Prominent PR blogger Shel Holtz recently posted a lengthy treatise on the etiquette related to ghost-blogging. Shel makes a compelling argument that ghost-blogging, under most circumstances, is not acceptable – particulary when it involves CEOs or other executives who purportedly are sharing their personal views with readers. I agree with his premise – a blog is not a speech or publication, which few would expect or think are written exclusively by the CEO. A blog, particularly with a featured author, presents itself as a personal diary of sorts and by implication must be written mostly or totally by the featured author. (I say mostly because there is latitude, I believe, for minor refinements and edits as long as the basic material came from the author.) What this debate shows is that some folks are still using the rules of traditional marketing and PR in an environment where transparency and honesty are paramount. It’s a brave new world out there, and though the Web 2.0 “rules” are sometimes diffuse and difficult to confirm, it’s pretty clear most online users don’t want to be misled.

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