It’s About Transparency

kinnon —  September 12, 2005 — 3 Comments

I’m sure my posts on the Rick Warren/Greg Stielstra PDL/PyroMarketing saga have offended some of my Christian brothers and sisters. From most reports, PDL has had a hugely positive impact on the people who’ve devoured it. I don’t deny that for a minute, and in the first post I did I quoted this interview with Pastor Warren – it’s a very positive article. I have no theological axe to grind with my brother.

However, I do have a problem with the lack of transparency. Marketing was involved in the selling of the Purpose Driven Life. PERIOD. God may or may not have intervened. That is a faith position. Admitting to the marketing takes nothing away from the book’s success – does it?

One of the 95 Cluetrain theses is:

(12) There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone.

About a week ago I got an email – sent to me at this blog asking me to review a book. The writer talked about how much he enjoyed this blog:

Hi Bill –
I read your blog – regularly. Great content!
That’s why I would like to propose a review of the new business book…

I thanked the writer for his comment, said I’d be interested in reviewing the book and asked him what posts he’d particularly liked. Now let me be transparent. allows me to track where my readers are from, how long they’re on the blog, what posts they read and what site referred them. This particular "reader" had come from Terry Storch’s site where achievable ends is listed in Terry’s  Innovative/Thought Provoking blog list. (And I appreciate it.) There was no previous history of this person having been at ae – although it appears that they have been back many times since.

My point is not to slam them, or even reveal who they are. Just to reinforce the Cluetrain point that "there are no secrets." Had the person said, "I came to your site from Terry Storch’s and have enjoyed what I’ve read, would you be interested in reviewing…", I would have responded in the affirmative. However, the opening line sounded like marketing boilerplate to me which is what caused me to check the blog visitor history.

This company is attempting to create a viral campaign for the book. Good for them. They just need to be aware that the very network they are attempting to use to spread their virus can turn around and bite them – if they aren’t transparent.

Technorati: Cluetrain Marketing



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

3 responses to It’s About Transparency

  1. You are absolutely correct. There are no secrets. Yikes!

  2. Yikes, indeed!


Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

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    Stielstra’s PyroMarketing to be published

    Some time ago I posted Tim Challies look at PyroMarketing and The Purpose Driven Life, in it Greg Stielstra, Senior Marketer at Zondervan was featured. Challie’s first post was in May 2005. He has published Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life series and …

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