Edelman Gives Up on Tracking Chinese Blogs

In the Hutong
Starting Spring Cleaning early
1816 hrs.

Edelman continues to provide superior comic relief, and proof that despite the impeding end of PR as we know it (EOPRAWKI) traditional public relations firms are not going gently into that good night.

Nearly eight months ago, Edelman announced through Steve Rubel’s Micro Persuasion blog that, because two thirds of the blogosphere spoke a different language than English – and that already 15% of the global discussion is in Chinese – Edelman saw it as critical that their global PR teams be able to listen to the conversations not only in English but in other local languages. They were teaming up with Technorati to fast-track the development of localized Technorati monitors in German, Italian, French, Korean, and Chinese.

After all, Rubel said, Edelman recognized that the world is flat.

Following effusive self-congratulation and huge hype around the initiative, we heard little for six months.

Now, on the eve of New Years, Rubel notes that, basically, China and Korea are too hard, so they are de-emphasizing (read “forgetting”) Korea and China, and focusing on Europe. Yeah, those double-bit character sets are a bitch, huh Steve?

More proof, if any were needed, that China is not for dilettantes, and the corporate communications crafts are no exception.

And more proof that Sam Flemming‘s CIC data is the only partner to go to when you want to track blogs, message boards, and BBS posts in China. (Edelman/Technorati 0, CIC Data 1).

None of this comes as a particular surprise. Edelman’s tail-twixt-hind-legs retreat from China’s blogosphere echoes for me their embarrassing screw-up with Wal*Mart and the failure of one of their teams when pitching to one of my clients to even identify a single blog of importance to my client. Richard Edelman and Steve Rubel talk a superior game.

But it’s all spin.