Oh dear. No sooner than it seemed that the blogosphere kerfuffle about Edelman PR and the fake Wal-Mart blog was settling down comes another revelation that the PR firm is behind two more fake blogs it has created for its client Wal-Mart but without disclosing the true nature of those blogs nor its relationship.
Following the original kerfuffle, Edelman CEO Richard Edelman outlined steps he says he has put in place to address what clearly is a massive hole in the PR firm’s thinking and behaviour when it comes to employing social media.
At the same time, Steve Rubel gushed about his CEO’s post, saying “[...] we continue to monitor all of the great feedback you gave us this week on PR ethics on social media.”
Supporter though I am of Edelman and all they have been doing globally for more than two years in advancing the social media cause in PR, this latest revelation has seriously damaged the firm’s credibility.
It will likely undermine the PR benefits they have gained for the work they have been doing recently with Technorati in developing local blog search and sharing the fruits of that work such as the two firms jointly presented in London the week before last.
In his post late yesterday, Richard Edelman asks:
[...] If there any other actions that you would advise us to consider, I would welcome them.
He is receiving plenty of advice from many business bloggers.
All I would add is this – Richard, if you have any more skeletons in the closet like these, get them out into the open straightaway.
Edelman PR is now under a very bright spotlight. You absolutely cannot afford to have someone else disclosing any more fake blogs or anything else that calls your firm’s credibility and reputation into question.
It’s all about trust, isn’t it?