Friday, October 13, 2006

What the Heck is a Flog?

MediaPost recently posted an article about Walmart and their attempt to create a fake blog or "flog". The actual site is WalmartingAcrossAmerica, and the authors have already owned up to the situation, although they defend themselves by stating:

"We had heard that Wal-Mart's critics could be vicious in their attacks. Now we know those concerns were valid. And we kept our professional lives out of it, where we work and what we do for a living,— because this was not about the organizations we work for, I did this blog because I thought it would make a great story. Jim did this because we live together. We took vacation time in order to make this trip. We weren't out there as representatives of our employers, or anybody at all but ourselves.

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

This isn't the first case of a fake blog, I found several interesting ones:

The Lincoln Fry - outed by: Strategic Public Relations
Gourmet Station - outed by: micropersuasion
Coke's Zero Movement - outed by

Amazingly someone at Walmart thought it would be a good idea, or maybe they just didn't think they would be caught. Debbie Weil, author of "The Corporate Blogging Book" said it best:
"This is so foolish on so many levels, it makes me scratch my head, everyone involved violated the basic rule: Be transparent. If you're found out, it comes back as a slap in the face."
I'm kind of puzzled myself that so many big companies would think this is a good idea. Trust is a tough thing for anyone to earn, especially in the consumer - corporation relationship. I guess the best we can hope for is that others just might learn from all of these mistakes.

No comments: