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Correction in iFulfill story


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August 04, 2005

Correction in iFulfill story

Stephen Baker

Lots of times I enjoy giving the details about how we do things in the magazine business. But when I screw up, as I did yesterday, my impulse is to keep it short. I checked my notes in the iFulfill story. I found that B.L. Ochman did not say "Create a scandal." Instead she said, "Do something controversial."

My apologies to B.L. and to the rest of the readers. We'll correct online as soon as possible, and put a correction in the magazine.

04:05 PM

mainstream media

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? Knock Me Over With a Feather. Business Week Has a Correction from B.L. Ochman's weblog - Internet strategy, marketing, public relations, politics with news and commentary

Kudos to Stephen Baker who has stated online that he did in fact misquote me. I guess this blogging stuff really IS a conversation. It's a public conversation that is both permanent and high stakes. When it works, it is a thing of beauty. Thank you Ste... [Read More]

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Tracked on August 4, 2005 06:50 PM

? Blogging a business closure from NevOn

BL Ochman writes about her client and friend, Paul Purdue, founder of iFulfill.com, who is in the midst of every entrepreneur's nightmare - he's going out of business, and he's using his blog to chronicle what he calls the demise. [Read More]

Tracked on August 5, 2005 07:30 AM

? Art of Controversy from The Association Blog

An interesting controversy erupted in the blogosphere last week that actually spilled over into the pages of the mainstream press. I’m not even going to attempt to link to all of the different posts involved in the following paragraph, because l... [Read More]

Tracked on August 11, 2005 09:17 PM

Thank you Stephen. This is an extraordinary example of how blogging works.

Posted by: B.L. Ochman at August 4, 2005 04:30 PM

The funniest part of this story that she achieved what she had advised to her client, i.e. 'do something controversial" to drive traffic to her site :-)

Posted by: Zoli Erdos at August 4, 2005 07:00 PM

There is so little difference between ‘creating a scandal’ and ‘doing something controversial’ that Stephen Baker absolutely should not feel he needs to place a correction in BusinessWeek magazine.

Ochman is just trying to get herself more attention by appearing in a second week’s edition of BusinessWeek — which she will then cite forever in her own blog and website as she lassoes more luckless lambs like Purdue and leads them to public slaughter -their customers' dime.

The person who gave us Paul Perdue’s B.S., bib-overalls, and bunny suit now levers her failure into consecutive weekly appearances? Don’t fall for this, BusinessWeek.

Another thing: Is it not an evil act to advise a confused and obviously foolish person like Purdue to “do something controversial”? How utterly irresponsible.

Does BL Ochman think for a moment that “doing something controversial” was the best way to attract more clients to iFulfill? Or to build greater confidence among existing clients?

BL Ochman could not have been thinking about the realities of Paul’s business when she told him to be controversial. Instead, she was thinking only about his blog — as if there were no connection, never realizing what ‘controversy’ might imply to a client base of serious business people. No wonder her strategy didn't work: The blog failed to grow.

That’s the best case explanation of Paul’s useless blog and website behaviour. The worst case explanation would be that BL Ochman was not thinking about the quality of the blog, either: That she was just toying with the overweening Purdue, like a cat with a mouse — on retainer.

Posted by: ifulfill victim at August 4, 2005 08:28 PM

Stephen, could you explain the difference between the two? I agree that quotes should be accurate, but the meaning is what matters to readers. Which is worse, controversy or scandal?

Of course, feel free to take a pass on my request if you think that would... create a scandal.

-- Jack Krupansky

Posted by: Jack Krupansky at August 4, 2005 10:08 PM

That's a brave and very public move, Stephen. Very professional.

If Blogspotting didn't exist, no doubt the matter would have been resolved eventually. BL would probably have been emailing and phoning you and the editors, etc. I imagine all that would have taken time.

While it may still take a bit to make corrections online, and longer for the print magazine, the world can already find out that their was a mistake in the original story.

So, reputations rescued a lot quicker!

Posted by: Neville Hobson at August 5, 2005 07:18 AM

Jack, I've thought a lot about this, needless to say, and I'd say "scandal" is quite a bit more serious than "controversy." Ifulfill victim, if we quote someone incorrectly and that person points it out, we are not in a position to question his or her motives. A correction must be made.

Posted by: steve baker at August 5, 2005 07:59 AM

"iFulfill victim" is hiding behind an anonymous email address to make inflammatory accusations. She is a bitter and angry former iFulfill employee and I know exactly who she is. But I will not "out her" and ruin her fun. I certainly hope she feels better after venting her spleen.

