Richard Edelman calls…

Richard Edelman, head of Edelman*, just called. He wrote a blog post about the Walmart/Edelman disclosure (or lack thereof) issue over the weekend. He says “this should not have happened.” He also said he didn’t respond until he had all the facts, which is why both him and Steve Rubel hadn’t responded until now. Now that he has, he says that they didn’t do a good job here and he’s working to educate his staff so this doesn’t happen again. Steve Rubel also wrote about it and was pretty specific “our firm failed to be completely transparent.”

Richard also apologized for his firm’s error.

That’s enough for me. It’s pretty clear, based on our conversation that this isn’t allowable behavior at Edelman and that he isn’t telling his clients it’s a good thing to do this and that, if a similar site goes up, that full disclosure will be there and will be there from the beginning.

*=I made a mistake of my own and said Richard was a founder, that title belongs to his dad.

Comments

  1. Edelman takes ownership of Wal-Mart blunder

    At last, a response has come from both Steve Rubel of Micropersuasion and Richard Edelman, head of the firm Steve works for, on the Wal-Mart blogger dustup (for some background, see my previous posts here and here).
    On his blog, Steve says that he cou…

  2. When you screw up you fess up, and Richard has done that. I’m satisfied, albeit disappointed to see a leader stumble this way. And while it seemed to take forever to get a response, anyone whose been in the PR crisis mode knows it takes time to get all the facts together.

    But saying you’re sorry doesn’t make it go away. For a while at least folks will be questioning the authenticity and the motivation of every blogger.

  3. When you screw up you fess up, and Richard has done that. I’m satisfied, albeit disappointed to see a leader stumble this way. And while it seemed to take forever to get a response, anyone whose been in the PR crisis mode knows it takes time to get all the facts together.

    But saying you’re sorry doesn’t make it go away. For a while at least folks will be questioning the authenticity and the motivation of every blogger.

  4. Wow, pulling a Jim Baker, eh?

    Heh, apologize after the fact, call up a few bloggers, and all sins are forgiven, in fact might be more loved, as you too, are now “human”. You’d a thought they’d known better in the first place, being that they are the advocate preachers for that “way of life”. That’s what we call hypocrisy.

    But Walmart hip? Really, I mean what planet are they on? Some quasi-senior citizens on an RV tour to Walmart Parking Lots (RV? I mean, that’s Griswaldish and bad Robin Williams movie material). It was a bad idea to begin with, and worse than poorly executed. The blog was worse than Press Releasey, it was all the gummy over-sweet candy corn, gawd really. I mean it was fake 2,000 miles away.

    Learn all the facts? Hahah, you do know, that’s code for ‘wait until we have the spin doctoring all hammered out’. The facts were obvious enough for anyone to see.

    Isn’t allowable behavior? So so naive…it’s only unallowable when you get caught.

    But as with all this ‘conversational marketing rot’ it’s just advertising, all manufactured anyways, bloggers have bias’ too. Caveat Emptor. If a good product, it can work. But never try and be something you aren’t, it will only ring hollow. Know your market…

  5. Wow, pulling a Jim Baker, eh?

    Heh, apologize after the fact, call up a few bloggers, and all sins are forgiven, in fact might be more loved, as you too, are now “human”. You’d a thought they’d known better in the first place, being that they are the advocate preachers for that “way of life”. That’s what we call hypocrisy.

    But Walmart hip? Really, I mean what planet are they on? Some quasi-senior citizens on an RV tour to Walmart Parking Lots (RV? I mean, that’s Griswaldish and bad Robin Williams movie material). It was a bad idea to begin with, and worse than poorly executed. The blog was worse than Press Releasey, it was all the gummy over-sweet candy corn, gawd really. I mean it was fake 2,000 miles away.

    Learn all the facts? Hahah, you do know, that’s code for ‘wait until we have the spin doctoring all hammered out’. The facts were obvious enough for anyone to see.

    Isn’t allowable behavior? So so naive…it’s only unallowable when you get caught.

