Monday, May 22, 2006

Edelman + Technorati, Sitting in a Tree

Edelman & Technorati are teaming up to better localize, track & translate the global blogosphere. The intimacy of the relationship between a major PR firm and a major search engine raises fascinating issues. Here's the official word according to the Technorati blog:
"Technorati and Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm, are announcing a relationship that's all about supporting the international growth of the blogosphere.

"Technorati is accelerating the development of fully localized versions of our service in Chinese, Korean, German, Italian and French. These will be moving through development and testing over the coming months and will be complete, public products in early 2007. (Technorati today can show posts in 20 languages, but so far we've only done completely localized versions in English and Japanese).

"Edelman is providing support for this accelerated development effort and will have access to these new sites as they are in development and testing this year. They will be working with their international clients on how to listen to and engage the blogosphere. How to move away from one-way, command and control marketing towards the conversational era we've entered."
Certainly, Edelman is to be applauded - imagine the competitive advantage that this brings to the table when they are pitching for a global brand! Large consumer brands operate in a real-time, 24/7, global communications environment, and --- at least until 2007 --- only Edelman can now compete at that level.

I am a li'l troubled by this move on Technorati's part, though. Aren't all PR firms and corporate marketers currently "working with clients on how to listen and engage the blogosphere"?

Giving one agency an early, proprietary lead --- if that's what is happening (it is unclear just now) --- seems to go against the grain of our open movement...

Imagine if the recently-unveiled Google Trends had been exclusively available to Fleishman-Hillard, for a year before its public debut. How would that have made you feel?

UPDATE: More troubling questions about this issue raised at the LooseWire blog, by WSJ columnist Jeremy Wagstaff. Edelman's been keeping tabs on this conversation. But it's Technorati that has some 'splainin' to do, if you ask me. When will the Technorati folks respond to all this, I wonder?


Blogger Andrew said...

Rubel reports that Edelman has a deal to "fast-track the development of localized versions of their offering in German, Korean, Italian, French and Chinese." I'm not sure what this means so a couple of questions for Steve:

• Is Edelman paying or funding software development at Technorati? What specifically does fast-track mean? Or to use Peter's words "support"?
• What does "exclusive" mean? Does this mean the only way to get access to pre-beta Technorati in those countries is via Edelman? The success of so many Web2.0 properties - Technorati included - has been predicated on getting not particularly robust products into the market allowing people to participate. Isn't this going to turn a public tool into a proprietary one for a period of time - is it about, at least initially, supporting the growth of the blogosphere for Edelman clients? Why not open it to everyone?

It is great that Edelman is lending its weight to such an important initative. Fortunately they aren't the only ones so this does seem to run counter to the notion of "participatory" and open.

May 22, 2006  
Blogger PR-Guy said...

We don't know enough to judge, yet, but my summary based on what we know so far:

Good for Edelman!
Good for Edelman clients!
But who else is this good for?

I am surprised that neither Edelman himself nor Technorati addressed these questions. They seem impt to me.

May 22, 2006  
Blogger PR-Guy said...

Got an email from Richard Edelman (nice participation, big guy!) -

"All of this will be open to gen public from jan 1. That is about a year earlier than it would have been"

I guess we can give 'em credit for playing the guinea pig?

May 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I answered Andy's question on his blog.

May 22, 2006  
Blogger PR-Guy said...

Here's the link to Steve's post at Andy Lark's site:

And I know this is a pain in the a$$ but interested parties might also check out the OTHER "comments" field on this post, for more notes from me, Steve, Susan Getgood, etc.

(I know, I know - lame. I am moving to MT sometime this Spring!)

May 22, 2006  

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