Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Wal-Mart goes on the Blogfensive

The NY Times has an interesting front page story today on Wal-Mart’s attempt to use blogs as a PR weapon. Wal-Mart, through its PR company Edelman, sends out communiqués to bloggers, complete with formatted text and links, with favorable information about the country. One issue is that bloggers are lifting this information sometimes word for word with attribution:
But some bloggers have posted information from Wal-Mart, at times word for word, without revealing where it came from.

Glenn Reynolds, the founder of Instapundit.com, one of the oldest blogs on the Web, said that even in the blogosphere, which is renowned for its lack of rules, a basic tenet applies: "If I reprint something, I say where it came from. A blog is about your voice, it seems to me, not somebody else's."
But the bigger story is that Wal-Mart has been nettled by critics and is doing anything it can to strike back. With its controversial Staten Island store entering the land use review process shortly and its proposed suburban Monsey, NY supercenter receiving considerable flak, the world’s largest retailer is attempting to mitigate the poor PR that especially harms them in these site fights. However, though we obviously respect blogging, Wal-Mart is going to have to do much more to convince NYC and many other communities around the country that this store makes sense for their neighborhoods.