Right now, the most searched-for term on blog search engine Technorati is “Edelman.” Why? Usually even negative media mentions are good PR, but in this case, the Edelman PR firm has been under attack from the blogosphere for helping to run three pro-Wal-Mart blogs without being transparent about their involvement. One of those blogs, Wal-Marting Across America, turned out to be a paid gig for the “average couple” that was taking an RV tour of the U.S. and staying in Wal-Mart parking lots. Worse, the photographer half of the couple was Jim Thresher, whose day job was at the Washington Post. He was outed by the Wal-Mart Watch blog and was forced by his employer to take down his photos and return payment from the Working Families for Wal-Mart (a group set up by Edelman).
Now Edelman admits there are two other blogs it has surreptitiously run as “flogs” or fake blogs. What do you think about this controversy? Does it call into question any pro-Wal-Mart websites out there? Does it hurt the PR industry in general and its attempt to co-opt the blogosphere, or is this just business as usual? Share your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll run the best ones in the next Your Take Roundup.