Edelman Speaks Up … Say What???

Richard Edelman finally acknowledges the “significant chatter” about his firms’ ethical challenges in the blogosphere with a 1/12 post that essentially says he has nothing to say. The post is called Setting Expectations and he is very clear that our expectations for him addressing this issue or other front-page news about recent Edelman antics in the blogosphere should be very low.  

Edelman says “we hold ourselves to the highest standards of ethical behavior and openness,” but he is not compelled to discuss what those standards are, and he sees no need to be open about company policies or behavior in the blogosphere. Instead, he says, he’ll let subordinates deal with that and he offers a link to a PR Week print edition story that quotes Edelman’s Me2Revolution President Rick Murray. Unfortunately, the story requires a $178 subscription to view. (PRWeek reporter Keith O’Brien offers a free link to the story.)

Okay, Richard Edelman won’t talk about Microsoft of Wal-Mart, but maybe he will discuss his personal blogging standards and policies. I posted to his blog last week and it still has not appeared. Others have been complaining recently that their posts, when they ask questions about Edelman blogging policies, take several days to appear and then they are ignored. Anyone who manages a blog knows you can approve or disallow a post in seconds.  Richard, do you want to be timely and even handed in your blog – or do you want to manipulate the dialogue? What is your policy? 

This is not a matter of competitors picking on each other and trying to find fault with the big dog in the digital PR space. As David Jones noted in his post on CanuckFlack : “Even though I work at one of their competitors (Fleishman-Hillard), I want these guys to succeed for the good of the industry.”

I was a huge supporter of Richard Edelman when he started blogging a few years ago. That’s why it is  disturbing to see his blog devolve into a backslapping, self-congratulatory, self-promotional vehicle while the big elephant in the middle of the room is off limits. He has an opportunity here to move the needle with some open engagement, a real dialogue – what blogs are all about – but he chooses instead PR 1.0 shuffle and dance with a story quoting subordinates planted in the PR trade pub. Come on!  

Related Links:

Edelman Speaks Up In Shut Up

Edelman In The New World


  1. Well, I asked Richard to clarify his point about not commenting if his client asks him not to (see http://www.prdisasters.com/?p=87) and he has. More, he responded in a pretty timely manner and I’ve added a further point about concurrency of client/blogsphere comms goals. He seems clear about where he is on the matter and that’s his perogative.

  2. Mark Rose says:

    Thanks Gerry. It absolutely is his perogative and his first responsibility is to his clients and employees. I appreciate and respect that. I also believe that Richard can take a leadership role and engage in dialogue about tactics and policies without betraying client confidences – especially when the actions of Edelman are high profile news.

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