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Rancorous Blogville :: Snark, Accusations, Questions

So, with my new found practice of commenting on all things Blog, CMS, PR, Marcom and Multimedia, I begin with something I’ve noticed lately.

Pejorative generalizations. Hey, they proliferate online – especially in blogs.

I know I’ve generalized before. Anyone that says they haven’t would either have to be a fool or a liar. See, there I’ve done it again in that very sentence.

Several instances online, of late, have given me reason to pause and reflect. I’m writing about one of them here. I have never met Jackie Danicki. My sole exposure to her opinions comes from her ‘big blog’ at “tBBC. I am certain that she is a good, respectable and respected person. Please keep that in mind as I write and I’ll remind you again when I conclude.

If you are interested in my thoughts, please read on …

Jackie recently wrote, at “the Big Blog Company” (), a rather scathing indictment of someone (we don’t know who it is) in her blog at The Big Blog Company (tBBC).

Jackie writes of “the expression of disgust and revulsion on Adriana’s face when Perry and I (Jackie) told her of the widespread fake blogging that we heard of firsthand, from people who are actively executing fake blogs for companies.” Jackie says it “was priceless.” Jackie is referring to her allegations that some Los Angeles “PR flack” is telling “lies to big corporations and promises them good coverage on their ‘big traffic,’ fake blog.”

What Jackie has just engaged in is an act of questionable sense. She has effectively condemned L.A., PR and big corporations quite nicely without once providing a scintilla of evidence. Jackie states that the “big traffic” blog is seemingly “authored by an anonymous nobody…who just so happens to pepper his commentary with glowing mentions of the PR company’s clients, and negative remarks about their competition.”

She posted this accusation four days ago, April 5th. I commented on April 8th. A day later, Jackie has yet to respond to comments in her blog on that post. Hey, it is the weekend and she may be out. But, I’m wondering if there will be a ‘conversation’ in her ‘big blog’. Comments to her have been there four days. Long enough, one would think, to reconsider the lacking information. Long enough to join the conversation.

Now, I will start a conversation with Jackie through my blog.

Jackie, you have made a rather damaging claim against someone’s character and practices. Your blog post is lacking in several areas. I will cite four here.

  1. the name of the person that did this
  2. the name of the PR firm engaging in these practices
  3. the link to the offending blog

Now, those three are enough to make anyone wonder about your post. But, the lack of those three brings up the fourth. Transparency.

You make claims. You do not provide evidence. There is a fifth missing item, too. A clarification.

Jackie, I want to ask you about the ‘negative remarks’ you claim the ‘fake’ blog is publishing. Could those be like the ones you are making? You cite this blog for not being transparent, yet you do not give us a link to the blog, the company’s name or the person’s name. Well, your post makes ‘the Big Blog Company’ look remarkably like the ‘big traffic’ blog you so disdain. And, your accusation could look like a ‘fake’ one, too.

As for your ‘anonymous nobody’ comment, let’s remember that with 8 million or so blogs, and the millions of people online, you may well be relatively anonymous amongst the general public. You may well be a ‘nameless nobody’ in their eyes should they surf up on your ‘big blog’ company. Transparency is not a one-way mirror.

What if I was a potential customer? Think of the possibilities if a potential customer had the same reaction to the post as I have.

End-users beware. Whether here or there – anywhere you read anything – take it all with a grain of salt until you do your own follow-ups to see if there is merit in anything you read. Skepticism is the key. Embrace it. Learn from having practiced it. I have followed up the only way possible. I commented in Jackie’s blog. Without names or a link to this nefarious blog there is nowhere else to look for a clarification.

I could write something pejorative about bloggers. How about “pajama wearing” or something worse. I could even start in on consultants.

I won’t, though. I will ask questions. Until they are answered, I really don’t know what to think about all this.

I have to wonder if there may be something else going on here. Jackie is a consultant trying to get people to pay her to help them start blogging. She has competition. More and more PR companies are rolling out ‘blogging’ offerings to their clients. I see six examples of tBBC’s work represented on their site. None of them are large corporations. Jackie, are there any underlying (not transparent) reasons for your writing that post? I’m asking. I don’t know. Is it a tactic to try and bring disrepute upon PR people? Was this an attempt to lift yourself up while tearing them down?

