It funny how the world works sometimes. Yesterday, I listened to a Radio National segment on the program Background Briefing talking about the practice of Astroturfing - creating a fake "grass roots" movement. Nowdays this is being done via fake twitter and forum accounts. Worth a listen:
Then today, I see my first example of such thing. One of my friends re-tweeted:
RT @jarradgrigg: Hey everybody, those Facebook changes rolling out this week? You aint seen nothing yet.. Big changes tomorrow. http://bit.ly/qaUFww #fb
So I read the article, thought it was a bit fanboy-ish and so looked to see who this Broadfield Media group was. And I noticed something strange - all of the articles on the site (about 50) are published on the 21st of September, with none published before that date. That's an awfully productive day! But after the first 10 articles, they are all one liners. So this looks to me like a swiftly put together site, purely for the purpose of promoting Facebook.
So, I has a quick look at the registration info:
Domains by Proxy, Inc.
15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
Strange for a media marketing company to be registering domains via a proxy! I smell a rat!
Interesting that the twitter account listed on the site, @broadfieldmedia, has no tweets, but has two mentions. And this first mention, on the 17th of September is from @McDougallSocial (McDougall Interactive):
@broadfieldmedia #Boston #Marketing #Seo goo.gl/LUxPN?=mtm5 Our company is #hiring a web developer. Do you know of anyone reliable?
Funny that they just happened across the @broadfieldmedia account (who had never tweeted) and decided to ask. Also interesting is that @McDougallSocial describe themselves as "Fun, upbeat and results driven Internet and Social Media Marketing Agency in Danvers, MA. Got a challenge? Bring it on! We are here to assist you!". Coincidence?
Well if you consider one of the tweets from @McDougallSocial:
Poker Site Fires Back Over 'Ponzi Scheme' Charge: Prosecutors are throwing the book at Full Tilt Poker. A lawye... http://nyti.ms/rrnDnM
And this article from the Broadfield Media website:
Poker Site Fires Back Over ‘Ponzi Scheme’ Charge
Prosecutors are throwing the book at Full Tilt Poker. A lawyer for the embattled online poker company is throwing a book back: the dictionary.
You'd have to think that McDougall Interactive is responsible for this fake promotion. The questions is whether it was Facebook who paid them. If not, who? Why?