OLD Media Moves

How Wal-Mart and other businesses use blogs

March 7, 2006

New York Times business writer Michael Barbaro writes, “Under assault as never before, Wal-Mart is increasingly looking beyond the mainstream media and working directly with bloggers, feeding them exclusive nuggets of news, suggesting topics for postings and even inviting them to visit its corporate headquarters.

“But the strategy raises questions about what bloggers, who pride themselves on independence, should disclose to readers. Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private employer, has been forthright with bloggers about the origins of its communications, and the company and its public relations firm, Edelman, say they do not compensate the bloggers.”

“But some bloggers have posted information from Wal-Mart, at times word for word, without revealing where it came from.”

As I posted on Monday, some bloggers were upset with the line of questioning from Barbaro, and they were concerned with the tone of the upcoming article.

Frankly, I think Barbaro raises some excellent points in his article about the relationship between big businesses and bloggers.

Read the article here.

Blogcritics.org, however, slammed Barbaro’s article. Daniel Harrison wrote, “It is a great shame to Barbaro and The Times that the erstwhile business reporter chose to concentrate his article on such an obvious flaw in comprehension of the New Media, for this might have been a relevant, lively think-piece about the tactics being increasingly employed by large organisations to market their message to a wider audience: he could have still maintained the same stance against PR to bloggers and got away with this.

“Instead, it looks like Barbaro needs to go back to journalism school and get to grips with the fundamentals of a technology even most teenagers know now how to interpret.”

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