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There is a scandal unfolding concerning Wal Mart and Edelman, an important Public Relations firm in Social Media and the blogosphere.


I have listed a few non relevant blog posts in this space but I felt this unfolding scandal is of such tremendous negative import for Edelman and for TRANSPARENT Social Media in the modern blogosphere, that I have finally decided to post it as a major breaking news story here at ScienceWeather. This developing scandal holds direct implications for my developing role in the greater blogosphere and in Social Media.





More Small Steps To Combat Content Theft



The Happy Hacker Goes To Google



Blog Integrity Is Important



Edelman and the one-sided conversation





There is a serious, serious Blogstorm developing about the Edelman/Wal Mart Scandal of 2006.


DISCUSSION at other Blogs as the Storm develops, intensifies and deepens:


Bloggers Blog:

Walmart's Travel Flog



The Bizhack REALLY Tells It Like It Is! You can't PREACH to the CHOIR and then act like a FREAKIN' HYPOCRITE!! You TELL'EM, Biz!!


Edelman, Wal-Mart, Steve Rubel: head, meet sand



Why isn’t this on Techmeme?



All talk; no trousers? - Blogging Me Blogging You (Ed Lee's Mid Level take on Social Media)



Questionable judgment by Edelman in fake blog fiasco



Edelman, WalMart



Trying to Game PR



Edelman's fake Walmart Blog



Golden age of PR?



Flog - Wikipedia definition page




These THREE QUESTIONS are very, very serious, and Edelman MUST answer them TRANSPARENTLY. Edelman has been Preaching TRANSPARENCY for two years. Can they WALK THEIR TALK?????

Three Questions re: the Edelman/Wal-Mart Flap


1 ) Assume that Wal-Mart not only dreamt up the campaign but also insisted on "opacity" for the Wal-Mart'ing Across America flog --- should Edelman have resigned the Big Account to protect their own reputation?


2 ) Did Edelman have the original idea to pull-off this fraudulent campaign? If so are their own credentials now seriously undermined?


3 ) Whether they have been ordered to stay silent or not, doesn't their silence feel hollow and show a lack of respect for the blogosphere's people and practices?





Do You Really want Edelman to do your PR? - raving lunacy blog








Unbelievable..............What an amazing mess..............I guess Edelman's just another wannabe out there that tried to "game the system"...........






This Blog storm is pretty bad..........there are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of blogs blogging about the Edelman-Walmart Scandal.....





Edelman Gaming Blogosphere. With Walmart. Again.



Silence Happens... Temporarily



ReviewMe *almost* gets it right... (or, PayPerPost have you made a decision yet?!?!?)



The PayPerPost Virus Spreads



A Word to the Wise





Strike Two for Edelman PR as Their Second Fake Wal-mart Blog is Revealed



Tony Hung on another Walmart, Edelman, sponsored blogging mashup.



Edelman SockPuppet Shennanigans Known to PR Community, Little Else



Quick! Call Out The Blogosphere Police



Edelman and the one-sided conversation





Free Advice for Dell on How to Turn it Around



Strike 2 for Edelman?



Wal-Mart still not getting it in social media



Wal-Mart Edelman Blog Blunder



Will Edelman Walk the Talk?



Edelman blows it big-time with a fake pro-WalMart blog



What was that we were saying about transparency?



Wal-Mart Flogging Its Way Around the Blogosphere



Pro-Wal-Mart Travel Blog Screeches To A Halt



Techmeme wakes up to WalMart fiasco



Richard Edelman calls…



A Commitment



A rookie mistake



Edelman's fleas



Wal-Mart sucks with Edelman's help



Edelman, Wal-Mart and the Loss of Control in Media



Wal-Mart, Edelman Flogged For Blog



The Sound of Silence



Edelman, Wal-Mart, and WOMMA’s Code of Ethics




Wal Mart Takes the Blogging Low Road










Edelman & Wal-Mart: is the apology enough?





Blog marketing is heating up: bloggers need pitch policies





YOU GOTTA SEE THIS CARTOON over at the Gaping Void!!!

Fake walmart blog







OCT 18 2006





The Edelman Disaster


The Republican party and Edelman, the public relations firm, have something in common these days. Both are suffering a crisis of confidence of their own making.


