The cloth of trust has been soiled. The marketplace manipulated. The conversation staged.
This NY Times article (free reg. req.) about Wal-Mart, Edelman, and a few bloggers is similar to an old Hollywood movie.
In the Martin & Lewis comedy, Money From Home, Dean Martin is singing from behind a tree as Jerry Lewis mouths the words, trying to serenade Dean’s romantic interest. When she finds out that the words come not from Lewis – but from Martin, she’s a bit upset at both of them. Martin & Lewis got caught.
How is this similar? Wal-Mart, Edelman, Bloggers got caught. Edelman’s rep whispered in the ears of those bloggers. Reaching out to the blogosphere? Or possibly finding some motivated individuals who could easily be fed. C’mon.
Some bloggers (Holtz, Taylor, Jarvis, Holmes among them) wonder what the big deal is. Richard Edelman responds with a Word to the Wise. I agree with Scoble on this one. Thankfully, each of them talk about disclosure being very important.
This thread of email shows that much of what was sent by Edelman’s rep looks like spam with only the recipients name changed, perhaps with Mail Merge? (Rob- why are you sharing this email thread?)
I’m all for getting products and services out to bloggers and bartenders and people who are in the habit of sharing their opinion. I’m even okay with a company’s P.R. firm leading the charge – though I’d prefer to see the company get into the conversation with a blog. There’s a difference between building a relationship and manipulating one.
Full disclosure: I’ve supported Iowa Voice by purchasing ads in the past. I have a sense of what’s going on in Brian’s life by reading the site for the past several months. Think there’s motivation? Think Edelman didn’t sense this upfront?
Maybe this isn’t such a black eye for Wal-Mart or Edelman (though someone had a game plan), but it sure isn’t pretty for bloggers.
"A guy asks his wife if his yellow shirt is clean enough to wear to church. The wife responds, ‘If there’s doubt, it’s dirty.’"
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Technorati Tags: NY Times, Wal-Mart, Edelman, Social Media, Iowa Voice