yahoo! News) seem to come to different conclusions, like some of the left wing blogs, and places like Wal-Mart Watch, (and the Times), Adweek seemed to think there was something dirty in this story. (To read the whole Adweek article you need a subscription, just as a warning.)

The gist of Adweek's article seems to be that blogs might not be the best place for advertisers or PR people to look.

The campaign's initial success--influencing the bloggers--suggests that even the righteously independent blogosphere is receptive to a marketer's advances. But the resulting controversy illustrates the pitfalls awaiting those who wade into the often lawless world of citizen journalism.

I guess they'd prefer we all had ad execs and departments, so they wouldn't have to deal with a bunch of pajama clad folks (as I type I'm in a robe and slippers, I don't do pajamas). The truth is most of us aren't lawless, either. Some may be a little ignorant of some of the journalism nuances that they are more used to, but not lawless.

I think on a deeper level though, the controversy has revealed some of the disconnect between the advertising world and the public relations world. Big advertisers are a little uncomfortable with the "new media", as the above quote kind of shows.

By reading Neville Hobson's article at WebProNews, and many of the other articles pointed out in 4 sides of the Story pt. 2, you see the public relations folks seem to be in a more embracing mood towards the blogosphere. They raise legimate questions, but seem to not see the evil in the practice of outreach to bloggers that others do.

In fact, most of the issues that their realm brought up had more to do with Marshall Manson's e-mails to the bloggers, than the actual idea of getting Wal-Mart's good news stories out the way they did. The transparency issue for the public relations firms, making sure the bloggers are sure who you are and what you are doing has been the focus of most of their discussions.

Hopefully that's the last wrap up on this story, though I'm sure that the issues it's raised will stick around in the various circles for a while.

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