Reading an article by Michael Barbaro in the New York Times entitled "Wal-Mart enlist bloggers in its public relations campaign" got me thinking about the different ways companies react to and promote bloggers. The usual consensus is that bloggers speak their own piece, and give sources when they quote other people. Some companies have been known to fire employees forblogging about work - others, such as Microsoft, actually encorage it, as seen by the wide acceptance of Robert Scoble's blog. Since the web is supposed to be a conversation, peer to peer pressure will keep us honest. But what about companies trying to influence bloggers in order to get better PR ? If the bloggers quote where they get their information, then I guess it is OK - but it smacks a bit of manipulation to me.