Capessa is an online community featuring blogs and message boards 'by women and for women', where women discuss health/family/money/career issues. The community is co-sponsored by Yahoo.
Now the problem I have is, the site is ALSO co-sponsored by Proctor and Gamble. And while Yahoo's sponsorship is clearly noted on the site, P&G's is not. At the very botton of the site in small print is this notation:"Capessa is produced by The ZiZo Group, Inc. for Procter & Gamble Productions, Inc." Also, P&G products are advertised on the site.
But perhaps most troubling to me is, P&G is monitoring the user's contributions to the forums, without telling them they are doing so. "This is not about selling products. It's about better understanding of consumers and learning about their needs and habits," P&G spokeswoman Robyn Schroeder explained. "The more we learn about these consumers, the more it will allow us to create better products for their needs."
So why not just tell them that?
Why not be upfront about your intentions and let community members know that P&G is co-sponsoring the site? Let the women that contribute know that P&G is becoming involved in the community as a way to help women get more information about issues that are important to them, and to learn from each other. And in return, P&G can explain that they will be able to better serve their customers' wants and needs, based on their contributions to Capessa.
Why not just tell the truth? Maybe I'm naive, but I think the community would not only accept your actions, but appreciate your efforts to learn more about them, while providing a service that benefits them.
The Viral Garden, Marketing, Capessa