    But as with all this ‘conversational marketing rot’ it’s just advertising, all manufactured anyways, bloggers have bias’ too. Caveat Emptor. If a good product, it can work. But never try and be something you aren’t, it will only ring hollow. Know your market…

  6. Richard is one of the straightest, most no-nonsense people you’ll ever encounter. He does more than anyone can imagine to change the reality and perception of his industry.

    BTW, he’s not the founder. His still active father, Dan, is that.

  7. Richard is one of the straightest, most no-nonsense people you’ll ever encounter. He does more than anyone can imagine to change the reality and perception of his industry.

    BTW, he’s not the founder. His still active father, Dan, is that.

  8. [...] Meines Erachtens beherrschte das bisher nur einer und zwar Robert Scoble! Der sich übrigens gewogen zeigt, da ihn Edelman höchstpersönlich angerufen hat und den telefonischen Canossa-Beuger gemacht hat. Ein smarter Schachzug, sich einen so renommierten Blogger zum Freund zu machen, der für seine brutale und schonungslose Offenheit auch seinem Arbeitgeber gegenüber bekannt ist. [...]

  9. The campaign was a terrible idea even if they’d made the correct disclosures. In everything Edelman and Wal-Mart have done, they seem to be bringing tired old school tactics to a new medium. Embracing the technology but not the spirit behind it.

  10. The campaign was a terrible idea even if they’d made the correct disclosures. In everything Edelman and Wal-Mart have done, they seem to be bringing tired old school tactics to a new medium. Embracing the technology but not the spirit behind it.

  11. You know what? I’m the only big RVer I bet that is even aware of this. I knew from the outset that Walmart was involved. I was acting ignorant, like the bloggers pretend. This is stupid.

  12. You know what? I’m the only big RVer I bet that is even aware of this. I knew from the outset that Walmart was involved. I was acting ignorant, like the bloggers pretend. This is stupid.

  13. Christopher: personally if I ever screw up I hope people forgive me, especially after I recognize that a mistake has been made and I’ve apologized for it and made strides to make sure it never happens again.

  14. Christopher: personally if I ever screw up I hope people forgive me, especially after I recognize that a mistake has been made and I’ve apologized for it and made strides to make sure it never happens again.

  15. For that matter, they still haven’t really come clean. The last post on the blog still says that it was their idea.

    That’s bogus. The woman is related to an Edelman employee. It was an Edelmen project from the very beginning, and the whole thing was planned and paid for by the agency.

    This “it was my idea and I asked my brother at Edelman” crap is so much hogwash.

    Also, this is anything but an isolated incident: Edelman is also running the ‘paidcritics.com’ weblog, which also purports to be some kind of grassroots site. Ironically, the walmartingacrossamerica.com, forwalmart.com, and paidcritics.com sites should all be labelled ‘paid supporters’, as the whole thing is nothing but a coordinated astroturf campaign.

  16. For that matter, they still haven’t really come clean. The last post on the blog still says that it was their idea.

    That’s bogus. The woman is related to an Edelman employee. It was an Edelmen project from the very beginning, and the whole thing was planned and paid for by the agency.

    This “it was my idea and I asked my brother at Edelman” crap is so much hogwash.

    Also, this is anything but an isolated incident: Edelman is also running the ‘paidcritics.com’ weblog, which also purports to be some kind of grassroots site. Ironically, the walmartingacrossamerica.com, forwalmart.com, and paidcritics.com sites should all be labelled ‘paid supporters’, as the whole thing is nothing but a coordinated astroturf campaign.

  17. Are they taking responsibility for orchestrating a deceptive campaign to make a Wal-Mart look good, by pretending this was a simple blog about a simple american couple on a fun-filled travelin adventure across the U.S. in an R.V., (apple pie, RV’in, and WalMart!)? Or are they taking responsibility for getting caught trying to pull this off? Or are they claiming they didn’t know it was going to be a deceptive campaign, and someone else is really to blame, but they are taking responsibility? Or are they claiming they just didn’t think there was anything intentionally deceptive about it, except they could have been a bit more “transparent” in how they did it?

