Brad Stone and Matt Richtel of the New York Times recently wrote a piece (here) about the risks of unscrupulous use of Internet blogs and message boards.
According to the article, the FTC says John Mackey, chief executive of Whole Foods Market, masqueraded as a third party to promote his company on Yahoo!. The story also describes how various politicians and reporters have also gotten into trouble by using assumed identities on the net. This practice is called "sock puppeting".
Blogging under your own name can be a problem too, as Google discovered when Google's Lauren Turner offered a too-personal opinion on Michael Moore's movie Sicko in an official Google blog (here), and suggested that healthcare companies should consider using Google ads to help promote their industry. Missy Krasner, a Google product marketing manager, responded to the controversy generated by Turner with another blog entry (here) saying the expected things.
As I begin my second month of blogging here, I plan to steer clear of all these problems by posting under my own name, writing only the kinds of things that I, my family, friends, coworkers, and investors can be proud of, thinking carefully about what I've written before I click the "Publish" button, and then embracing whatever controversy may arise... because I know there's just no such thing as an influential and controversy-free blog.