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Making a mountain out of a mole hill – blog style

Page one of the business section in today’s Washington Post contains an important lesson for dealing with negative blog posts. In the piece, "Hard-Learned Lesson: Don’t Try to Censor a Blogger," we read the story of an unwitting Washington, DC venture capitalist by the name of Murry Gunty. Back on January 19 of this year, Mark Pincus (founder of Tribe.net) posted a long entry on business ethics. In the middle of his post, Pincus dredged up Gunty’s 1992 ballot-stuffing escapade at the Harvard Business School. Over the next six months, this entry sat virtually unnoticed in the blogosphere – only six comments were left to the original post during that time. Then Gunty made an enormous mistake. According to the Post, Gunty, or an associate acting on his behalf, sent an e-mail to Six Apart, Inc. (the host for Pincus’ blog) asking that the blog post be changed. Six Apart approached Pincus, who not only didn’t agree to modify the post – he dashed off a new post revealing Gunty’s clumsy attempt to change the original piece. This set off a firestorm that pushed the original post to the top of a Google search for "Murry Gunty." – ugh!

There are two things you can do if you or your company show up on someone’s blog:

1) Ignore it. There are millions of blogs today – use some discretion – pick the sites that deserve a response (based on the author, audience and topic).

2) Post a comment giving your side of the story. If you go this route, make sure you write in a conversational style and don’t get confrontational. Present your side of the story and let it go. The author and his/her readers will respect the fact that you had the nerve to enter the lion’s den. In fact, today’s Post story quotes Pincus as saying, "If Murry had responded on my blog, the whole thing would have ended there."

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John Moran

John Moran

Vice President / Executive Media Coach at MSLGROUP

John assists top executives with media training, message development and presentation skills. John also represents a range of clients and is a founding member of the MSLGROUP digital team in Boston.

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