  18. Are they taking responsibility for orchestrating a deceptive campaign to make a Wal-Mart look good, by pretending this was a simple blog about a simple american couple on a fun-filled travelin adventure across the U.S. in an R.V., (apple pie, RV’in, and WalMart!)? Or are they taking responsibility for getting caught trying to pull this off? Or are they claiming they didn’t know it was going to be a deceptive campaign, and someone else is really to blame, but they are taking responsibility? Or are they claiming they just didn’t think there was anything intentionally deceptive about it, except they could have been a bit more “transparent” in how they did it?

  19. @20 On what phone? your phone? what good does that do? That was a private apology that you basically decided to share, I’m assuming with his blessing. Is he opposed to apologizing publically?

  20. @20 On what phone? your phone? what good does that do? That was a private apology that you basically decided to share, I’m assuming with his blessing. Is he opposed to apologizing publically?

  21. The phone call was for the record and was reportable, which means it happened in public the same as if he posted it on his blog. Or, the same way as if George Bush told a reporter something.

  22. The phone call was for the record and was reportable, which means it happened in public the same as if he posted it on his blog. Or, the same way as if George Bush told a reporter something.

  23. The thing is this is more a pattern than isolated instance, and if you look at their roster, by my count they have tons to “apologize” for. But basically really, the only real fault be the bloggers for actually buying into the Rubelish song and dance, wool over your eyes. They are what they are, PR and Advertising. If it doesn’t exist, make it up, hardly unique, Crispin and Fallon had done/and do similar, the only difference is that they pretended to be real. Advertising is never real, it paints a picture, flags up an image. And as the cover-up is sometimes worse than the crime, the real sin was not the fakeness per se, rather the hypocrisy.

    But all in all, since it was so obviously a trainwreck from the outset, the mere fact that they didn’t see it coming, questions their professional judgement.

  24. The thing is this is more a pattern than isolated instance, and if you look at their roster, by my count they have tons to “apologize” for. But basically really, the only real fault be the bloggers for actually buying into the Rubelish song and dance, wool over your eyes. They are what they are, PR and Advertising. If it doesn’t exist, make it up, hardly unique, Crispin and Fallon had done/and do similar, the only difference is that they pretended to be real. Advertising is never real, it paints a picture, flags up an image. And as the cover-up is sometimes worse than the crime, the real sin was not the fakeness per se, rather the hypocrisy.

    But all in all, since it was so obviously a trainwreck from the outset, the mere fact that they didn’t see it coming, questions their professional judgement.

  25. Since I mentioned Xbox PR earlier and you (Robert) said to contact you in your comments rather than email, I’m going off topic. My video games site just (minutes ago) launched our vidcast. The first episode is on Rockstar’s Table Tennis for the Xbox 360, so I thought you might be interested. The video is available here: http://www.gamesarefun.com/news.php?newsid=7060

    There is more 360 content (and other systems) on the way.

  26. Since I mentioned Xbox PR earlier and you (Robert) said to contact you in your comments rather than email, I’m going off topic. My video games site just (minutes ago) launched our vidcast. The first episode is on Rockstar’s Table Tennis for the Xbox 360, so I thought you might be interested. The video is available here: http://www.gamesarefun.com/news.php?newsid=7060

    There is more 360 content (and other systems) on the way.

  27. Christopher,
    I must take exception at your very general statement:

    > They are what they are, PR and Avertising. If it
    > does not exist, make it up. Hardly unique

    It would be too easy for me to chip in against Edelman, as they are a competitor, and in this case I think they’ve done the right thing in owning up.

    I will say, however, I wish there were MORE PR professionals that realized that helping clients dealing with blogs it’s not about using Traditional Media techniques here.

    I preach about it in my seminars. I write about it. I can only hope clients realize soon that the other approach is “obviously a trainwreck from the outset”.

    But it may take a while.

  28. Christopher,
    I must take exception at your very general statement:

    > They are what they are, PR and Avertising. If it
    > does not exist, make it up. Hardly unique

    It would be too easy for me to chip in against Edelman, as they are a competitor, and in this case I think they’ve done the right thing in owning up.

