A Total Web Shocker: Debbie Weil, one of the world’s foremost experts on CEO blogging technique, was busted this week for an online drug promotion scheme. To make matters worse... Weil, the world renowned author of “The Corporate Blogging Book,” is now being accused of cheapening herself and the blogosphere by using her popular blog to promote a questionable weight loss product. And the topper... the drug, Alli, is widely known to produce various side effects.
GlaxoSmithKlein released this statement: “The drug works by preventing your body from absorbing some of the fat you eat. The fat passes out of your body, so you may have bowel changes. You may get: gas with oily spotting; loose stools; and more frequent stools that may be hard to control.” GSK added, “In fact, you may recognize it as something that looks like the oil on top of a pizza.”
But the real story here is this: what exactly has the blogosphere so outraged?
Uber blogger Dennis Howlett points out: “Apparently for some chroniclers of blogging ethics, it wasn't enough for Ms. Weil to disclose that she was on GSK's payroll: ‘Full disclosure: I'm working with GSK on the blog.’"
Well, in the interest of journalistic integrity, we decided to run an independent test. We enlisted our eager intern Julie Baumgarten of Somerville, New Jersey (3rd-year undergrad studying marketing communications at Northwestern University). Late this week, we sent Julie to have lunch at the popular Baja Burrito on Grand Avenue. The first day was the "control" where she dined without the drug; and then on day two, she took the weight loss product, Alli. [Note: on both days she had exactly the same order, i.e. the cheese and onion enchiladas, a bean burrito and the sopa de tortilla. Also note: Julie had sour cream with her burrito and on both occasions downed a 12 oz. Dos Equis.]
Day One (without Alli) -
Day Two (with Alli) -
After careful examination of the tapes, our staff of experts have concluded that there is "a definite prejudice among bloggers when it comes to greasy farts and cheesy discharges."
It is with some regret that we need to inform our audience that we are losing Ms. Baumgarten. Julie has elected to end her internship with us effective immediately. We'd like to thank her for her cooperation and wish Julie continued success as she investigates various career alternatives.
I spontaneously, with no compensation and little regard by anyone on earth, except the player haters, blog about things and people I happen to like.
I think a blase, low key promotion is best online. No hype, no hysteria. Just laid back, "check it out, if you feel like it and have nothing better to do at the moment" approach is usually best in the blogosphere.
Soon as you start pushing for sales, orders, "results" for ROI, you step into a stinky pile of Trouble.
Which is why you and I share a seething hate for all PayPerPost blog whoring. Once people start wondering "do you really mean that, or are you being bribed or paid to say it?"...
...you've lost the heart and soul of blogosphere P2P recommendation system, the self-policing integrity of genuine Trust Web.
So if this Weil deal is of that nature, plus all the other negative aspects of the alleged case, it is a truly sad day for her and for us bloggers. I must look into this further.
Anybody want to join a socnet devoted to blogocombat?