Fortune 500, Failure, And Blogging

    December 30, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

When Doc Searls observed to Wired’s Chris Anderson that big companies may blog only because they’re on the way down, Anderson and a squad of interns explored the Fortune 500 to see if that may be true.

Who’s blogging among Fortune 500 companies? According to Anderson, 16 companies do. The one’s that do blog aren’t exactly among the rising stars of the Fortune 500, either. Anderson recounted the conversation with Searls that led him to look more closely at the issue:

…we got to talking about why some companies blog and some don’t. Microsoft blogs, and Apple doesn’t. Sun blogs and Intel doesn’t. GM blogs and Toyota doesn’t.

Perhaps, Doc wondered, the risks and uncertainties of public business blogging are so great that big companies only do it under duress, when their traditional corporate messaging has lost traction.

If a company is doing well in its field, there’s no reason to change the way it distributes its message. For firms whose business has been lackluster, and are seeing the public and the media mostly ignore what they do, the unfettered insight of a corporate blogger can’t hurt very much and may even help.

Anderson then decided to correlate stock performance with blogging. First, he defined business blogging as “active public blogs by company employees about the company and/or its products.” Then Wired had to hunt down those blogs before they could look at the numbers.

They found the blogging members of the Fortune 500 averaged a 5.7 percent increase in their stock performance over the last 12 months. The blogging-averse averaged a 19 percent increase. It’s indicative that Searls was right, just not conclusively.

To keep track of who’s blogging, Anderson worked with Ross Mayfield of Socialtext to create a wiki of the Fortune 500 bloggers. As more companies in the Fortune 500 create public blogs, they can be added to the wiki.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.