    I will say, however, I wish there were MORE PR professionals that realized that helping clients dealing with blogs it’s not about using Traditional Media techniques here.

    I preach about it in my seminars. I write about it. I can only hope clients realize soon that the other approach is “obviously a trainwreck from the outset”.

    But it may take a while.

  29. But the unanswered question remains: who out there is actually blogging posiively about WalMart?

    The real damage is that anyone who may have something positive to write about the firm may be discredited as not real. Thus, WalMart’s in a kind of double-bind. I don’t know if this is repairable at all.

  30. But the unanswered question remains: who out there is actually blogging posiively about WalMart?

    The real damage is that anyone who may have something positive to write about the firm may be discredited as not real. Thus, WalMart’s in a kind of double-bind. I don’t know if this is repairable at all.

  31. Edelman PR

    What are the best sites about Edelman PR (Public Relations)? We’ve started with these. What else should be here?
    1. Edelman.com – One of the largest public relations agencies in the world, and according to Edelman, the “only independent glo…

  32. Shouldn’t Jonathan Schwartz be called out for being a bit deceptive on his blog? His last two posts focus on his “musings” about changes needed in the data center. Lo and behold, today Sun announced a new data center product. Schwartz didn’t indicate that he knew an announcement was coming – though he obviously did. I’d say it’s a cynical use of blogging as part of an orchestrated marketing campaign, and not quite appropriate.

  33. Shouldn’t Jonathan Schwartz be called out for being a bit deceptive on his blog? His last two posts focus on his “musings” about changes needed in the data center. Lo and behold, today Sun announced a new data center product. Schwartz didn’t indicate that he knew an announcement was coming – though he obviously did. I’d say it’s a cynical use of blogging as part of an orchestrated marketing campaign, and not quite appropriate.

  34. Unfortuntely, the actions of Edelman reflect upon the blogosphere in general. The spotlight of questionable credibility had already made it’s rounds, and this action gives credence to the critics.

    Edelman’s “apology” smells like damage control. They got caught and have been scrambling for days to figure out how to contain the havoc.

    VERY disappointing.

  35. Unfortuntely, the actions of Edelman reflect upon the blogosphere in general. The spotlight of questionable credibility had already made it’s rounds, and this action gives credence to the critics.

    Edelman’s “apology” smells like damage control. They got caught and have been scrambling for days to figure out how to contain the havoc.

    VERY disappointing.

  36. You are a nice guy, Robert. That’s one thing I always say about you to people – one of the nicest people you meet.

    I think this time you are a little too nice, though. But, geez, hope when my firm screws up, you’ll be this nice when I call and then give us a free pass. ;)

  37. You are a nice guy, Robert. That’s one thing I always say about you to people – one of the nicest people you meet.

    I think this time you are a little too nice, though. But, geez, hope when my firm screws up, you’ll be this nice when I call and then give us a free pass. ;)

  38. David: that’s the kind of behavior I expect from a CEO blogger. It’s also something I take into account when I read Jonathan’s blog. He disclosed he is CEO at Sun, so I’m prepared to get a commercial message or two.

    Just like you should be prepared to get a commercial message or two about Seagate over on ScobleShow cause they are paying me to do my show.

  39. David: that’s the kind of behavior I expect from a CEO blogger. It’s also something I take into account when I read Jonathan’s blog. He disclosed he is CEO at Sun, so I’m prepared to get a commercial message or two.

    Just like you should be prepared to get a commercial message or two about Seagate over on ScobleShow cause they are paying me to do my show.

  40. @23 Actually, no it’s not. Your analogy doesn’t even work. Edeleman has a blog. Why does he need to hide behind you when making an apology? What kind of “naked conversation” is that?

  41. @23 Actually, no it’s not. Your analogy doesn’t even work. Edeleman has a blog. Why does he need to hide behind you when making an apology? What kind of “naked conversation” is that?

