Naturally, the the Paul Purdue story and the collapse of iFulfill raise questions about business blogging. One commenter blames consultant B.L. Ochman for urging him to blog and to post even scathing comments on his blog.
A couple points here. Purdue's business was failing before he started to blog. Blogging was a bit of a sideshow. It may have been a distraction. Purdue says he viewed it as a "necessary distraction." But given the gravity of the situation at iFulfill and his self-confessed management shortcomings, I doubt the distraction made a big difference.
The more important point is this: Purdue did not use his blog to discuss honestly the important issues his company was facing. He kept that truth from his readers, his customers, and even his consultant. He wrote about things that were irrelevant, or at best tangential, to the real story at iFulfill.
The real test of business blogging would have been for him to write: Listen, we're having real problems here. We can't come to grips with our new tracking software, we're having trouble finding things, we're sending out the wrong stuff, and then paying out the wazoo to resend it by next day delivery.
I don't know if this would be a smart approach. Maybe merchants would have scidaddled earlier, like investors making a run on a failing bank. But that would have been closer to a real test of business blogging. (And yes, it would have driven up his traffic--not that it mattered.) Contriving a bunch of stuff to write and hiding the real issues isn't business blogging, the way I see it. It's just empty p.r.