Technorati and Edelman flirting

Richard Edelman announces

Today Technorati and Edelman announced that Edelman will have an exclusive right to offer Technorati’s analytic tools in Chinese, French, German, Italian and Korean, starting with French in July and continuing into early 2007.

I was relieved to read Edelman colleague Steve Rubel elaborate that

These localized versions – which will include keyword/tag search and more – will evolve into more robust public-facing sites that everyone will be able to access beginning in the first quarter of next year.

Phew, so it’s exclusive but only for a few months. That’s a relief.

But I’m curious about why it’s exclusive at all. Richard Edelman’s blog offers a series of reasons for why this deal has been done, but none explain to me what is so great about Edelman having some kind of exclusive deal here. He recites some important but familiar mantras about how blogs are important and its good to keep track of them. Agreed, but that doesn’t explain why this deal is exclusive.

Perhaps we get closer to the bone when he says,

we will have the ability to improve our work product; specifically, to make PR people valued contributors to the discussion, not the often-reviled spinmeister or hype artist lampooned in the media. Participation in this world cannot be on the basis of “pitch a story, hope it appears.” It will be based on an articulate, visual, factual presentation, with both positives and negatives acknowledged. We have to raise our game and we will..

Except, of course, the exclusive nature of the inital deal is not about rehabilitating “PR people” in general since they (and the rest of us) won’t get to play. So why not come out and admit that this is being done for Edelman’s specific advantage… and maybe drop a little of this shiny white knight routine?

Peter Hirshberg of Technorati assures us that this is

all about supporting the international growth of the blogosphere.

but only offers this vague explanation of the deal with Edelman:

Edelman is providing support for this accelerated development effort.

What’s missing from this is some detail. Like what specific expertise is Edelman going to offer Technorati to make this development more effective? Does Edelman have some unpublicised expertise (a PR firm with unpublicised expertise ?) in linguistics or pattern language that Technorati needs? Is any money changing hands here? Is there going to be a blog to let us know what lessons they’re learning in this collaboration? Or is this really simply a smart competitive deal to give Edelman a bit of head start and a higher profile. In which case, don’t BS us that this is all for the greater good of humanity.

So if Steve or Richard could tell us more, that would be good. That will stop the cynical among us from suspecting this is just another one of those “alliances” which is more like the less popular kids in schools hanging out with the cool kids in the hope some of it rubs off. Of course, it’s an interesting trend that the image conscious might now want to take on the cloaks of geekery. Perhaps Edelman could give their staff some ballpoint pens to stick in their shirt pockets too.

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