  42. How is this about educating staff? Are they implying it was lower-level staff? This was likely signed off on a number of levels. Think of all that money that moves between departments. It’s not a “Chris-the-overzealous-intern” sort of thing. If you’re on an account of that size, you have a very high up person to report to, in order to have your budget approved, your plan reviewed, to look over your work, to figure out hiring and freelance pay schemes, right?

    How could this be a mistake in the sense of their not realizing what is inherently wrong with this? It’s not a “whoops”, it’s a “we tried to fool you by talking about transparency and then ignoring our own principles.”

    A mistake is one thing. A lesson to staff on how to be transparent isn’t really the cure-all. This was kind of devious and people at a variety of levels, I’m guessing, were a part of this. People who have been showing up at conferences touting their expertise and trying to set a standard that they themselves can’t follow?

    He should be more specific about exactly what he’s apologizing for. What mistake? What happened? Why?

    Look at it this way, it could be an exercise in transparency.

  43. How is this about educating staff? Are they implying it was lower-level staff? This was likely signed off on a number of levels. Think of all that money that moves between departments. It’s not a “Chris-the-overzealous-intern” sort of thing. If you’re on an account of that size, you have a very high up person to report to, in order to have your budget approved, your plan reviewed, to look over your work, to figure out hiring and freelance pay schemes, right?

    How could this be a mistake in the sense of their not realizing what is inherently wrong with this? It’s not a “whoops”, it’s a “we tried to fool you by talking about transparency and then ignoring our own principles.”

    A mistake is one thing. A lesson to staff on how to be transparent isn’t really the cure-all. This was kind of devious and people at a variety of levels, I’m guessing, were a part of this. People who have been showing up at conferences touting their expertise and trying to set a standard that they themselves can’t follow?

    He should be more specific about exactly what he’s apologizing for. What mistake? What happened? Why?

    Look at it this way, it could be an exercise in transparency.

  44. You know, some people really need to relax a bit.

    Of course the apology and accountability is damage control! But that doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing to do. Edelman cannot simply do nothing, so why crucify them for trying to do the right thing? I agree that this whole debacle was, at best, extraorinarily sloppy work and, at worst, deceitful and two-faced. But it happened and Richard is taking steps to address it.

    Does the world stop? Are people not allowed to make good?

    For what it’s worth, I was up in arms about this, too, and I let Richard know through a comment on his blog (and a post on my own). He not only answered my comment immediately yesterday, but followed up with an e-mail today providing more detail on what Edelman is doing to address it. What more can I ask at this point?

    Keep things in perspective…we’re not talking about murderers and rapists here.

  45. You know, some people really need to relax a bit.

    Of course the apology and accountability is damage control! But that doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing to do. Edelman cannot simply do nothing, so why crucify them for trying to do the right thing? I agree that this whole debacle was, at best, extraorinarily sloppy work and, at worst, deceitful and two-faced. But it happened and Richard is taking steps to address it.

    Does the world stop? Are people not allowed to make good?

    For what it’s worth, I was up in arms about this, too, and I let Richard know through a comment on his blog (and a post on my own). He not only answered my comment immediately yesterday, but followed up with an e-mail today providing more detail on what Edelman is doing to address it. What more can I ask at this point?

    Keep things in perspective…we’re not talking about murderers and rapists here.

  46. Hey, don’t forget they also run http://paidcritics.com/ “Exposing the paid critics”. Intended to expose what they think are “paid for” Wal-Mart critics and where they spin conspiracy theories. And the same people come up with the idea of the subversive cross-country tour – designed by Edelman for Working Families for Wal-Mart. What a bunch of hypocriticals.

    They apparently forgot to get the sister domain paidworshippers.com

  47. Hey, don’t forget they also run http://paidcritics.com/ “Exposing the paid critics”. Intended to expose what they think are “paid for” Wal-Mart critics and where they spin conspiracy theories. And the same people come up with the idea of the subversive cross-country tour – designed by Edelman for Working Families for Wal-Mart. What a bunch of hypocriticals.

