Astroturfing: fake grass?

February 20, 2008

What is Astroturfing?

In American politics and advertising, the term astroturfing describes formal public relations projects which deliberately seek to engineer the impression of spontaneous, grassroots behavior (Wikipedia)

Anti-Astroturfing Code of Ethics

The New PR – AntiAstroturfing

  • I will not fabricate a public concern by paying or coercing individuals to falsely act as concerned citizens.

  • When supporting grassroots efforts, I will ensure that I am transparent in all my actions and clearly and publicly state what actions I am taking and which organization or client I represent.

  • I will never knowingly distort of falsify information to help my client/interest achieve a strategic/emotional advantage in a public debate.

  • I will encourage all grassroots supporters to be open and honest in all of their communications, just as I will be open and honest in mine.

How You Can Make A Difference!

  • Join the conversation – write against astroturfing on your blog or comment on the blog posts listed on this site

  • Declare you and / your agency astroturf free

  • Expose possible examples of astroturfing

  • Link to anti-astroturfing websites and add your name to the list of supporters

  • Call on your politicians to take tougher legislative action against astroturfing

  • Call on your industry / professional association to speak out against astroturfing

  • Encourage friends and colleagues to get involved

Next: Flogs!

Linkbaiting: Let’s Go Fishing!

February 20, 2008

What is linkbaiting?

Linkbaiting refers to a variety of practices on the web that is created with the intention of increasing links to a website.


Types of “Hooks”

  • Informational
  • News
  • Humor
  • Contrary
  • Giveaway

Linkbaiting – The Ethical Debate
The Bad Side:

Negative connotations: of the word “bait”

Related tags for “link bait” on Technorati search: email, spam, phishing, internet, seo, web traffic, link baiting, Steve Rubel


The Other Side:

About gaining reputation, finding your niche, writing useful and creative content

Helps to sift out the good content from the bad


Part and parcel of successful blogging!

At the end of the day…

It all depends on:

  • Content
  • Intention
  • Method

“Playing games with people trying to put something sexy out there, and when you get to the site you have to keep clicking through. This is all done solely to drive up traffic via clickthroughs.
“Annoying is probably more of the word to use here, rather than bad, because it is not very respectful to the readers.”

-Michael Netzley

Next: Scraping



February 20, 2008

Fake blogs (also affectionately known as Flogs)

What constitutes a fake blog?

Flogs are set up to inspire viral marketing, create internet hype and generate interest in a certain product, it pretends to be spontaneously written by an individual or a group when it is actually a carefully crafted piece of advertising.

Notable Flogs

Walmarting Across America

All I want for Xmas is a PSP

Next: Fishing


But Wait, Isn’t Commenting Inseparable From Blogs?

February 20, 2008

Keep in mind that when your comments are an extension of yourself, ie an extension of your personal brand!

1) Ask Or Say Something Intelligent – True comment “I dont no what you think you is saying here, but I dont think you dont think to good on this here subject. I dont think this through”

2) Add To The Conversation – thoughts, feelings, give, share, exchange.

Five Things Not To Say:

1) Great Post.

2) You Suck. (It’s immature!)

3) You’re Awesome. (Butt-kissing won’t get someone to click on your link)

4) This Sucks. (See #2)

5) I’m Awesome. (Shameless self-promotion. When possible, use a trackback)

What about anonymous comments?

Someone may wish to remain anonymous because they fear consequences for revealing critical information about a person or company. There should be a place for such people to leave anonymous comments.

Conversation 2: Commenting Rhymes

Final word rhyme on commenting?

If you need a little rhyme to remember the commenting policy, commit this to memory:

iCiNG is a positive place
We treat others with respect & grace
If I act like a stinker, then I understand
That my fine ass will be kicked & banned!


Scraping: Mud & Shoes?

February 20, 2008

What is scraping?

Scraping” essentially stands for copying, or in the case of copyrighted material, stealing content off a blog that is not owned by the individual initiating the scraping process. The scraped content is often used on Spam blogs or splogs. – source

Eg 1:Scraping Eg 1

Eg 2:Scraping Eg 2

How do you tell if you’ve been scraped?

Got scrape?

Got Scrape?

Why is scraping bad?

1) Theft of intellectual property

2) Someone else is profiting from your effort

3) Your competitors may end up stealing your business!

Pop Quiz: Is Google scraping?

Next: Commenting


10 blogging norms and rules of conduct

February 20, 2008

Conversation 1: Blogging Ethics

1. Make yourself accountable for information you post online; and be the first to respond to your mistakes.

2. Do not use fake headlines and keep to the subject matter.

3. Respect your audience; do no harm.

4. Be as transparent as possible.

disclosure.jpg about-mike.jpg

5. Promote equality for all readers.

6. Know your bloggers – Reciprocity.

7. Do not engage in spam comment-ings.

8. Promote interactivity by posting regularly.

9. Allow for comments.

10. Keeping your conversations naked.

Next: Fake Grass


What is a blog, exactly?

February 20, 2008

– A type of website that is arranged in reverse chronological order.

– An online diary where people can post messages, and others may view and repond to the posts.

– Typically written by one person and updated regularly.

– Often written on a particular topic.

We define a blog as:

A tool individuals can use to share their insights, express their opinions and communicate within the context of a globally distributed conversation.

Differences between a blog and a website:

– Blogs are dynamic; websites tend to be static.

– Websites are usually a one-way broadcast medium; blogs are two-way communication.

Next: 10 Commandments