from ITWire (Stan Beer ):

It may come as a shock to adoring Michael Moore fans but not everyone agrees with him or the ways he expresses his views through the medium of film making. Thus, when Google blogger Lauren Turner, who sells Google advertising to the healthcare industry, expressed relatively mild and veiled criticism of Moore’s new film Sicko in a company blog and suggested ways her clients could combat negative publicity through advertising, outrage ensued.

Google’s health advertising team blog.

I’m not going to get into the Michael Moore vs Lauren Turner debate. What I do want to talk about is enabling comments on your blog. Lauren (as per Google’s corporate stance) does not enter into discussion. She posts up a blog post and then bows out… and while this works for some companies – and Goodness Knows, Google doesn’t need the search rankings that comments can give – at the end of the day, it’s not what consumers are looking for. They want dialogue and they don’t necessarily want to have to go elsewhere/offsite to have it. In Lauren’s case, the discussion has poured onto other blogs.

The Google blogs trackbacks or “Links to this Post” show the first 100 discussions.

Now normally I have to tell the owners of an online community… no scrap that, they don’t “own” the community, they host it. Start again. Now normally I have to tell the hosts of an online community not to rise up and defend their honour. “Don’t flame your customer” is something I seriously consider having tattooed in thick red ink (nope, not telling where). But not only is Lauren not participating in the flame war she’s started, she isn’t hosting it either. Traditional companies may well say “good”, but in this new world of ‘honest dialogue’ marketing, I say “bad”. What say you?

Distributed Web 2.0 conversations are all very well, but sooner or later we want a comfy sofa, a cup of coffee and a heated debate. And why does it always have to be at my place? And I think what this leads the customer to say is “whatever you do, Google, don’t start a fight (intentionally or otherwise) with me, then say you don’t want to talk about it and go home where I can’t follow.” Yes, relationship marketing means having a ‘relationship’ and it sucks when the customer says “darling, we have to talk” doesn’t it? Heh.