From The CMO Site: Social Media Marketing House of Fail
…the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, one of the 10 most polluted cities in that nation, announced a contract worth $10,700 for some SEO expert — hat color not specified — to “optimize” queries to the Yandex and Google search engines using 15 search phrases, including “ecology of the Urals,” “radiation in Chelyabinsk,” and “dirtiest city in Russia.” The result must be predominantly positive or neutral links for the first 150 results from those search engines, with only 20 percent allowed that display a negative tone. How much actual cleanup would $10,700 accomplish, if directed to that end? This campaign can only be seen as fostering the opposite of trust.
Folks like that, the “SEO” merchants and their employers, are why we have a spam-word filter list here hundreds of lines long that sometimes snatches up the innocent into its gnome-ensorcelled hands.
Here’s how I expect they’ll work. They’ll find 200 or so predominantly positive-or-neutral web pages about Chelyabinsk (or write ‘em themselves if there aren’t that many). Then for each of those phrases, for “ecology of the Urals,” “radiation in Chelyabinsk,” and “dirtiest city in Russia,” they’ll post comments in blogs all over the web. The comments won’t have anything to do with Chelyabinsk (which many consider the dirtiest city in Russia, and that means it’s pretty darned dirty). Rather, the poster’s name will be “Ecology of the Urals” (just like a common Making Light poster name is “Cheap Viagra” or “Designer Handbags”), with a comment text that reads:
This design is incredible! You certainly know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!or
well let me be brutally honest with you,i didnt like your writing style, but i got what i came searching here for,so thanks for this post,though you can improve your writing style by a bit.or
is your website supported on safari browser.because i tried using it through safari but the sidebar goes out of the page.
Without active, human, moderation, that sort of thing overwhelms the Web. You can find blogs out there with open comment threads a thousand posts deep, where every single post is spam. As Miss Teresa noted: “I’m starting to regard unmaintained comment areas as the online equivalent of letting old automobile tires lie around in your back yard, collecting stagnant water where mosquitoes breed.”
Strong moderation! Human moderation! As my friend MacAllister Stone notes over on G+, what machine-rules-based pseudo-moderation breeds is a generation of folks who are adept at gaming the system, “people who’ve essentially been rewarded for learning to circumvent and exploit the requirements for participation — and they’re often angry and a little abusive when confronted by a human moderator….”
(Say, do you write poetry?)