Jackie runs with some pretty big company players. Do Adriana Cronin-Lukas, Perry de Havilland and David J.K. Carr condone this blogging practice? If they do, my opinion of them has to be re-examined.

Students, please think twice (maybe, three or four times) before you ever post something like Jackie’s post.

It is a longtail, and in this case, some posts might be more dangerous than being a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

Everyone, please remember that I am certain that she is a good, respectable and respected person. There is no tongue firmly planted in my cheek, either. Good people can forget to clarify. Good people can make mistakes. Please keep that in mind as you ponder this post of mine.


  1. The blog in question that Jackie writes about was revealed to her under circumstances which would make us a bit churlish to slag them off by name (i.e. it was told to us in confidence). But to be honest that this sort of faux blog gets set up is hardly a revelation. We have linked to various (the ‘blog’ in question here is now dead and redirects to the responsible company) and sundry fakes before.

    “She has effectively condemned L.A., PR and big corporations quite nicely without once providing a scintilla of evidence.”

    Well no. I do not understand the idea of collective guilt as how is pointing out someone in particular does something wrong in LA is “condemning L.A.”. How does that work?
    Ditto PR and Big Biz. By that notion, if I mentioned that a certain advertising agency in London does not know how to use Flash on websites appropriately, am I “condemning London” and advertising agencies in general? No, I don’t think so.

  2. Perry, you guys are amazing. I believe you are missing the question. You may be doing so on purpose. Are you blowing a bit of smoke to avoid having to answer the real question?
    Collective guilt? Jackie’s post is quite the ‘collective’ statement, don’t you think? “PR companies scamming big business with fake blogs”
    And that collective disparaging remark goes unproven. It is ad hominem gossip, at best. “A fallacy that attacks the industry/person rather than dealing with the real issue in dispute.” Until proven, the post is fallacy.
    All of that is quite funny when you consider that in her very next post she mocks Matt Drudge. She just practiced his form of publishing in her previous post.
    The claim you both assert may well be true, but does that provide both of you with carte blanche to disparage a profession and not back it up?
    The real issue here is ‘transparency’. Does it matter? Does anyone’s credibility suffer when they make unsubstantiated claims – and, when pressed for evidence, refuse to provide proof? Would anyone reading that post be justified in thinking, “Hmm? If there is smoke here, is there fire elsewhere?” I ask you. Tell me, please.

  3. UPDATE: After reading Jeremy Pepper’s recent post on The Cluelesstrain, I feel compelled to update the comments made here previously.

    For transparency sake, I want to know that they have achieved a special ‘case study’ status in PR, too.

    The more I think about their unfortunate actions, the more surprised and disappointed I am with a company that claims to value ‘transparency’ and does not practice it in ‘all’ their actions in their professional lives.

    For my classes, I am using – in this one instance – as a best example of poor practices on transparency. I post this here so that they will know – if they even care. You see, this is transparency.

    Thus far, the people from the company seem bent on just ignoring – or spinning – their actions, if only to try and divert attention from their poor choices.

    The lesson for my students? Don’t do what they’ve done, students. It serves no positive purpose and may well diminish their company’s appeal to potential clients. In turn, their own reputations may suffer in the eyes of their clients and observers.

    I fail to see how any positive end can come from anonymous ad hominem attacks on mythical or imaginary beings by . And mythical/imaginary boogey-men is exactly what these unfounded claims of tBBC are until the company chooses to name names or retract their claims.

    Can you think of any other remedies? Please share them here, if you can. As of this writing, there seem to be only a few remedies for tBBC’s behaviour. First, withdraw the comments. Second, provide the factual proof of their claims. Third, suffer the possible harm done to their credibility by such malicious statements (they claim ‘scamming’ – that’s a pretty powerful claim). And yet, they () fail to provide any proof. Wild and unfounded claims aren’t necessarily good for building trust, are they? Some of it is almost ‘Oliver Stone’ like, as I can only see one purpose for ‘unfounded/unsubstantiated’ claims. That would be to try and diminish the competition with wild generalizations aimed at the whole competing industry. It is easier, after all, than standing up and putting your name to your claims. Use my writings here – on this particular issue – as an example of taking the ‘transparent’ route.

    I used to place greater value in the writings and comments of . From here on out, I must admit I will be skeptical and question the validity of evertyhing I read there.