Opinion: Letters - Ethical web practice is critical for sector

It is a sad indication of the state of the UK PR industry if firms are relying on snake-oil salesmen tactics such as link-farming to manipulate search rankings for clients (Features, 11 January).

Not only does this reflect the short-sighted attitude with which a large section of our industry approaches the internet, it also highlights how many firms do not understand the fundamental changes in communication being wrought by the web.

There are some examples of good practice in the article, such as Immediate Future's efforts to create 'honest conversation with bloggers'. But identifying key bloggers using computerised algorithms and then sending them four press releases a month is spamming.

There are attempts to lead the industry in the ethical adoption of social and new media tools - Edelman being one such firm championing responsible practices - but the industry also needs leadership from bodies such as the CIPR and PRCA, which have so far remained largely silent.

Simon Collister, head of digital culture and emerging media, Edelman Send your letters (200 words maximum) to prweekletters@haymarket.com.

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