Wal-Mart Blog Lets Buyers Post Real Reviews

Some suppliers vexed, but site 'puts real personality out there'

By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 3, 2008 7:24 PM CST

(Newser) – Wal-Mart is letting its buyers blast or hail store products on a new blog, and do so freely—a shift for the once-strict corporate culture. Posts have so far panned Microsoft's Vista and a "Star Wars" movie, all while revealing favorite books, Bible quotes, and pets. "It puts real personality out there in a real conversation," says a Wal-Mart exec who helped make the blog.

The site, checkoutblog.com, follows Wal-Mart Web efforts that critics slammed as masked PR. “Readers can tell if people are being genuine or monitored," a store manager told the New York Times. The controlled-to-unedited evolution is typical of  companies, says one software maker: “You start with this total lockdown, suits read everything," but end up with "something that is far more authentic.”

A sign stands in front of the Wal-Mart Stores Inc. headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., in this Friday, Oct. 5, 2007 file photo. (AP Photo/April L. Brown, file)   (Associated Press)
A portion of the masthead for "Check Out" the Wal-Mart buyer blog which contains surprisingly unfiltered opinions of products often slammed despite being available on the shelves of the retail giant.   (checkoutblog.com)
A shopper walks to her car at the Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in Brunswick, Maine, on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2008. Wal-Mart buyers are speaking their minds in a surprisingly frank blog with official backing. (AP...   (Associated Press)
The outside of a Wal-Mart store in Little Rock, Ark. is seen in this Dec. 26, 2007 file photo. Wal-Mart buyers are speaking their minds in a surprisingly frank blog with official backing. (AP Photo/Mike...   (Associated Press)
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