    They apparently forgot to get the sister domain paidworshippers.com

  48. [...] Like Antony Mayfield (whom I have to thank for the link) one has some sympathy for Edelman. It is difficult to get this right, but if anyone should know how to do this, it is Edelman, with their payroll of A-list bloggers like Steve Rubel. The web is so unforgiving about this kind of mistake. Edelman phoned Robert Scoble to apologise. [...]

  49. The saving grace really, is that 99% of WalMart customers, won’t care a lick about this controversy. Buncha bloggers yapping to other bloggers and PR weenies…one day impact tops, even with the Biz Week profile. Edelman’s own studies even bear this out, just one big echo chamber…

  50. The saving grace really, is that 99% of WalMart customers, won’t care a lick about this controversy. Buncha bloggers yapping to other bloggers and PR weenies…one day impact tops, even with the Biz Week profile. Edelman’s own studies even bear this out, just one big echo chamber…

  51. [...] Robert Scoble, on the other hand, is among a group of others that are more inclined to be forgiving. Lance Knobel, Li at Search Marketing, Pleon, and even Shel Holz (to a degree) seem to take that tack. As Scoble says in the comments to his post: Personally if I ever screw up I hope people forgive me, especially after I recognize that a mistake has been made and I’ve apologized for it and made strides to make sure it never happens again. [...]

  52. “Now, as Wal-Mart rolls out a new round of workplace restrictions, employees at a Wal-Mart Super Center in Hialeah Gardens, Fla., are taking matters into their own hands. On Oct. 16, workers on the morning shift walked out in protest against the new policies and rallied outside the store, shouting “We want justice” and criticizing the company’s recent policies as “inhuman.” Workers said the number of participants was about 200, or nearly all of the people on the shift.

    [...]

    The protest wasn’t led by any union group. Rather, it was instigated by two department managers, Guillermo Vasquez and Rosie Larosa. The department managers were not affected directly by the changes, but they felt that the company had gone too far with certain new policies. Among them were moves to cut the hours of full-time employees from 40 hours a week to 32 hours, along with a corresponding cut in wages, and to compel workers to be available for shifts around the clock.

    In addition, the shifts would be decided not by managers, but by a computer at company headquarters. Employees could find themselves working 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. one week and noon to 9 p.m. the next. “So workers cannot pick up their children after school everyday, and part-timers cannot keep another job because they can be called to work anytime,” says Vasquez.

    In addition to scheduling changes and reduction in hours, workers are now required to call an 800 number when they are sick. “If we are at an emergency room and spend the night in a hospital and cannot call the number, they won’t respect that,” says Larosa, who has worked at the store for six years. “It will be counted as an unexcused absence.”

  53. “Now, as Wal-Mart rolls out a new round of workplace restrictions, employees at a Wal-Mart Super Center in Hialeah Gardens, Fla., are taking matters into their own hands. On Oct. 16, workers on the morning shift walked out in protest against the new policies and rallied outside the store, shouting “We want justice” and criticizing the company’s recent policies as “inhuman.” Workers said the number of participants was about 200, or nearly all of the people on the shift.

    [...]

    The protest wasn’t led by any union group. Rather, it was instigated by two department managers, Guillermo Vasquez and Rosie Larosa. The department managers were not affected directly by the changes, but they felt that the company had gone too far with certain new policies. Among them were moves to cut the hours of full-time employees from 40 hours a week to 32 hours, along with a corresponding cut in wages, and to compel workers to be available for shifts around the clock.

    In addition, the shifts would be decided not by managers, but by a computer at company headquarters. Employees could find themselves working 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. one week and noon to 9 p.m. the next. “So workers cannot pick up their children after school everyday, and part-timers cannot keep another job because they can be called to work anytime,” says Vasquez.

    In addition to scheduling changes and reduction in hours, workers are now required to call an 800 number when they are sick. “If we are at an emergency room and spend the night in a hospital and cannot call the number, they won’t respect that,” says Larosa, who has worked at the store for six years. “It will be counted as an unexcused absence.”

  54. echo chamber or not, this punches a large hole in the ‘We’re Edelman, trust us’ theory. Reading Edelman and Rubel…awfully reminiscent of PR c.1995.

