Did CNN spam bloggers?

Nick Lewis has put together a (fairly) exhaustive piece of research regarding some purported blog spamming done by CNN. Nick’s work is interesting, to say the least. Frankly, the premise of the suspicion, and the way it was done, make a heck of a lot of sense.

What Nick claims is that CNN (or some agents) were running searches for blog entries that were critical of CNN. Then, CNN would place agreeable comments on the blogs, followed up with a short programming pitch. Some of the posts went further – they were topped off with unrelated keywords.

Don’t take this as a manual on how to spam a blog, but here’s why the method makes sense:

If I wanted to spam a blog, the last thing I would do is put an obvious disagreeable or garbled message in. Instead, I would post a comment that generally agreed with the blogger, and right up front. Then, I would embed my intentions, including links, near the end. The blogger sees the first couple of sentences in preview, and chances are good they approve the comment without reading further. The link, and the potentially deadly keywords, slip through.

What still has me on the fence, however is the sheer volume of information that is provided – I am always suspicious of anything that can’t be explained, in writing, on the back of a business card. Also, I simply don’t have the time to validate everything Nick has said here, as it obviously took enormous time and effort. Then again, maybe I am just a simpleton.

You read, then decide, then let me know the verdict.


I was just made aware of the fact that The MT-Blacklist Comment Spam Clearinghouse site might actually have been the victim of a joe-job, as this post from K-squared points out.

A joe job is a spam with sender info forged to look like it came from some popular source. The recipient blames the fake sender, and the scapegoat is blacklisted by the ISP. In this case, the jobber was likely trying to get MT-Blacklist added to the blacklist by the same name.

In the CNN case, however, could we be looking at a new concept here for blog spam, whereby the joe job doesn’t actually include the sender information, but is sculpted to press the reader’s curiosity as to source?

Again, you decide.


Reaction to the CNN Guerrilla Spam Allegations

were extremely skeptical of my claim that CNN was engaging in blog driven Guerrilla marketing, “What, besides pure speculation, links
this to CNN or Time Warner?"

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