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.” (Read more Internet stories.)