Blogosphere hall monitor for Walmart, Mike Krempasky, took the time to reply to our post disclosing emails we exchanged about a meeting we had several months ago. A meeting he would rather we not discuss, but we did anyway on behalf of the No Respect! podcast. After the jump, his remarks and our ripostes, wherein we ponder the ethics of lying to a PR flack… and whether that’s even technically possible.
Ben, thanks for the post. But lets be clear on a couple points.
I asked for, and you agreed to, a candid and private conversation about a number of different topics, one of which was Wal-Mart, another was Edelman. I didn’t declare that it was off the record, I asked you. Quite the difference.
Nope, you didn’t ask, you declared.
Despite your characterization of the conversation, the main substance as reflected in my notes was my very direct offer to help your readers resolve consumer problems with any of my clients. Bloggers and blog readers ought to matter to companies, and too many businesses wait for their customers to come complaining instead of proactively trying to fix problems. At the time you expressed that you’d be interested in that. But you never took advantage of that opportunity.
Why should it be our responsibility to drop the complaints in your lap? They’re right there on the blog. You already watch us with the Nielsen BuzzMetrics corporate grade blog-monitoring site. What prevented Edelman from stepping up on any number of the complaints we’ve posted about your clients, like Walmart and Starbucks? Where were you with the Boiled Walmart Baby? The withdrawn Starbucks coupon? The opportunity lost is yours, friend.
I made the trip to Brooklyn to meet you for a drink because, among other things, I’m a fan of the consumerist. It’s a well-written and entertaining blog. But it appears I misunderstood your interest in actually helping your readers (and, frankly, helping the businesses they frequent to do a better job) but instead just drive up the sitemeter hits.
You made a trip out to Brooklyn only after your employee, Chris Abraham, made a series of blunders in approaching us. We help out our readers by publishing their complaints and, when warranted, following up leads. Our duty is to the story, not to do your job for you.
And as far as this post – well, I’ll leave it to others to judge its veracity, considering you’re entirely comfortable with having made a committment and then ignored it.
Again, cheers and good luck.
The morality of reneging on a committment to a PR rep… sounds like the basis for a good piece of sketch comedy.