BL

Posted by: BL Ochman at August 5, 2005 11:16 AM

Jack: Scandal, according to Webster's Dictionary is "A publicized incident that brings about disgrace or offends the moral sensibilities of society"

Controversy "A dispute, especially a public one, between sides holding opposing views."

Advising a blogger to create controversy simply suggests that they involve in debate over issues that would be of interest to readers; that they challenge the opinions of others. Controversy doesn't have to be nasty, hostile, or immoral. It is lively, and it often makes for good reading. It's the old "dog bites man" dictum that traditional journalists and bloggers alike use in evaulating the interest level that readers may have in what they write. The best stories and blog posts tell something the reader didn't know in a way that makes him/her care about it.

And, since I didn't say, scandal, and since what is online is there indefinitely, I wanted to set the record straight.

I believe the power of new media led to this being handled quickly, honestly and openly by Business Week. The outcome is a more accurate story. Except I didn't scream at Paul about blogging. :>)

B.L.

Posted by: B.L. Ochman at August 5, 2005 11:27 AM

B.L., the email address of ifulfill victim is ifulfillvictim@yahoo.com. I checked it out and got a response before posting the original comment. I'm sorry this software doesn't include the email addresses on the comments.

Posted by: steve baker at August 5, 2005 11:32 AM

I don't run comments on my blog unless there is a name AND a valid email address. This type of intense negativity and nastiness always comes from people who have reason to hide. She, of course, is free to rant as long as it makes her feel better.

BL

Posted by: B.L. Ochman at August 5, 2005 12:27 PM

BL is wrong about me: I am not a former employee of iFulfill. I am the partner of a former iFulfill merchant who lost thousands of dollars in the iFulfill meltdown. But like BusinessWeek, we have turned our attention to the more generally applicable aspect of this story: Company blogs and how they can go wrong. We’re not “bitter” or “angry” as you claim: We are just disgusted at the foul, unethical advice you gave to pitiful Paul Perdue, and we’re saying so.

Everyone reading this post is fortunate to have, through Stephen Baker and through you, BL, a detailed window into exactly how Paul’s blog turned into a source of rampant denunciation for his company and for him personally. It happened because Paul followed some very bad advice from a consultant. This is not “nastiness” or “intense negativity” — this is a fact. I’m not surprised you are uncomfortable with it.

Your “steadfast advice” to Paul that “readers and customers would trust him more once they saw that he did not censor his blog” (quoting Stephen’s article) which led him to permit “scathing” comments was poor advice.

It was poor advice to Paul and would be poor advice to any business, because the world being as it is, things do go wrong: At any moment a company or its leaders or employees can run into a problem, make a mistake, do something dumb (did you think Paul was Mr. Perfect?) and instantly generate a blizzard of blistering comments that will unnerve other customers and constituents.

How can it be smart for any company to create a platform where such disasters can occur? And yet encouraging companies to do exactly this is your stock-in-trade. I say it’s time for the business community to read Stephen’s article in BusinessWeek and think again about the whole idea of company blogging.

Your advice to Paul was obviously bad — and while you may not have known that then, you clearly know it now: That is why you are refusing to publish criticism of your iFulfill consulting on your own company’s blog.

Yes, folks, it’s true: “Miss Transparency” BL Ochman has refused to publish my very gently-worded critical post at her blog. The post I wrote for BL’s blog says the same things I say in my preceding post in this current thread at BusinessWeek Blogspotting, but much nicer and softer in tone, because, after all, it was intended for BL’s own blog and I’m not an impolite guest. It’s now 12 hours later and the post has not appeared: I detect the censoring hand of BL Ochman.

Luckily, there are other blogs we all can use to discuss this...

So what is your blog, anyway, BL? Looks to me like you’re just using your clients’ words to churn out your own propaganda. Anything that doesn’t match that purpose doesn’t make the editorial cut. That’s disingenuous, BL — particularly when you are counseling your clients to throw open their own blogdoors to criticism.

Care to comment, BL? BTW I’ll be happy to post here a copy of the post I tried to place at your blog this morning if anyone would like to see just how temperate, clean-mouthed and non-malicious were the comments I tried to offer to your audience.

Ed note: email is ifulfillvictim@yahoo.com

Posted by: ifulfillvictim at August 5, 2005 07:52 PM


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