I’m sure by now you’ve all heard about the fiasco that’s going on with Edleman not disclosing that they (once again) paid bloggers to write shiny-happy things about their client, Wal-Mart. And there is plenty that is being said. We’ve had some nice debates about it within our own doors as well.
But after sitting with it inside my head for a day I have to say, that sure, I’m mad and I’d like to see action taken. But more than anything else, it saddens me. Edelman has hurt Brains on Fire. Edleman has hurt the other members of WOMMA and the honest marketers out there that have already invested a lot of time, effort and brain power educating our current and potential clients to check out this word of mouth thing. This is a huge setback. Sure, it’s an opportunity to educate our clients and other companies about where the ethical lines are, but all this does is give watchdog organizations like Commercial Alert major ammo to take to the Federal Trade Commission and start regulating word of mouth marketing.
I don’t care how Edelman handles cleaning up their mess. Their credibility is shot with me. And what they have done to this industry ” still in its infancy ” is a major blow. One that the blogosphere won’t soon forget.
NOTE: Brains on Fire is a member of WOMMA and sits on the Board of Directors for WOMMA.