O'Reilly's Nat Torkington has a tremendous editorial up today about what went so wrong when a Google advertising manager offered Google's services to help the health industry undermine Michael Moore's Sicko. The problem wasn't that an employee spoke out of turn, but rather, that she disguised (and later sought to excuse) her shilling for her employer as harmless personal opinion.
The time-honored marketing blog post formula is simple:
1. Find something topical. In Ms Turner's case, it was the release of Michael Moore's new film.
2. Identify the shiznit you wish to pimp. In Ms Turner's case, it was Google's Health Advertising services.
3. Find a line (however tenuous) between the two and the post just writes itself!
These posts are easy to write, and so everyone does them. Hell, even I've been guilty of it at times. The posts are unsatisfying for the same reason they're easy to write: they have no actual insight or useful information, just the staggeringly unobvious "Michael Moore's new movie is anti-HMO" and "you can advertise on Google."