In the case of the GOP, the habit of claiming the moral high ground on "values" has inevitably fallen victim to a series of scandals that has shaken the faith of some true believers. Democrats, of course, are subject to the same human foibles but are more insulated from voter disillusionment, in this cycle anyway, because they have generally avoided wrapping themselves in the mantle of rightousness.


The Edelman disaster is also self-inflicted and in ways that are similar. No other PR company has used social media and the web more effectively to cultivate an image of fairness, accuracy and transparency. Steve Rudel and Richard Edelman have been, until now at least, considered straight-shooters who built online reputations for embracing the openess and directness of the blogosphere and enjoyed the enormous wellspring of trust this kind of relationship with readers can build.


Now, a lot of readers feel betrayed because Edelman constructed a blogging buzz campaign for Wal-Mart and tried to pass it off as the real thing. I'm sure other PR firms has tried similar stunts and some of them have probably worked.


What makes it a particular disaster for Edelman, however, is that two of its most prominent executives have carefully and deliberately courted the trust of online readers and fellow bloggers over a long period of time and betrayed that trust for short-term gain. In so doing, they have wiped out months of hard work and goodwill and committed two of the cardinal sins of public relations-they have made themselves the story and they made their client look bad.


This is further proof that social media has the capacity to do extraordinary good things for a company's reputation, but only if it is honest about who is controlling the message.














Edelman, Karma's Not Just For Earl Anymore


Fortunately, for all things pure and noble, this new free marketplace of ideas works as a circle - what goes around comes around eventually. Wal-Mart and Edelman, meet your blogospheric comeuppance, served with a side of cold irony.


Edelman, Wal-Mart's PR firm, had that music to face this week after it was revealed that Wal-Marting Across America was a PR stunt. Edelman decided it best to announce Thursday that there are a couple of other morally flexible (meaning fake) Wal-Mart blogs out there, once they looked up the definition of "transparency."


Working Families for Wal-Mart, a praise-singing "grassroots" advocacy group formed in December 2005, and its subsidiary, The Paid Critics blog, a forum for outing the union groups funding prominent anti-Wal-Mart critics, were both established by Edelman employees.


Paid Critics' main foe appears to be Brian McLaughlin, "an ally of Wal-Mart Watch" and "Wake-Up Wal-Mart," who incidentally (they really want you to know) fleeced Little Leaguers for $100,000.


That's a lot of booster money. I was lucky to get $10 in my half-a-milk-carton.


Paid Critics, once anonymous, now names Edelman employees Miranda Gill, Brian McNeill and Kate Marshall, whose clients include Working Families For Walmart.


In case your irony sniffer isn't working right. PR flacks are being paid to criticize those that are paid to criticize their clients at a blog called http://www.PaidCritics.com . That's irony so pure it rivals Ivory Soap.


It was very clear last summer that the anonymous ease with which a blog could be created would lead to crafty ne'er-do-wells pulling the equivalent of a PR sleight of hand.


Blogoriented.com is no more, but when it first arrived on the scene in Summer '05, the PR world was abuzz with ethical questions about the concept of fraudulent blogs to boost a company's or a product's image. Its absence to date is evidence of a few possibilities: it was a prophetic hoax; it was not profitable; or the founders finally decided they couldn't live with themselves.


Even from the launch, the supposed Chinese-based blog outsourcing self-doubting company founder was quoting the Bible:


For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"Matthew (16:26)


This was the moral speed bump on the road to creating "standard" American blogs for generating product buzz. They even gave examples:


· A blog written from the perspective of a stray cat in NYC.

· A blog written from a 14 year old depressed Iowa girl.

· A blog about life as a math professor in a southern community college.

· A blog about being a plus sized model in Kentucky.

· A blog about being a weatherman in California.


And so the seed was planted as the less morally-restricted (or morally flexible, if you prefer) in the PR and marketing world began wringing their hands in anticipation. This is brilliant. The best medium ever created.


But what old media failed to teach them, and what they didn't quite have a handle on when they started, was that transparency in this new media world is the only protective cup there is.


Transparency is no longer an option, as when the blogosphere you've tried so hard to impress and connect with discovers there really is just a man behind the curtain (and they will, too), that image you've looked to promote is shattered right along with that porcelain façade.









What is Edelman Doing?






Edelman, PR Ethics and Social Media - the Next Steps














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