Social Networking Sites Targeted by Marketers
CNET reports that the major Web 2.0 sites, launched as social utopias for geeks, are being targeted by “dubious Internet marketers” who are “are planting stories, paying people to promote items, and otherwise trying to manipulate rankings on Digg and other so-called social-media sites like Reddit and Delicious to drum up more links to their Web sites and thus more business.”
Goodness, well before most people knew what a “blog” was, these people were spamming comments sections and trackbacks to build higher pageranks for their sites, a plague with which we’re still trying to cope. There are still days when I get thousands of spam comments; thankfully, most of them are caught by my filters. Ironically, many bloggers (myself included) are now trying to exploit Digg and similar sites to drive traffic back to our sites (although I have not used unscrupulous means of doing so).
It’s noteworthy, too, that most of those sites are already essentially controlled by cabals of users with nothing else to do who band together and promote the links they wish and ensure that unfavored sites get immediately pounced upon with down votes.
The bottom line is that people and businesses are always going to figure out ways to exploit new technologies to their advantage. Some will be more honorable than others.