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Report: Wal-Mart Buyers Write Blog

Bentonville, Ark. Wal-Mart is encouraging its merchants to speak candidly about the products the chain carries, according to the New York Times.

An unusual new Web site, checkoutblog.com, which was created during the holiday shopping season, has become a forum for Wal-Mart’s buyers to note their likes, dislikes and opinions about everything from the products they buy to their pets at home. The site provides a window into the lives, preferences and quirks of the powerful tastemakers at Wal-Mart.

This is not Wal-Mart’s first plunge into the blogosphere. Several years ago, it turned to the Web for relief when the retailer’s public relations problems began to mount. It created one blog, “Working Families for Wal-Mart,” to trumpet the chain’s accomplishments and ding its critics. It created another, “Wal-Marting Across America,” to highlight the good deeds and productive careers of Wal-Mart employees. Critics dismissed both as thinly veiled extensions of Wal-Mart’s P.R. department, and Wal-Mart shut them down.

Wal-Mart employees began the blog a year ago and recruited a handful of buyer-bloggers last fall, giving them rudimentary training on how to post their writing, upload videos and create hyperlinks, the report said.