It’s not always the PR companies…

Funny story. I once saw someone try to solicit a PR company by promising to slyly drop their product names into “conversations” on blogs, blog comments, twitter and some podcasts, in return for some free products or money. One would think that a PR company would all be for that kind of idea, getting their product details injected into conversations between thought leaders. Viral or whatever term they use now. A sneaky way of doing things. Natural conversations is where it’s at these days, right? The PR company told that person where to go instantly, citing their prefered use of traditional and transparent methods. There’s hope yet for these PR companies. Although there’s despair at some practioners in “new media”.

14 Responses to “It’s not always the PR companies…”

  1. Keith says:

    A decent mix of “traditional” and “new” media is what’s really needed. Not too many companies see that yet though.

  2. flirty says:

    In a real Coke way that is a Dell like awful use of otherwise normal methods of the Vodafone conversations.

  3. Paul McClean says:

    Unfortunately, not all companies are into transparency. Check out this Slashdot article from the weekend. Definitely time to get the tin-foil hats out:

  4. aphrodite says:

    Hmmm they’re not all into transparency. Their latest thing is to try and “create a buzz” around something – and what that means seems to be pay per post and similar crap that the average blog reader would see right through.
    They’re on Facebook with their new product – but they need people to talk about it and link to it. Oh dear.

  5. ellen says:

    I always thought that Dooce does that. It used to be ‘Dora The Explorer’ in every second post and photos of her daughter reading Dora Books and what Dora say etc. Now I think she’s moved on to ‘Target’ the American Superstore.

  6. It’s possibly a little sad that ‘traditional’ is used there to mean ‘not being a revolting shill’. Is shilling really the new media way?

    On ‘Dooce’, if she is shilling, she’s being particularly underhanded about it; there is no obvious disclosure of any sort on her site. Maybe she just really likes Target…

  7. Rahood says:

    Speaking of shills. I’m surprised Mulley’ can get out from under his desk with the permanent erection he has for Facebook 😉

  8. Patrick Liddy says:

    Gosh Damian, I never realised what an optimist you are. Reading that post I was sure that you were going to tell us how short sited the PR company was… that they hadn’t seen the real opportunity that getting a good mention on a blog would be… that they still thought traditional media is the way to go…

    As for back handers… I mean come on… where is the line… Your other post today talks about how you will happily link together your linkedin friends, and that “introducing people is good for you and good for them”. Thats fundamentally the same thing, publishing your friends, for your gain.(don’t get me wrong, I think your dead right on the linkedin thing). By being given a product (or service… PR for example) for free, you have the opportunity to use it, and comment on it. Nothing tastes as good as free beer, so it is likely that your comments will be good…

  9. Damien says:

    Patrick, if you can’t see the fundamental difference between fostering an environment where everyone shares and everyone benefits and an environment where people pay others to shill for a company and not disclose then you’ll need more than dark glasses, a cane and a labrador to get through life.

    But yeah I guess with your logic Paddy’s Valley was some ulterior motive for me too if gettting people I know to connect is some backhander.

  10. Patrick, lying for money is generally a bad thing. It’s nothing about “traditional media”; it’s about ethics.

    I’d have serious difficulty giving any credibility to a blogger who whored themselves out to a company in that way.

  11. […] ’tis a murky business. Damien’s post reminds me of my recent Sneaky Selling […]

  12. Patrick Liddy says:

    hey there… i hate the idea of getting into a battle by blog… but where did I even suggest lying. Did the blog post not not begin by saying that he wanted the PR companies services. I assume that suggests a level of confidence in their ability. If only guinness would believe me when I email them telling them that I will be seen drinking and enjoying their products, in return for them being free.

    I guess the issue is this. Is Tiger Woods wrong to take payment for wearing Nike good? If he were to believe that they were the best goods available (or at least good enough for his needs) does it make him more or less bad person?

    I also think that you need to recognise the difference between paying someone for their advice (a consultant say) and someone whose advice you are recieving for free. It is wrong for a consultant to allow any other business interests to influence his/her advice.

  13. There’s a big difference between advertising and shilling. With proper ads, everyone knows the ad’s an ad. Sports sponsorship of that sort is a bit of a gray area; presumably by this point most people recognise that it’s going on, but there is insufficient disclosure. Same with infomercials.

    Shilling, on the other hand, the practice mentioned in the original post, is the practice of lying in supposedly editorial content for money. There is no way to gloss this over.

    Basically, it is fine for a newspaper or blog or whatever to take advertisements. It is NOT fine for them to take bribes to lie about someone’s product in a positive manner. Even if they actually LIKE the product (rare in the pay-for-lies industry, I suspect; stuff advertised in this way is normally awful crap which no-one will otherwise take notice of), their objectivity is compromised.

  14. […] have. It is serious responsibility, and leads me to believe… for the first time ever… that Mulley might have a point… (joke… really… he never has a […]