There was a TV program called Faking It which ran for 5 series on Channel 4 here in the UK.

A person from one walk of life is given the challenge of becoming expert in a totally different field with the help of an expert who trains them. At the end of a month, the volunteer takes part in a contest against experienced participants in the new field. A panel of expert judges then give their verdict on which participant is the “faker”.

I sometimes get the feeling that some PR agencies watch too much TV. It also seems that there are companies still willing to face a similar type of Faking It challenge and risk damaging their brand by creating fake blogs and trying to pass them off as real marketing.

Following the episode with Edelman and WalMart, I personally thought that that would probably be the end of fake blogs or flogs as they were coined. But lo and behold, up steps Sony and their agency Zipatoni to fill the gap with their excruciatingly bad

The really bad elements (and there were some REALLY bad elements) were taken down and replaced with a short acknowledgement from Sony, rather in the air of a naughty schoolboy which has been caught cheating. That too now seems to have disappeared along with the site. However, if you want some detail of what was previously there then you will find some views on it at ZDNet and PC Doctor.

I’d like to re-iterate a couple of points that were made after the WalMart flog, but which still seem to be ignored by some:

  1. trying to fake a blog is likely to end in disaster, whether you have expert help or not. It is quite simply not a good idea there are too many “expert judges” able to spot exactly whats going on;

  2. if you are going to use blogging in a marketing or PR perspective, then it’s always good to get the right specialists in who are going to be able to help you;

  3. blogs need to be authentic – authenticity and genuine interest (as Ryan Anderson points out here) is best left to those who aren’t faking it.

So please let’s leave Faking It to Reality TV and the television companies.

And to any businesses looking to engage in blogging as part of their marketing activities great decision! There are so many excellent ways in which you can use online marketing in general and blogs in particular to get your message across and create a buzz around a product … however, creating fake blogs is not one of them.

To summarise:

  1. If you are even vaguely considering perhaps at some point in the future potentially using a fake blog, then don’t;

  2. See point 1.

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