Ad Agencies: Join the Conversation or Limit Your Options Later

Adage is running a nice round up article on the bru-ha-ha regarding the Maine Web Report and a lawsuit filed against them by an ad agency. The lawsuit was filed by a 40m advertising agency named
Warren Kremer Paino Advertising in New York. Everyone has already pilloried the ad agency for filing the lawsuit but in the name of context here is a recap:

Published: May 02, 2006

NEW YORK ( — An ad agency that specialized in travel
advertising is suing a Maine-based blogger for defamation after he
began to post regularly about the work the agency was doing for its
client, the state of Maine.

If you are in an agency, what can you DO about this? Note at the end of the adage article Steve Rubel, the de facto PR spokesperson for the planet, offers four pieces of advice. Note number 4! Rubel’s plan for a response to negative comments in a blog is:

  • The first step is to contact the blogger and discuss the issue in a nonthreatening way. See if an agreement can be reached.
  • Second,
    you might have to accept what you cannot change. It’s the bloggers’
    rights to communicate their opinions as long as the information was
    obtained through legal channels.
  • Try to find a third party to broker a discussion between you and the blogger.
  • Blog back, but only if you already have a blog.

Emphasis added. What this means if you are an ad agency is that you really can’t respond if you don’t already have bloggers on your team.

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