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Edelman acknowledgement on Wal-Mart comes up a little short

October 16, 2006

Though Steve Rubel and Dick Edelman have responded on the Wal-Mart affair, something leaves me feeling hollow.

Dick acknowledged their error in failing to be transparent about the identity of the two bloggers from the outset. He said Edelman was committed to transparency and openness.

Steve also acknowledged Edelman’s failure to be completely transparent. Like Dick, he said said their firm is committed to the WOMMA guidelines on transparency. Steve does say that he his sorry he could not respond sooner but the matter needed to proceed through its course.

Two things bother me. One, Edelman is good, real good at this blog marketing game. They knew better than this. I practiced in another profession than PR for 17 years, the practice of law. It would be unacceptable to let something happen we knew was wrong. If it did, transparency would dictate an apology. No apology, only an acknowledgment here.

Two, Steve looks like a square peg in a round hole inside Edeleman, much like I was inside LexisNexis after they acquired my prior company. Though he was not personally involved, Steve finds himself with mud all over himself and unable to respond for 3 or 4 days.

I respect Steve a lot. Hell, I worship him. I’ve followed his meteoric rise in the PR world via down to earth guerilla blog marketing techniques since the early days of 2004 when I first started in this game. I’ve learned a ton from him via his blog, speaking with him, and presenting on a panel with him.

Steve made his name mixing it up with folks on the blogosphere. He was always candid, personable, and would never fail to respond to something like this as soon as he could. He was like a kid in a candy store doing what he always dreamed of doing when I saw him at Gnomedex this summer. He wanted to be representing the largest companies and was now doing so as part of one the finest PR companies. I was really glad for him. And maybe I should still be.

Maybe this is the price you pay when you go inside the big companies? Hell, I don’t know.

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