Saturday, May 19, 2007

Riding in Peter Rost's Wake

When will I learn?

Never underestimate the value of riding in Peter Rost's (Question Authority's) wake as he jets through the Pharma BlogosphereTM.

Last week I wrote:

"Corruption regarding the sale of a plant in India has very little relevance to "me", which is what is really important. Maybe that's why not many other blogs are picking up on this latest whistle blower story." (see "Whistle Blower Blowout")
It seems my comment was a bit premature. Rost now lists quotes from several bloggers who are paying homage to his latest revelations regarding whistleblowing in India, which is aimed against Pfizer.

"I guess John is eating his words about right now," says Rost.

Well yes, I was wrong about other blogs following in Peter's wake, which they have now done in droves, and for good reason: Quoting Rost and linking to his blog -- riding his search engine visibility coat tails -- is a sure way to increase traffic to your blog.

Rost also reciprocates and links back to other bloggers, which is a nice gesture of camaraderie and a reward to faithful followers; it's the ultimate in "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" Internet visibility strategy. We've all engaged in it and I am doing it right now. Some, however, may say that my scratching digs a bit too deep!

Back in the day when the Internet was young (1995), it was common practice for web sites to solicit links to one another. Web sites even set up a special page for these links and expected linked sites to reciprocate.

I don't believe in the "reciprocal link" strategy to build visibility, although I understand that links are an important part of Google's search algorithm and we are all slaves to that master.

Where's the Added Value?
But bloggers also link to other bloggers for reasons other than getting higher visibility in search engines. The best reason for linking to other bloggers is because you have something to add to the conversation that the other blogger started.

Most of the bloggers who linked back to Rost's latest whistleblower posting merely re-iterated the story and referred back to Rost for details. Some suggested that Pfizer should have rewarded Rost and prevented all the bad publicity he is now generating.

But from what I see, few other bloggers had anything substantive to add to the conversation. You know, some more information about pharma's foreign subsidiaries, Pfizer's world domination, common business practices in foreign countries like India, etc.

No blogger I know of offered a critical analysis or helped us better understand the issue. I could have used more views on the topic -- not more links back to Rost -- in order to understand what appears to be a complicated case.

Trolling through all the blogs that cited Rost, the best I could come up with that added something new to think about, was a comment made to an Impactiviti post by Dr. Jane Chin:
"When industry conducts itself in a manner worth cheering, you’ll find that its cheerleaders may once again emerge.

"Riding on the laurels of saying (but not practicing) 'we want to do the right thing', using the rising cost of R&D as the perennial reason for rising cost of drugs, and expecting consumers to admire drug companies for doing drug companies’ expected jobs of producing life-saving or life-improving drugs are no longer enough to keep me defending the industry."
Food for thought, which is what other bloggers failed to deliver in this case, IMHO.

No comments: