Shel Holtz mentioned this morning (and has blogged about) the disclosure of more fake blogs produced by Edelman for Wal-Mart. His closing comment:
I applaud Edelman for introducing transparency to these blogs (yes, of course, they should have featured such transparency from the get-go) while simultaneously questioning the wisdom of PR agency account members speaking for a client. I was just listening to Inside PR on my way home from an assignment last night. Terry Fallis and David Jones zeroed in on this very topic and both agreed that it is inappropriate for agency reps to act as spokespersons on the client’s behalf. Does a blog change that dynamic or is it no different than getting up and speaking for the client at a press conference?
I think the key difference is when a blog represents itself as being just “average people” instead of paid representatives. But I agree that Edelman was smart to reveal this now instead of waiting for one of the Wal-Mart opponent groups to dig it up (which would lead to Digging, too.)