Yum Brands' manage PR disaster after KFC China web promotion

An online coupon promotion – offering up to 50% discounts – was abused by some wily Chinese web users. And when restaurants refused to honour non-genuine coupons, the natives were revolting; arguing with managers, throwing chairs, flipping tables and refusing to leave certain stores.

From a reputation management perspective, Yum has done the right thing. Like most corporates, they have rules of engagement over customer promotions and customer service issues but…the problem with this Internet/Social Media age is that many consumers and stakeholders have no codes of behaviour at all. This inequity needs to be addressed to set a fair playing field for companies and consumers alike.

Does China pay an army of astroturf bloggers?

Writing in The Guardian, Malik Fareed claims that the Chinese government is payrolling opinion shapers and influencers 50 Chinese cents or five mao per blog post, to refute and replace negative online coverage about China and related issues (better rates than blogging for Fairfax then?)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/sep/22/chinathemedia.marketingandpr
While astroturfing is seen by some as ethically dubious, it is still growing in popularity, thanks, in part, to the ease with which web 2.0 technologies – the likes of Twitter, Wikipedia and YouTube all feature heavily – can be employed to sway public opinion using the elusive power of word-of-mouth marketing.