January 11, 2005

HUGH HEWITT has repeatedly noted this new blog by GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz as evidence that General Motors "gets" blogs.

Naw. Lutz does, maybe, but a company as big as GM doesn't get anything that fast. And for proof, all you need to do is to read this article from the Wall Street Journal on GM's response to blog leaks regarding the new Corvette:

The Z06 snafu is a high-profile illustration of how Detroit's decades-old tactics for generating buzz around a new model don't always mesh with the realities of the digital media universe. Information about products can be passed around the world instantly by Web sites and blogs that don't always honor news-release embargoes designed to suit the publication schedules of print magazines. . . .

A Texas computer consultant said he stumbled upon photos of a silver-blue Z06 on the Internet and posted them that afternoon on a Corvette online discussion forum he frequents. Five days later, on Nov. 14, two men from Securitas, GM's contract security firm, knocked on the door of his Houston home demanding to know who gave him the pictures. He said he refused to let them in, and their parting shot was "We'll see you in court."

As soon as the security men left, the 36-year-old computer consultant, who requested his name not be used, posted details of the visit from the "two goons," as he described them, on two Corvette Web sites. He also posted scanned images of their business cards.

Trust me, that's not the action of a company that understands the Internet. Somebody needs to educate them! Maybe Lutz will spring for a few copies, and see that they get into the right hands.

UPDATE: Reader Jeff Nolan emails with this observation, which carries an important lesson:

Your mention of GM and blogs, specific to the new Corvette launch, may actually underscore a point that it's not blogs that GM doesn't understand, but rather the power of small parts loosely joined in the form of camera phones.

Most of the spy photos that showed up on fan websites (technically not blogs) were from people who snapped pics of them on car carriers, or driving (with body panels disguised) around the Detroit area, with their camera phones.

Blogs played a big part in this, but were it not for individuals with camera phones who were in the right spot at the right time the blogs would have had nothing to publish.

And that's one reason why I want as many InstaPundit readers as possible to be carrying digital cameras at all times!