Wednesday, 25 July 2012




Be careful what you believe on the internet: there’s a growing chance that you re being hoaxed by a cynical PR firm. Just as the blogging explosion was teaching us about "vlogs" (video bloggs) and "moblogs" (mobile blogs), along comes yet another trend that is far more pernicious.

A "flog" is a fake weblog that purports to chronicle an ordinary consumer’s passion for a business or a product, typcally without the company behind it declaring an interest. It is a scandalously dishonest practice.

Take Laura and Jim, an ordinary couple who recently drove a camper van across America and stopped over for free each night at their nearest Wal-Mart car park. Their likeably amateurish travel journal, Wal-Marting across America, chronicled all the decent, hard working Wal-Mart employees they encountered during their stopovers, all of whom seemed to have been stories about the company.

Lo and behold, the couple turned out to be a professional paid by Wal-Mart’s PR firm, Edelman, and folksy Jim was revealed to be a professional Washington Post photographer. Last month, Laura used the blog to come clean, admitting that she "should have done a better job" telling her story.

Since then, Edelman’s fingerprints have been found all over other related flogs. Working Families For Wal-Mart claims to be a grassroots advocacy group focusing on "the positive contribution of Wal-Mart to working families"; the blog sets out to "expose" union employees paid to "smear" the retail chain. Typical postings attack activists for denying "working families" cheap Wal-Mart prescriptions of half-price baby food.

Use Interactive Marketing Communication and know exactly what your getting!

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