So about 3 weeks ago now, Edelman PR was roundly admonished by the blogosphere after it was discovered he was engaged in creating some fake blogs for Wal-Mart. There was some hew and cry about it, but not much was made in the aftermath.
Richard Edelman promised to undergo some internal changes:
We are undertaking a thorough audit around the world to ensure we apply best practice guidelines to every program in every market and specialty area. We are requiring that all employees attend an Edelman University class on ethics in social media, hosted by members of me2revolution team as well as external experts. This will take place before the end of next week We are establishing a 24/7 hotline so our me2revolution team can review, provide counsel and apply best practice guidelines on social media programs before their implementation. This ensures that programs adhere to the WOMMA guidelines or best-in-class standards around the world. We are creating ethics materials that will be distributed to each office and all new hires.
Mr. Edelman also went on record with an interview that largely went unnoticed. In it, he disclosed exactly how this sort of debacle happened.
We did it because we have people who are insufficiently experienced in this. And [here’s] my job. I have to make sure people have the training in basics of PR and also in the morals of new media and that’s what I’m totally focused on. We had mandatory training for all of our workforce this week in three different regions. Everyone gets the seriousness with which I take this and the profession needs to have that level of standard; otherwise, we are not going to be players in the blogosphere, forget it!
In otherwords, it seems like Mr. Edelman placed inexperienced executives on the Wal-Mart case, and they were the ones responsible for the flog(s).
Subsequently,The Word of Mouth Marketing Association went on to put Edelman on review for the next 90 days, after which WOMMA states the following:
Assuming that we see satisfactory progress, we will end the administrative review and restore your membership to full status in 90 days. If we are not satisfied, WOMMA reserves the right to implement additional penalties, including but not limited to: demanding additional corrective action, removal of Governing Member status, removal from the Board of Directors, or expulsion.
As of this writing, neither Mr. Edelman, nor Steve Rubel of Micropersuasion have gone on record on their blogs about these events.
Dr. Tony Hung also blogs at DeepJiveInterests