View Full Version : Flogging, Astroturfing and Comment Spamming
02-12-2009, 06:03 PM
From the Financial Times 12Feb09. Article here (To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.).
Flogging. Fake blogs that can help companies get a personal voice behind a marketing campaign.
Astroturfing. A technique that gets its name form the practice of generating fake grassroots enthusiasm.
Comment Spamming. Flooding the comment field of blogs with enthusiastic notes about a company and/or product.
This is the first I have heard of these terms and practices. Does anyone have any personal experience with or have come across any examples of these (aside from what is listed in the article)?
02-12-2009, 06:19 PM
Fake product testimonials have been around forever. It's one of the early forms of advertising. Now they've hit the web. I don't surf a lot of blog sites so I haven't come across those specifically, but I have seen obviously planted comments raving about products on websites where you purchase items. I've seen spam posted here on the forum doing much the same as the blogs you describe as well. It gets deleted.
02-12-2009, 07:15 PM
This topic is not what I expected it to be. I am sad.
I commonly encounter comment spam on poorly-maintained blogs and forums -- almost like a digital cruft that accumulates in the corners if not swept out. Sometimes it takes the form of a fake-comment "Love your blog so much, this (linky) might be interesting to your readers!". Other times, it's more like link-spam for search engines, such as say 20 links named variants of "Rolex watch", pointed toward some scummy-looking site.
02-14-2009, 04:45 AM
The biggest case I remember was Microsoft offering to pay someone to edit Wikipedia articles about their company/products, but he posted the offer on his blog instead (can't find the link right now -- I think it was a year or two ago). One made it public, but there may still be hundreds who aren't so ethical!
Anyway, I'm sure a lot of companies are patrolling the net, manipulating reviews and flaming the non-believers. It's not a nice thing to do... but it's not really breaking any laws, is it? Perhaps it's false advertising? Anti-trust? Dunno.
02-14-2009, 05:50 AM
Yes, I know someone on FaceBook who is doing that very thing.
02-14-2009, 07:45 AM
Ahhhh, capitalism.. Isn't it a gas? The sad thing is that I'm fully wary of these practices now. I view so much I see with a default layer of cynicism, it's a damned shame.
02-16-2009, 07:16 AM
I remember one distinctly: "All I Want For Christmas is a PSP", it was a "viral" blog set up by a Sony executive in order to attract sales with blatant advertising... This didn't go so well with the majority of the population, as it reeked of a rat; having no meaningful content will never let you attract a blogging following.
It was funny how they admitted it, but not because they wanted to. The website is now down, but it was quite hilarious to see the hate mail that Sony got after it, proving that half-assed tactics like that just don't work (you actually have to provide content and put some thought into what you are doing).
02-16-2009, 11:00 AM
My blogs get comment-spammed regularly. I've had to get some WordPress plug-in's to deal with the comment spamming, even though they inadvertently keep an occasional honest commenter from posting.
Every economic system has its disadvantages, and Marketing (along with the gorilla tactics such as spamming that it entails) is the one big disadvantage of Capitalism.
02-19-2009, 03:55 AM
I've read about similar prectices on a site discussing antagonist tactics against multinational (I don't post the link as it is not in english). The article says that after a first reaction of legal causes against their detractors (brent spear affair for Shell and London Greenpeace against McDonalds) that caused massive damages to the company name they started a new strategy based on:
1)Openness and cooptation: the companies mantain a discussion of their policies on their own site in order to appear interested and humane.
2) Intelligence and control: the companies search for antagonist groups and infiltrate them. They also use the net to evaluate the public opinion.
3) Legal threats, controlled opinion groups, aggressive countercampaigns: the first is the classic reaction, that is often an ultima ratio since it may lead to a PR disaster. The second is to finance and/or create "independent" expert groups or grassroot movements to justify their course of action. The third is the classical dehumanization of the enemy: they create or expand categories like ecoterrorism and make those groups appear as ravaging mad as possible.
On a footnote I would add that the ability of those companies to discriminate the different antagonisms is what makes limitless boycott pointless: when a company understand that you willnever buy their products they simply cast you out of their equations.
vBulletin® v3.8.7, Copyright ©2000-2013, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.