Wal-Mart: Fake blogs, Obama investigation, holiday boycotts — no problem

Wal-Mart has had a few tough years in the PR department. For years suppliers and local merchants have complained about Wal-Mart’s "bully" practices. In Nov ’05, Wal-Mart’s employment practices motivated an entire documentary film and recently Wal-Mart was flagged for sponsoring a flog (a fake blog) in an attempt to help bolster its public image.

The mounting angst towards Wal-Mart has spawned two union supported anti Wal-Mart sites to educate the masses on what it perceives as unethical practices — wakeupwalmart.com and walmartwatch.com.

War Cries:

It gets worse for Wal-Mart"¦ Prominent government figure heads and organizations are jumping on the anti Wal-Mart band wagon.

Barack Obama (a rising star in the Democratic party) declared a "battle" to force Wal-Mart to examine it policies towards its workers.

AFA (American Family Association – a leading Christian group) was disappointed when Wal-Mart (i) chose to support the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and (ii) began stocking the legal morning after pill. As a result the organization called for a boycott of Wal-Mart on the day after Thanksgiving.

The Silver Lining:

Yes, more and more people are vocalizing their discontent with Wal-Mart. They are getting hit by the left and the right and interest in anti Wal-Mart sites is steadily rising"¦ But before you cry a river for Wal-Mart take a look at what’s happening at Wal-Mart’s own walmartfacts.com.

Wal-Mart’s pro Wal-Mart site is yielding over 4x the visitation compared to the anti Wal-Mart sites. That means for every one person that reads a jab on wakeupwalmart about 4.5 others will read a sunshine report on walmartfacts.

The internet enables a virtual soap box and response to all issues. There is always a conversation about your product or service and if you don’t think there is — then you just don’t get ‘it’. Wal-Mart is starting to get ‘it’ and use ‘it’ to its advantage. The flog incident was embarrassing, but it shows that Wal-Mart is beginning to understand their web presence doesn’t begin and end at walmart.com.

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