In addition to obsessively showcasing best practices among corporate blogs, I felt it’d also be nice to present ever so often, corporate blogging examples culled from recent press coverage as well – stories in all probability you may have missed. This week I’ve a thought-provoking piece on corporate blogging ethics, that touches upon a company using a blog to wreak PR damage upon their competitor. Want to know more?
Read on (after the jump)
1. Miller’s Brewing Blog – For all you do, bud, this blog’s for you (WSJ, If WSJ doesn’t work, try this)
Imagine if Apple had an employee to blog about every move of Microsoft and scoop them on latest news about Microsoft Products. Has that happened? No. But a similar scenario has erupted between brewing giant, Anheuscer Busch and rising star Miller Brewing. For the record: “Anheuser, controls nearly 50 percent of the U.S. beer market, and Miller, less than 20%”. Here are the key points of the corporate blog story from WSJ:
1. A former reporter for Advertising Age, currently runs Brew Blog, a free Web site dedicated to breaking news about beer. Especially news about Anheuser-Busch’s beer.
2. The kicker – Mr. Arndorfer, is a full-time employee of Miller Brewing Co., Anheuser-Busch’s competitor! Here’s the official word on the Brew Blog from the site itself:
3. Users on Miller’s computer network accounted for the most visits of Brew Blog among corporations, with 1,675. Running second: Anheuser, with 1,540 visits.
4. Competitive intelligence gleaned by the Brew Blog allowed Miller to paint Anheuser-Busch as a “follower” in PR/Marketing speak during one of their most recent product releases.
Questions for you:
* Conflict of interest: Despite a tag line on the Brew Blog page (stating the owners) is it unethical to lampoon your competitor on the blog, while you paint yourself a rosy picture? Ethical or not, I’m not sure but as long as you fully disclose your affiliations, is it alright?
* Would the Brew Blog’s credibility in our eyes be impacted if they only covered positive stories about themselves vs. negative stories as well?
* What’s disconcerting is that the Brew Blog insists
- it’s not a corporate blog
- positions itself as an industry blog that provides “beer industry market analysis“
- targets those who “work in the beer industry, or cover it, or just watch it with interest”
- while unofficially unraveling their competitor’s product intelligence before their competitor can!
And, in addition, they also run ads alongside keyword searches for “Harry Schuhmacher” and “Beer Business Daily” – a bipartisan news site, with an attempt to drives visitors instead to the Brew Blog. hmm…
Ethical? Feel free to leave comments.
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