Walmart is starting to use bloggers, this New York Times article says.
Um, I don’t condone this kind of work and if I find out a Microsoft employee is doing it I’ll publicly point it out.
For the record, here’s my best practices: always attribute where you got something from. Even if it doesn’t make you look good.
Second, for companies thinking of getting in this space: why don’t you just blog? That’s the best way to get your point of view out there. Hidden agendas will be found out eventually (and there are plenty of them, particularly in comment sections — how do you know that anonymous commenter wasn’t paid by a competitor of mine? You don’t.)
Another way to look at it? Join, don’t use. Ask yourself: are you communicating or trying to manipulate others into communicating?
Be skeptical! Even of me. Although I’ll always tell you where I am getting freebies, getting paid, or getting my back scratched.
Update: Richard Edelman, who runs the PR firm that was involved here, talks about this on his blog and gives good suggestions for both bloggers and PR agencies.
Update 2, Here’s some more news on this topic.