In previous posts, I attempted to discuss how the Web and communications technology have become pervasive in our lives and of the need to set human boundaries for their use. See The Web Is Too Much With Us? and Petaluma’s Brave New Google World?
A recent experience taught me that while the Web may be relatively new, it is also a medium for one of the oldest scams in the world…fans for hire–Claques.
First, A Little “Techno” Background…
WordPress has an extremely effective (not to mention well-regarded) spam program to protect bloggers from having to deal with rogue or spam comments. In my case, an average of 775 spam comments/month.
The Akismet program does sort out a few for review by the blogger to determine whether they are valid comments.
When I opened up my WordPress a few days ago, I noticed that Akismet set aside three comments for my consideration. I also noted they were all from a site offering a prepaid computer generated comment service…
“We gather 1000 blog posts and submit 1000 general comments to all of them. Usually the acceptance ratio is 20-30% so a total of 200-300 backlinks.”
“This is an automated process and we can therefore not guarantee a certain amount of blog comments but our experience tells us that app. 20%-30% goes through.
This will give you a boost in traffic and rankings. We use more than 100 premade comments that are all very general and will fit into all blog posts.
We also run our software through proxies. This is a perfect booster for a new started website or a great way to gain lots of links to your established sites quick and cheap.
Please make sure you are not banned by the Akismet wordpress spam filter otherwise very few comments will go through.”
SAMPLE COMPUTER GENERATED COMMENT–”omg a number of the feedback most people make are such stoner remarks, now and again i question whether they honestly read the content pieces and reports before posting or if perhaps they basically skim the titles and publish the first thing that comes to mind. anyway, it’s pleasant to read through clever commentary now and then compared to the exact same, outdated post vomit which i usually notice on the internet.”
Claques For Bloggers…Blogging For Claques…
Hiring favorable audiences or claques is an ancient tradition. It is a well known practice in many opera houses to this day. In fact, claques may be hired to boo as well as to applaud a particular performer. Not unlike current American politics, now that I think about it.
I suppose somewhere out there in Cyberspace, there is a program that also writes generic blogs to be matched up with computer generated page hits and comments. In theory, a blogger could sign up for both services, solicit advertisers and voila!–an instant money machine without any human involvement. (Warning! Don’t give up your day job!)
A Tweet from Ogden Nash…
I asked Mr. Wordsworth to provide a few lines of poetry to close this epistle, given his donated wisdom to my earlier posts. Unfortunately, his computer was on the fritz and his mobile device had lost its charge.
I close instead with a 21 Century Tweet from Ogden Nash…
When surfing the Web, don’t you be Bait
When surfing the Web, Discriminate
Be aware of the Claques
Beware the Quacks
Dance with Sycophants
Don’t let the Cons
Put you On