Bruce Stewart of O'Reilly posted an IM interview last night with fictional blogger Dr. Myra, a creation of the Durham, N.C. ad firm McKinney. McKinney has created a fake Wikipedia entry, among other tactics, as part of its current stealth "Pherotones" campaign.
I definitely agree with most critics that [McKinney] went too far when they tried to pollute the Wikipedia with a bogus pherotone entry. C'mon guys, the Wikipedia is having enough trouble with mainstream public perception lately, it really doesn't need ad folks trying to manipulate entries too.
So Bruce asked Dr. Myra about it. The exchange:
DrPherotone: Hi. How are you today?
bruceETel: doing well, thanks! What's going on with the wikipedia entry for pherotones, do you know? did you write that entry?
DrPherotone: Well, when you consider the groupthink that rules
mainstream "acceptable" science, it's surprising they let it stay up for even one minute.
DrPherotone: No, but it is based on a lot of my work.
bruceETel: Are you going to try and fight to keep it up?
DrPherotone: You can't fight city hall. The only way to keep it up there is to prove once and for all the existence and potency of Pherotones. That's the only fight I am interested in.
bruceETel: Are you working for McKinney Silver?
DrPherotone: No, they work for me.
Anyone who reads Media Orchard knows we have a sense of humor. So please indulge us for a moment as we go back into "curmudgeon" mode.
Look, McKinney's campaign has worked -- no question. It's achieved a good measure of blog buzz, and, negative or positive, McKinney clearly could care less. It's a win for them.
So, we now must ask this:
Are we prepared for the day when hundreds of other advertising firms -- large and small, hip and not hip, ones who "get it" and ones who don't -- are making up "facts" and posting it on Wikipedia, and making the whole bloggy world like a chat room where a 14-year-old girl always has to wonder if she's chatting with a 50-year-old man who's just pretending to be a 14-year-old boy?
We know: very curmudgeonly of us.
But we do wonder.
Update: Looks like McKinney has toned down the Wikipedia entry, although the firm is still not coming clean. Half-measures don't cut it, gang; just pull it, apologize and move on.