Wal-Mart's Latest Blog Is Refreshingly Un-Wal-Mart-Like

Wal-Mart has quietly launched its latest blog effort--called Check Out--and the site shows unusually strong un-Wal-Mart-like candor, according to this fascinating New York Times story.

The difference with this blog effort is that it's using low- to mid-level Wal-Mart buyers and their content is getting mostly unfiltered. My favorite line? After describing some prior Wal-Mart blog attempts, which were heavily influenced by corporate PR, the story said: "The lesson seemed clear: create an authentic blog or don't create a blog at all." Ahhh, that's a line I going to print out and frame.

This move is key in E-Commerce because retail blogs are becoming a powerful tool, lying somewhere inbetween a social network and video sites. The big threat of E-Commerce to established large retail chains is its potential to ignore the power of the brand and equalize all with good designs.

The reality is, though, that brands still matter very much. Those brands come with all of the good and the not-so-good reputations of that retailer. Will Wal-Mart The Usurper's reputation be tamed with a friendly and candid blog face?