After just two days, a PepsiCo sponsored blog has been removed from ScienceBlogs, the largest online community dedicated to science, after negative user reaction.
Adam Bly, founder and CEO of Seed Media Group, which created ScienceBlogs, said in a statement today:
We apologize for what some of you viewed as a violation of your immense trust in ScienceBlogs. Although we (and many of you) believe strongly in the need to engage industry in pursuit of science-driven social change, this was clearly not the right way.
As one ScienceBlogs reader wrote, “I have no problem with scientists working at Pepsi blogging (with interests declared of course) as individual scientists. I have a huge problem with Pepsi (or anyone) effectively buying ad-space on a science blog and pretending the highly controlled, corporate censored output is science.”
For ScienceBlogs, the question is how can they quickly regain lost credibility and retain influential bloggers, who are headed for the exits? For PepsiCo, it’s an important lesson in community engagement and branded content.
The episode can’t help but remind of us of a quote from BlogHer co-founder and COO Elisa Camahort Page, who recently told PRNewser, “We don’t feel it is worth alienating any part of our diverse community to have sponsored messages intermingled,” with editorial content.