  55. Chris, sure the majority of the real world won’t know or care. But, as far as companies wanting to follow Scoble’s “advice” and get on the blogging train because doing so will solve all your ills (I mean, we have GM as the example…wait! bad example, but they are blogging..woo hoo! er…I mean, “yawn”) all anyone has to do is now point to Edelman as an example of a PR firm NOT to hire. I don’t think their lame “apology”– I still haven’t seen them type the apology word on their blog; the only thing we have is Scoble “reporting” Edeleman apologied—will bail them out. It seems they are more sad that they were found out than that they “screwed up”. The example John Q points out in @37 makes one wonder how many more of those types of blogs are out there that Edeleman is behind. I would like to see them come clean with other similar campaigns they are behind. Or is it up to the readers to figure it out?

  56. Chris, sure the majority of the real world won’t know or care. But, as far as companies wanting to follow Scoble’s “advice” and get on the blogging train because doing so will solve all your ills (I mean, we have GM as the example…wait! bad example, but they are blogging..woo hoo! er…I mean, “yawn”) all anyone has to do is now point to Edelman as an example of a PR firm NOT to hire. I don’t think their lame “apology”– I still haven’t seen them type the apology word on their blog; the only thing we have is Scoble “reporting” Edeleman apologied—will bail them out. It seems they are more sad that they were found out than that they “screwed up”. The example John Q points out in @37 makes one wonder how many more of those types of blogs are out there that Edeleman is behind. I would like to see them come clean with other similar campaigns they are behind. Or is it up to the readers to figure it out?

  57. For the record…

    Call Goes Out for Edelman and Rubel to Resign

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    NEW YORK – Popular PR industry trade journal Strumpette today declared Richard Edelman and Steve Rubel to be “enemies of the blogosphere,” and demanded their immediate resignations.

    “To live up to its premise, to fulfill its promise, the Me2Revolution must be prepared from time to time to correct its course,” declared Amanda Chapel, managing editor of Strumpette. “Richard Edelman and Steve Rubel have committed numerous acts of abject betrayal that, under any revolution worth the name, would have resulted in their execution in the public square. Edelman and Rubel hurt us, hurt blogging, and hurt PR as a whole. ”

    http://www.strumpette.com/archives/206-Call-Goes-Out-for-Edelman-and-Rubel-to-Resign.html

  58. For the record…

    Call Goes Out for Edelman and Rubel to Resign

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    NEW YORK – Popular PR industry trade journal Strumpette today declared Richard Edelman and Steve Rubel to be “enemies of the blogosphere,” and demanded their immediate resignations.

    “To live up to its premise, to fulfill its promise, the Me2Revolution must be prepared from time to time to correct its course,” declared Amanda Chapel, managing editor of Strumpette. “Richard Edelman and Steve Rubel have committed numerous acts of abject betrayal that, under any revolution worth the name, would have resulted in their execution in the public square. Edelman and Rubel hurt us, hurt blogging, and hurt PR as a whole. ”

    http://www.strumpette.com/archives/206-Call-Goes-Out-for-Edelman-and-Rubel-to-Resign.html

  59. Just to follow up:

    While Richard never responded here or in his comments about my points regarding the astroturf sites forwalmart.com and paidcritics.com (and boy, *there* is an ironic domain name), He did try to sooth me by sending me a private email, CC’ing Michael Krempasky from their DC office (who is apparently responsible for running these sites). Michael in turn told me they would be adding the author info and Edelman affiliation ASAP.

    I replied noting that I found it interesting that they were only responding to these issues privately instead of publicly, making it look like just more damage control. I never got a further response from them.

    Well, they followed up (sort of) by altering these sites yesterday (and briefly announcing the change on the sites in question), so it is now finally completely clear that the posters on these sites are almost entirely Edelman employees. Richard still hasn’t publicly acknowledged these astroturf sites with a further blog posting on the subject, or even a press release. I did see this news item:
    http://publications.mediapost.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Articles.san&s=49883&Nid=24401&p=302212

    It is obvious to me they are only doing what they feel they must to defuse the situation and minimize any further attention. One trick they used was to immediately follow the change announcement with more ‘news’ items, to push the change down the page.

