Joseph Turow summarizes how marketers are using new technologies to make it "harder than ever for audiences to escape, and resist, their advances." One practice, "seeding," blends "publicity, product placement, and public relations." Seeding can involve hiring actors for "clandestine campaigns that 'may consist of seeding chat rooms, blogs and forums with paid-for messages,'" as one marketer explained.
Journalist blogger Josh Wolf was jailed for contempt of court after refusing to give a grand jury film footage of a street protest.
Dell recently hired the GCI Group to help the computer company with a PR campaign titled "Rebuilding Corporate Reputation Through Grassroots Efforts" — a fancy way of saying they are trying to repair the company's reputation for poor customer service.
"Media today is so cynical that you have to come out and say that shilling without disclosure is a bad idea," writes BusinessWeek's Jon Fine. Fine reports on product placement on web logs or blogs. Ted Murphy of the Tampa, Florida ad agency MindComet launched the BlogStar Network in 2004, which paid $5 to $10 per post. He said "a couple thousand" bloggers had cashed in, via the network.
Technorati, the leading search engine devoted specifically to bloggers, has partnered with the Edelman PR firm. According to Technorati vice president Peter Hirshberg, Edelman is providing support for an "accelerated development effort" to create Technorati offerings in languages including Chinese, Korean, German, Italian and French.
"Telecommunications companies are spending serious green on advertising in recent weeks," as several telecom-related bills, including on network neutrality, come before Congress. A study by Arlen Communications estimates that the U.S. Telecom Association, which "represents the majority of the Bell telecommunications firms," has spent $250,000 a week over six weeks. And SBC/AT&T has spent some $600,000 a week, according to Arlen. A U.S.