Corporate Blogging Survey 2005

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November 10, 2005

Forbes Article Claims Microsoft, IBM, SUN & Oracle Bloggers are part of an Online Lynch Mob

Daniel Lyons used his Forbes article "attack of the blogs," to give the impression bloggers are only interested in attacking corporations. After reading his article, I thought Lyons managed to characterize all bloggers as vitriolic towards companies, when in my experience that is not the case.

Daniel I think you have to realize that the term blogger has a broad definition, the term applies to someone who runs a blog, and that's all. That means the type of people who run the 20 million or so blogs, (as calculated by, are varied and numerous.

You gave the example of Gregory Halpern and his company Circle Group Holdings, and how his company was unfairly attacked by the blog To my mind, the blog does not make the person, the person makes the blog, therefore to label all bloggers as an online lynch mob seems not only unfair but rather preposterous. I think your article would have been much more interesting if you provided some balance and also illustrated that some of the very companies what you detailed have been attacked by blogs actually run blogs themselves. See some of my case studies on corporate blogging at Microsoft, Macromedia and IBM. However, your article might leave the reader with the impression that all bloggers are attack dogs.

You do bring up the example of Ed Brill at IBM and his interactions with Sara Radicati of the Radicati Group. Although Ed is an IBM employee, IBM does not run his blog. Are you then also suggesting that all corporate bloggers at Microsoft, Macromedia, SUN Microsystems, IBM and Oracle are part of the online lynch mob? Hence the reason for the title of my post, as that was the impression I was left with after reading your article.

I think you missed out on an opportunity to discuss the newly recognized power of consumers to publish content on the web, on websites, forums, and now blogs. When a consumer does express an opinion online, today that opinion can be easily found by millions of fellow customers, either through word of mouth or through search engines. Consumers can use that information to make up their own minds about companies and products. Hence the reason why its so important for any company to be involved in those online conversations by monitoring consumer generated online media, and responding if necessary. I do think you analysis of some of the problems with blogging, in that a few bloggers don't use the same standards as journalists or the journalistic approach is correct. I think that blogger critics should also be careful and transparent about their writing. Otherwise they open themselves for the same criticism, they give to other organizations and people. But isn't that what a free society is all about?

Now you did raise the issue of many of the attacks on companies coming from competitors and even cited Bruce Fischman, a lawyer in Miami as saying "I'd say 50% to 60% of attacks are sponsored by competitors." What's the basis for his claim? I'd like to hear more about this issue.

Overall all I don't think you gave bloggers a fair shake, do you recall the Intel mathematics bug issue in the last century, that issue was sparked by a message board posting, I think that story illustrates that product feedback and criticism has been around for a long time before blogging, and it will continue in many formats through television, newspapers, magazines and yes blogs. I think your article lacks some of the same balance you describe in several blog examples you gave by not describing other uses of blogs.

Posted by johncass at November 10, 2005 1:23 PM

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