Guerilla marketing: paid forum infiltators

Shamelessly grabbed from www.penny-arcade.com:

We received the following from a young man who we will call "Mr. Smith."

Hey guys,

I interviewed for a guerilla marketing business in San Francisco that targeted web forums.

I was told that if I accepted the job, I was to have at LEAST 50 identities on as many forums as I could muster (they wanted 100 eventually), with a goal of 5 posts an hour. The posts had to be well thought out, and the idea was that I was to establish multiple identities with a history on the forums, so that when the timing was right a well written but subtly placed marketing post could be finessed in. And regular visitors would recognize the post as coming from a long time poster.

They had 12 people working there full time, and were hiring 10 more. You do the math. No wait, I'll do it for you: that's 880 posts a day (if minimum was met). However he said the better ones could do around 8 or 10 an hour. And they had different "verticals" so there was the sports guy, and the games guy, the hentai, excuse me I mean anime guy, etc.

But the most critical point was this: develop and integrate the identity. No random "HEY EB GAMES IS AWESOME BUY THIS" stuff.

Kinda spooky.

Didn't take the job. It was a f*cking mill.

Now that is crazy. Everyone knows about the marketing by spam approach. This is much more insidious, and...ummm...really unethical?

Ohh, I know! Let's have a witchhunt, and pick out members we think are plants Good times shall be had by all!

I've been wondering about this, actually. I know I'm paranoid by nature, but I seem to recall a few posts here and there on this site from interns or executives that seemed ... off. I'm sure we have some of these guys here. The question would then be what to do about it.

Feeling paranoid? I can give you a link to online medz. I use them all the time. I hear there's also a great deal on the pen1s enlargement pills. Lowest prices on pharmaceuticals, guaranteed!

I love videogames! And jobs!

I think Certis is, like, the Employee of the Year for this company. Elysium works for a second one, and they battle for control of our minds, nay, our very souls.

Lobo, on the other hand, works for yet a third company, which is very confused when it comes to business matters, and urges us all to play free, hippy games.

DrunkenSleipnir wrote:

Ohh, I know! Let's have a witchhunt, and pick out members we think are plants Good times shall be had by all!

Silence, Cylon.

I promise I am not one.

[size=8]Go play Warcraft now[/size]

Oh please, you can pick out the corporate shill from normal opinions on any board. Heck I saw one today on the game section on this site!

Oh, and I am a corporate shill for television who's whole ploy is to be completely negative and sarcastic about games so that it drives you away from them.

C'mon. How much money can you get for posting on a forum all day? (if it's more than I make now, let me just say that I welcome our new overlords and I'd like to point out that I've already established several credible identities at high-traffic sites around the web).

Fletcher wrote:

I've been wondering about this, actually. I know I'm paranoid by nature, but I seem to recall a few posts here and there on this site from interns or executives that seemed ... off. I'm sure we have some of these guys here. The question would then be what to do about it.

.

I'll bring the tar, you bring the feathers, and Pyro will bring the pain.

I was thinking more along the lines of something I could accomplish from home. Preferably involving a minimum of work and a maximum of snarkiness.

I've been thinking about something like this forEVER. UnQUESTionably, it was just a matter of time before the telemarketers would PREY on the forum population. Such a person must be merely a sHELL of a man. They mitiGATE this sort of activity without concern for the gaming community in general. By the way, has anyone traveled to LONDON lately ? I hear it's completely average this time of year.

Fletcher wrote:

I was thinking more along the lines of something I could accomplish from home. Preferably involving a minimum of work and a maximum of snarkiness.

#1. Find out where he works.
#2. Fill out those subscription cards that you find in the middle of porn magazines. Not just Playboy the ones that are behind the counter at the convenience store.
#3. Get him a new job.

That seems exhausting. Fifty separate identities, just to start? This one is the only forum handle I have, and even this is tiring sometimes.

I wonder if they have flame wars between their various accounts? That's what I'd do.

Perhaps some sort of "death clock"...

*eyes her fellow forum members suspiciously* Where, oh where, is Senator McCarthy when you need him?

Certis wrote:

I wonder if they have flame wars between their various accounts? That's what I'd do.

Oh sure, like you'd be clever enough to pull that off.

Sitrec wrote:
Certis wrote:

I wonder if they have flame wars between their various accounts? That's what I'd do.

Oh sure, like you'd be clever enough to pull that off.

Fight! Fight! Fight!

DrunkenSleipnir wrote:

Ohh, I know! Let's have a witchhunt, and pick out members we think are plants Good times shall be had by all!

Will alcohol be served before the witchhunt begins? It always seems to help me in identifying the witches.

Also, will we be shouting "burn the witch" throughout the witchhunt? Wont be a proper witchhunt without it.

Sitrec wrote:
Certis wrote:

I wonder if they have flame wars between their various accounts? That's what I'd do.

Oh sure, like you'd be clever enough to pull that off.

Hey man, don't be so [b]negative[/b].

It was bound to happen. I always wondered when the second generation of forum marketers would enter the scene. The first one was...just funny. Phantom guy, anyone? (Oh, sh*t, I`ll have summoned him, Infinum got the dough recently and he`s most certainly been contracted again).
Must be exhausting job, though. If I wanted to sell my soul and body, I`d better put up with work in dark alleys and constant pain in the arse.

shihonage wrote:

I've been thinking about something like this forEVER. UnQUESTionably, it was just a matter of time before the telemarketers would PREY on the forum population. Such a person must be merely a sHELL of a man. They mitiGATE this sort of activity without concern for the gaming community in general. By the way, has anyone traveled to LONDON lately ? I hear it's completely average this time of year.

Also, Sitrec's avatar is a classic.

Damn, I guess I better start being more cynical and mean spirited. If I don't, my "look for the bright side" attitude is going to get me singled out as a marketing plant.

Or maybe I should be investigating a new line of work.

Seriously, though, as disgusting as this is, it doesn't surprise me in the least. As I'm sure anyone who has worked in any aspect of product development knows, marketing people will stoop to all kinds of lows that a normal person would probably not think possible in order to push their product.

Anyone wanna buy EA Sports Lawn Bowling 2008 its great! No? How bout a Robert Jordan novel? Come on people, work with me here, how bout a ferret?

Sitrec wrote:
Certis wrote:

I wonder if they have flame wars between their various accounts? That's what I'd do.

Oh sure, like you'd be clever enough to pull that off.

I don't know who this handsome man is, but he's clearly an idiot and should be disregarded.

None of you are fooling me. I'm on to you. ALL of you.

Okay, I admit it. Me and mumford and VicD714 and shihonage are all the same person.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Okay, I admit it. Me and mumford and VicD714 and shihonage are all the same person.

Yes. Also, we live in a small village in Africa, amongst thousands of AIDS-infected children. Thats because we slept with all of them.

Am I the only one disappointed that Sitrec's tag isn't Anti-CEO or Evil CEO or something?

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Okay, I admit it. Me and mumford and VicD714 and shihonage are all the same person.

What a mindjob, people! In fact its Quintin, Morrolan and LeapingGnome that are the same people, but he decided to sacrifice his Quintin identity in order to shift attention to my iden... that is.. innocent forum members! They teach such cunning in Forum Infiltration and Camouflage training courses. Not that I know what they teach there... I mean.. I have a friend who has a friend...

Quintin, boss saw that you were not in you cubicle whole morning...muwahahaha.