Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Big Bad Blogger an unfolding scandal

Big Bad Blogger aka BBB

Both Bloggers and non-Bloggers alike have been equally intrigued by who the Big Bad Blogger (ingeniously shortened to "BBB") could possibly be - although I must say, anyone in his (we at least know BBB is male) right mind would confess to "giving Blogging a bad name", what with all the hullabaloo and media attention it has received...

Not that it was uncalled for. Extortion should be punishable by law (I seriously think the complainant should file a case), and so THAT coupled with the blind-item-ish article published on the Sunday PDI by journalist-blogger Margeaux Salcedo, screams of an unfolding scandal - one begging for a catharsis that will probably never come.

A Pinoy Scandal

Did you know that the word "scandal" is one of the Philippines' perennially Googled words? For some reason or another, we Pinoys prefer (or enjoy?) being in-the-know about these scandalous things. Don't we all know some friends who would even flaunt knowing about something like a secret nasty but would never tell because he's "sworn to secrecy". Ugh.

Well folks, this time around it is Ms. Salcedo's secret to keep. Or not. I saw some comments on posts floating around the blogosphere that they are already in-the-know. Flaunters. Bah! :p

Trial by Publicity

It would probably have been much different if Ms. Salcedo just simply named the PR culprit and BBB. People would have read it, would probably have been surprised, disgusted even, they'd maybe even tweet about it or post it on Facebook, but then they'd move on by the time they change their FB status.

I know for sure Anton Diaz would prefer that and save him the trouble of needing to defend himself against the mob who simply concluded it was him that Ms. Salcedo was talking about. Was it because he wasn't mentioned in the article the same way Marketman and Lori Baltazar were? Was it because he's one of the most famous food bloggers around and other were simply jealous that at the slightest hint they crossed his name and pointed fingers? I have no guess.

I only know that the "tsismis" transformed from "Who could it be?" to "Hmmm... it could be him..." jumped suddenly to, "It IS him because so and so and so..." I don't know Mr. Diaz enough to have an opinion about him, but I really wouldn't wish that upon anybody.

Trial by publicity is a bitch.

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  1. Hey EJ! Well for one, it was that Putrid PR Firm (I'm trying out other names for you hehe) who did the actual extorting from Georgia. However, your theory would suggest the bad review as actually because the food was err not so stellar and that BBB simply trusted his palate.

    In any case, I agree with you - Prison-bound PR Firm should be the one being roasted, more so than BBB.

  2. I think the PR firm is the bad guy here. I dont think the blogger (whoever he/she is) knows that they're being "used" by that PR firm. Unfortunately, Big Bad PR-Firm just isn't as catchy as Big Bad Blogger.

  3. I can easily tell everyone that I am working with Tony Ahn while I try to extort money from restaurant owners. If Margaux were to read this and immediately write an article saying that "Lawrence F and Tony Ahn are ganging up on hapless victims" without getting your side of the story, how would you feel?

    I am 1,000,000% sure that Margaux DID NOT bother to ask the big bad blogger for his side of the story.

  4. Well we're all assuming everything that we think about the situation from the writer's story. However, I don't think it is unreasonable to conclude that they are working together, considering the PR firm said they had an arrangement with him, then a year later offered to have the same blogger retract a bad review. I don't think that's name dropping. If the story happened the way it is being reported, I think it is pretty clear that they are working together.

  5. I have to answer yes and no, meaning that the internet has a long memory (even I, with my ability to manipulate Google search results, cannot erase then, except in special situations), but the public has a short one. What I mean by that is that even if the Big Bad Blogger hired a firm like mine to clear his/her reputation (and I would not take this person as a client, as my firm has standards regarding who we work with), all that firm could do would be to bury mentions of what they did deep into the Google search results, where less people would see them. That said, the public tends to "forget" things over time, partially because people are often more concerned about current events/scandals, and also partially because newcomers to this person's blog aren't necessarily going to know about their sordid past. If I'm Googling "food blog Manila" for the first time three months from now, I'm not likely going to know about this person's tarnished reputation. In that sense, this person could continue the same practices and I'd be none the wiser. The only way to stop this sort of crime (and in my opinion, it is a crime) is for the community to continually police itself, and fight fire with fire by putting up a search engine optimized page that exposes BBB'd misdeeds. I'd be willing to take the lead on such an initiative if proof as to their identity emerges. The other remedy is through the courts, if such and action breaks laws (and if it doesn't then we should initiate legislation that makes it a crime). An entrepreneur with a restaurant should not be held hostage by vultures trying to cash in on their success.

    Am happy to answer more reputation-oriented questions as they arise, if anyone has any.

  6. You make an interesting point Tony. Although, I do think what Anton has done is sufficient - he simply stated his blog is not associated with any PR firms and did not further dignify the mob accusations against him.

    In your professional opinion though, if ever the truth came out about who the Big Bad Blogger is, can his reputation be salvaged after all of this is done?

  7. As a reputation management professional, I was really disappointed to hear about this situation. I also think that Ms. Salcedo is in a delicate position now. If she names big bad blogger, she could be sued for defamation (although her story is probably true, it may be difficult and costly to prove in court), and if she confirms that Mr. Diaz is NOT the big bad blogger,, the public may start skewering another food blogger, forcing her to again confirm it is not that person, and a few rounds of that would narrow the field of suspicion quite a bit. I'm sorry that Mr. Diaz's reputation is being impugned, but at the same time I understand why Ms. Salcedo isn't coming forward with more information in order to help him.

  8. Tony, you are assuming that the blogger and PR firm are working together, based solely on the writer's blind story. The PR firm may just be name-dropping without the blogger being aware of it.

    On a separate note, Margaux had the gall to repost the entire article on her blog. She's milking the "fame" from her sorry excuse for journalism. It is interesting to note that two articles below it is a photo with Anton Diaz and business partners, whom she is a client of.

  9. In my personal opinion, the blogger and the PR firm are working together, and so are equally responsible. Remember that the blogger goes, does the review, writes up the post, then calls or writes the PR firm to say "Okay, my review is up, go in and make us some money." Therefore the blogger is guilty of conspiracy to extort, if not extortion him/herself.

  10. Your example is different from Margaux's in one important way: she didn't use his name. She's not convicting anyone. She's not ruining anyone's reputation (at least in my opinion).