Corporate America Adopts Blogging

When General Motors Corp. wanted to stop speculation this spring that it might eliminate its Pontiac and Buick brands, Vice Chairman Bob Lutz took his case directly to dealers and customers who were up in arms about the possibility.

He wrote about it on the company's blog.

"The media coverage on the auto industry of late has done much to paint an ugly portrait of General Motors," began Lutz's entry on GM's FastLane Blog, which the company launched in January.

The March 30 entry went on to say that widely reported remarks he made to analysts the week before had been "taken out of context" and that the automaker would not shed the brands.

A growing number of companies are stepping softly into the blogosphere, following a path blazed by Microsoft Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and others in the technology field.

The Internet journal format, they find, lets businesses expand their reach, generate product buzz and encourage consumer loyalty — while bypassing traditional media.

"When we feel that we need to get a direct response out there, we've certainly got this bully pulpit to some extent," said Michael Wiley, GM's director of new media. "It's a place where we can talk directly to people unfiltered."

It's hard to quantify how many companies, executives and employees are blogging but there are probably more than 100 official corporate blogs, with hundreds more in the works, said Pete Blackshaw, chief marketing officer for Intelliseek Inc., a company that analyzes and tracks blogs.

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