A pro-cycling blog (À vélo citoyens) written by three people who met while bicycling. The three of them blog - and very well too - about the joys of cycling, about what's new, they put up short videos. It's a well thought out blog, regularly updated. One of the good ones.
They open a Facebook page linked to their blog which has over 1000 "friends".
Each of the three has his/her own Facebook page, with - in one case - 1300 "friends" (I really have to put quotes around that - friends? Really? C'mon!)
And then they got a scoop. Montreal was installing Bixi bikes, a system - much like the one in Paris - whereby you can "borrow" a bike at a designated spot and leave it at your destination. It's green, it's great, it's all damn wonderful. Well, Montreal merchants beg to differ, but that's a whole other thing.
The cost: $78 for a yearly pass, though you can get monthly or weekly passes.
It was a scoop indeed.
However (you knew this was coming didn't you?)
It turns out the whole blog/facebook thing was a hoax.
The Bixi (a contraction of bicycle and taxi) system itself is real, and is being inaugurated in Montreal today (unfortunately, they don't seem to have translated the Montreal Bixi webpage yet - but it might just be a temporary glitch).
But it turns out the blog and Facebook pages were set up by Morrow Communications who were mandated by the city of Montreal pump up interest in the whole Bixi thing.
Now, for the "scandal" :
Although Morrow and the city of Montreal say they did nothing wrong, some people (especially those, I suppose, who were fans of the blog) feel they've been cheated, that creating a blog that everyone believes is real in order to sell a concept is simply dishonest (doesn't take much to get people all het up in Montreal as y'all can see).
As I doubt I'll be using the bikes and had never heard of the blog until this morning, I don't much care one way or another.
But what about the ethics of it? Is it, in fact, wrong to do this? Does it make blogs in general less trustworthy? How about the blog in question - it was apparently a very good blog, does the fact that it's marketing change that?
I have no answers - what do you think??