    However, aside from that, I find these efforts somewhat lacking in the following ways:

    The author info pages linked from each posting say “So-and-so works for Edelman. One of his clients is such-and-such”. It is not necessarily clear to a member of the public that Edelman is a PR firm. Either this should be made explicit in the author info, or even better, the word Edelman should be linked to the Edelman website. Consider this free link-juice for Edelman.

    I also notice that only the two additional sites I’ve been making a stink about have been specifically named so far. Does anyone think that these sites are the only blogs Edelman is running? Or that Wal-Mart is the only client they are doing this for? Yeah, me neither. So where is the full disclosure and transparency?

    (BTW, this comment is crossposted to Richard’s blog)

  60. Just to follow up:

    While Richard never responded here or in his comments about my points regarding the astroturf sites forwalmart.com and paidcritics.com (and boy, *there* is an ironic domain name), He did try to sooth me by sending me a private email, CC’ing Michael Krempasky from their DC office (who is apparently responsible for running these sites). Michael in turn told me they would be adding the author info and Edelman affiliation ASAP.

    I replied noting that I found it interesting that they were only responding to these issues privately instead of publicly, making it look like just more damage control. I never got a further response from them.

    Well, they followed up (sort of) by altering these sites yesterday (and briefly announcing the change on the sites in question), so it is now finally completely clear that the posters on these sites are almost entirely Edelman employees. Richard still hasn’t publicly acknowledged these astroturf sites with a further blog posting on the subject, or even a press release. I did see this news item:
    http://publications.mediapost.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Articles.san&s=49883&Nid=24401&p=302212

    It is obvious to me they are only doing what they feel they must to defuse the situation and minimize any further attention. One trick they used was to immediately follow the change announcement with more ‘news’ items, to push the change down the page.

    However, aside from that, I find these efforts somewhat lacking in the following ways:

    The author info pages linked from each posting say “So-and-so works for Edelman. One of his clients is such-and-such”. It is not necessarily clear to a member of the public that Edelman is a PR firm. Either this should be made explicit in the author info, or even better, the word Edelman should be linked to the Edelman website. Consider this free link-juice for Edelman.

    I also notice that only the two additional sites I’ve been making a stink about have been specifically named so far. Does anyone think that these sites are the only blogs Edelman is running? Or that Wal-Mart is the only client they are doing this for? Yeah, me neither. So where is the full disclosure and transparency?

    (BTW, this comment is crossposted to Richard’s blog)

  61. accepting responsibility without subsequent accountability — ie, someone resigning or getting fired, or at the least being censured — is NOT “responsibility”.

    interestingly, Edelman’s blog comments are now being held for moderated approval… not sure if that was the case prior to the past few days, or whether Richard just wanted the weekend off. the last comment on his blog was posted just after 5pm on friday.

    in any case, steve’s blog comments are posting, and my response is noted here:
    http://www.micropersuasion.com/2006/10/edelman_pr_ethi.html#comment-24193760

    i’m not a PR expert, but i am a blogger… certainly more transparency, disclosure, and *accountability* is needed here.

    - dave mcclure

  62. accepting responsibility without subsequent accountability — ie, someone resigning or getting fired, or at the least being censured — is NOT “responsibility”.

    interestingly, Edelman’s blog comments are now being held for moderated approval… not sure if that was the case prior to the past few days, or whether Richard just wanted the weekend off. the last comment on his blog was posted just after 5pm on friday.

    in any case, steve’s blog comments are posting, and my response is noted here:
    http://www.micropersuasion.com/2006/10/edelman_pr_ethi.html#comment-24193760

    i’m not a PR expert, but i am a blogger… certainly more transparency, disclosure, and *accountability* is needed here.

    - dave mcclure

  63. The Edwards Campaign, Social Media and the Scobleizer

    Given the recent conversation in the blogosphere about information embargoes, I thought yesterday’s slip-up by the Edwards campaign was rather hilarious. Launching a presidential campaign website a day early was one heck of a way to break down th…