The Edelman/Wal-Mart fiasco has been playing itself out in the PR and marketing blogosphere over the last 5 days or so. It finally reached its nadir when Richard Edelman stepped in to officially address the issue.
The irony here is striking: a company that established the guidlines for WOMMA went ahead and completely ignored those guidelines, using professionals and being completely covert on the Working Families for Wal-Mart site.
This lesson serves to reiterate a valuable lesson in social media: transparency. If you're trying to gain a unique audience share, it's important to be upfront with them about who you are, what point of view you'd like to take, and what you have to say. While there are one or two notable exceptions (LonelyGirl15, for example), if you're in a BtoB role, your readers moreso than others need to be able to trust you.
If Edelman's reputation suffers in the short run from this situation, it's unfortunate. But they've served a valuable purpose - letting us all learn from their mistake.