Monday, July 6, 2009

Palin, DialAFlight, Edelman on Blog Offensive

The blogosphere is under attack from sources as disparate as Sarah Palin, leading U.K. travel website DialAFlight, and marketing and public relations strategists who attempt to manipulate posts from Mommy Bloggers to journalists.

Palin is said to be dropping out as Alaska's governor largely because of mounting legal bills tied to her defense of various ethics complaints.

But, that didn't stop Palin over the weekend from giving notice to Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore that she might be subject to a defamation suit for noting that there are rumors that there is a pending criminal investigation targeting the governor.

Palin also threatened legal action against "those who re-publish the defamation such as Huffington Post, MSNBC, The New York Times, and The Washington Post."

As others have pointed out, there is nothing like a little First Amendment bashing and prior-restraint posturing on the Fourth of July weekend.

In the U.K., meanwhile, DialAFlight sued Darren Cronian of the Travel Rants blog, Grumbletext, Microsoft's Ciao, and threatened to sue TripAdvisor over a seemingly defamatory and unsubstantiated blog and/or website comment.

The Travolution Blog (and I contributed some information used in the post) rightly points out: "Anyway, the main point here is that a travel company [DialAFlight] has taken the most extreme measure it can in order to remove unsavoury comments on blogs and forums, regardless of the profile of the 'publisher.'"

After a two-week hiatus and after issuing an "unreserved apology" to DialAFlight, I'm glad to see that Cronian is back , and blogging away.

Marketing firms and my friends who labor on the "dark side" in public relations also have the blogosphere in their sights. Attempts to manipulate blogs no longer are on the bottom of their to-do lists, but are an integral part of their mainstream strategies.

The other day, a marketing pro followed me on Twitter and she offered to send me a "pitch" about a spa client she represents.

I would rather spend two hours in a steamy sauna than take such pitches.

Meanwhile, Edelman's Danielle Wiley outlined that public relations firm's social media strategy and focus in a Advertising Age interview.

The various attacks and the "attention" that blogs are getting show that blogs truly have arrived.

It may be time to duck and cover, and then keep on blogging, unswayed by the commotion.

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