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My own opinion? Edelman aren’t stupid enough to have let this happen on purpose. Something else is going on. My guess is either Walmart pulled a Cleopatra on them and Edelman’s taking the rap, otherwise it was just your average middle-mangement SNAFU [If I were a gambling man, I’d wager more towards the latter]. Not that it matters. Errare humanem est. Stuff happens. Learn and move on.
Doubtless Edelman will dust themselves off and get straight back in the saddle. And THE NEXT TIME someone inside their circle suggests withholding due disclosure…
As my mother is fond of saying, “Education is expensive”.
I still stand by the nice things I said about Edelman. I enjoyed meeting Richard Edelman and his team last week.
[AFTERTHOUGHT:] I know bloggers like their high-horse feeding frenzies, but compared to the day-to-day flames large PR agencies have to douse on behalf of their clients, this stuff is child’s play.
[Meanwhile:] Tris Hussey puts it in perspective.
[UPDATE:] From Scoble:
Richard Edelman, head of Edelman*, just called. He wrote a blog post about the Walmart/Edelman disclosure (or lack thereof) issue over the weekend. He says “this should not have happened.” He also said he didn’t respond until he had all the facts, which is why both him and Steve Rubel hadn’t responded until now. Now that he has, he says that they didn’t do a good job here and he’s working to educate his staff so this doesn’t happen again. Steve Rubel also wrote about it and was pretty specific “our firm failed to be completely transparent.”
Richard also apologized for his firm’s error.
That’s enough for me. It’s pretty clear, based on our conversation that this isn’t allowable behavior at Edelman and that he isn’t telling his clients it’s a good thing to do this and that, if a similar site goes up, that full disclosure will be there and will be there from the beginning.
That’s enough for me, as well. Given the circumstances, I think Richard and Rubel handled it pretty well.