Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Flogging: a lesson from Sony and WalMart

Authenticity is gold in the blogosphere, a lesson both Sony and WalMart learned the hard way.

WalMarting Across America was a blog purportedly written by two 'average joe' Americans who drove an RV across the US, parking overnight in WalMart parking lots and blogging their adventure, complete with interviews with the friendly WalMart employees and customers they met along the way. WalMart and their PR firm Edelman got badly burned when it became apparent that the WalMarting Across America blog was in fact a flog, or fake blog. The saddest part of the story is that Edelman is considered one of the PR firms who really 'get' social media, and is employer to uber-blogger Steve Rubel. Follow the technorati tags to read the whole sordid story.

Now Sony has been busted by the blogosphere for flogging, too. Via Blogging4Business, this link to Sony's fake blog All I Want For Xmas is a PSP (Sony playstation), complete with bad grammar and hipster lingo. Check out this comments thread to see what happens when the blogosphere sniffs out a flog.

(Edited to add: the same day I posted this, Sony came clean and admitted on the blog that they had been busted. However, their mea culpa only demonstrates that they still don't 'get it', because they deleted all the original text and the comments.)

The moral of this story? The blogosphere demands authenticity, and can be vicious if they feel they are being duped or deceived.