Atlanta Journal-Constitution food critic John Kessler outs a PR person (FoodieATL) on his paper’s comments board:
I asked Kessler about checking to see if commenters have ties to restaurants, and what he thought about the PR firm owner’s comment about the “busted” employee. She said that “the blog comment in question was made from a personal computer and personal email address with no attempt to disguise it, and it is the personal opinion of one of our employees.”
Kessler tells Romenesko readers:
I do not routinely go looking for commenters associated with the restaurant. I do pay attention to the comments posted to a review — particularly those responding to a rave or a pan. The name simply jumped out at me. This is the first time I have recognized the name of a publicist commenting anonymously.
[PR firm owner] Mary Reynolds attributed the anonymous comment to “personal opinion” and, it seems to me, gave it her tacit assent. This feels wrong to me. The goodwill of full disclosure is the only thing that keeps any kind of wall between targeted ads and honest discussion.