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Blogs give honest views of auto industry

March 12, 2006

Blogs give honest views of the auto industry is the subject of a story in today’s Detroit Free Press.

As Detroit’s automakers struggle to keep market share and make money, a new breed of watchdogs is emerging on the Internet. They post regular columns on Web sites and send out e-mail newsletters providing blunt, and often colorful, analysis of the auto industry.

They blast corporate strategy, single out top-level executives for failed projects and provide their own thoughts on what the automakers should do to turn things around. Several of the sites have developed a loyal following with thousands of regular visitors.

Whether the companies like them or not, the Internet sites are increasingly pushing information to the public, said David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. They quickly circulate news and ideas about the auto companies.

The automakers are smart enough to listen to the discussion and respond.

General Motors Corp. monitors the Internet daily to see how its brands and the company are covered, said Michael Wiley, GM’s director of new media.

In one case, GM brought Internet forum members to Detroit for a special preview of the new Pontiac convertible.

Examples like this should be eye openers for large law firms and professional service firms. The internet discussion needs to be monitored via the large RSS aggregators. You should be listening to your own firm name and that of client’s.

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