So, who's getting paid to write here?
July 5, 2006 2:58 PM   Subscribe

"NetVocates then recruits activists and consumers who share the client’s views in order to reinforce those key messages on targeted blogs – and rebut misinformation when appropriate." The offending company, and some other blogs making noise about it.via sonofsamiam
posted by signal (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Does anybody know anything about the firm running

The domain is registered at:

c/o Net Rank
Suite 1c, Western Way,

And they keep accessing a page on my blog where I have criticized NatWest Bank, in the UK. I suspect they are some kind of PR firm, but it's hard to get any information out of them.
posted by sindark at 3:03 PM on July 5, 2006

Helpfully, going to just yields the message: "This Is Not Here."

It especially annoys me that they are using a URL taken from Douglas Adams for what I suspect are dodgy purposes.
posted by sindark at 3:04 PM on July 5, 2006

Ha ha ha, "bias".
posted by shownomercy at 3:07 PM on July 5, 2006

Ask yourself...

Has the internets been hijacked?

Read this and think about it:

'Netwar'[flooding the channel] (pdf)

The modern incarnation of CoIntelPro activities within the perfect anonymity of Blogs ? 'Net CoIntelPro, where agents would be assigned multiple topics/blogs to track and monitor and 'engage/influence/disrupt/misinform' with a series of defined almost schizophrenic, yet relatively consistent, individual 'persona's', no small task though ... shades of 'Rendon'. ?
posted by Unregistered User at 3:23 PM on July 5, 2006

Marketing = RoundUp
(i.e. it kills everything it touches)
posted by Thorzdad at 4:53 PM on July 5, 2006

But... but.... this takes everything pure and good about old fashioned indie Street Teaming and makes it look sinister and wrong!
posted by Artw at 5:01 PM on July 5, 2006

Hmm, googling that address brings up this page at - maybe sindark found something out ...
posted by swell at 8:51 PM on July 5, 2006

It's disturbing that astroturfing exists but as a tactic it's doomed to fail. You can't counter reasoned argument by intelligent people passionate about their opinions engaging in conversations with a well-connected community of likeminded folks with cookie-cutter comments made by low-rent drones airdropped in by spindoctor puppetmasters, it just doesn't work that way.

We went through this on Usenet in several incarnations, from Serdar Argic's antics on behalf of Turkish denial of the Armenian holocaust to Scientology's ridiculous, ever-evolving onslaught against alt.religion.scientology. In an open, unrestricted forum there's no substitute for real people with real opinions.
posted by scalefree at 10:48 PM on July 5, 2006

Shorter version: what they're doing amounts to nothing more than noise & noise will never beat signal.
posted by scalefree at 10:55 PM on July 5, 2006


That's the page the vroomfondel people seem to have a look at every week or so. I very intentionally did not link to it here.

I suspect they are just monitoring what people are saying about NatWest, and possibly about other firms. Has anyone else seen them in their server logs?
posted by sindark at 3:48 AM on July 6, 2006

I was working on a post on this regarding sockpuppets. It makes sense, especially in the political world when you see someone trotting out lingo and buzz phrases that are way out of wack. I agree that it's always going to happen. The question is, how do we design systems and communities that account for it?

One solution might be to have definitive identification systems - your opinion is worth more when "you" are "you" (sort of how Google supposedly ranks sites with longer-term and public DNS registries higher than anonymous sites).

You can make it harder for people to comment, require captchas, or email for positive identification. Most people already do this, don't they?

You could also use "karma" type systems like some bulletin boards use, but you would have to use it webwide for it to have any usefullness, no? Or maybe use co.mments?

The last thing that I think is useful is dealing with IP addresses and referrers. I think IPs should be logged and viewable across all blogs for commenters as well as referrer. for people who aren't positively identified. It's a good deterrent to the spam jackals and sockpuppets-for-hire to know that their IP, browser, and other comments can rapidly be found out.
posted by rzklkng at 5:18 AM on July 6, 2006

This is a silly question, but I've seen the term "sock puppet" used several places and I don't quite have a handle on what it is - someone impersonating someone else, or just various aliases of the same person?
posted by canine epigram at 6:22 AM on July 6, 2006

Aliases that are not generally known to be the same person.
posted by sonofsamiam at 6:23 AM on July 6, 2006

rzklkng: what comes next is reputation based identity. The implementation I'm watching is called sxore, part of the sxip identity architecture suite.
posted by scalefree at 9:36 AM on July 6, 2006

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