Daily Kos has picked up on the posts (original post / follow-up) I recently made about Netvocates, sending a load of traffic my way and giving me an idea.

I haven’t noticed any suspicious comments on cybersoc.com, but some of the people who have commented here or blogged this elsewhere reckon they’ve been comment spammed by Netvocates “activists and consumers who share the client’s views”. Why don’t those of you who think they’ve been posting in your comments hook up and swap some IP addresses? Normally I’d facilitate this but I just don’t have the time at the moment – maybe Blanton and Ashton, who posted that they’d had “conservative comments in numbers unusual for this little website” would be a good starting point, as would Words, Not Fists (where the man behind netvocates has posted a rebuttal to suggestiongs that netvocates might have stopped by for a visit to his second ever post which just so happened to be about the Al Gore movie). In the time it took me to write the above, I also spotted similar allegations of organised comment spam, possibly originating at netvocates, on feministe.us – and links back to a post on Pandagon discussing strange comment spam.

Of course, we might all just be paranoid, as this comment over on feministe.us suggests – so why don’t those of you who think you’ve had some visits from netvocates or similar firms swap some IP addresses for those commentors. If they match up, we’re maybe on to something.

some related news

I’ve just noticed a link from the excellent deconsumption post about Netvocates pointing to this post by Anonymous Blogger who has a screen shot showing what netvocates saw when their system gleaned his page looking for the words “coke” and “fat tax”, which are clearly highlighted. If Anonymous Blogger has indeed found what he/she thinks they’ve found, then netvocates certainly isn’t very good at hiding their tracks (indeed, leaving a referring URL behind – which is what kicked off my initial investigation – isn’t exactly stealthy) they aren’t likely to have managed to cover their IP address tracks either.

[see my other posts about netvocates]

Cybersoc by Robin Hamman
With over 13 years of professional experience in the digital and social media industry, and a client portfolio that includes some of the World's most recognisable brands and organisations, I've built a reputation internationally as a leading practitioner in the industry.


About Robin Hamman

I've been helping some of the World's most widely recognised brands and organisations devise and implement strategic digital and social media programmes since 1999.

I'm currently the EMEA Digital Network Lead at Fleishman Hillard. I've previously held a variety of roles including Managing Director of Dachis Group Europe, Director of Digital at Edelman, Head of Social Media at Headshift, Acting Editor of the BBC Blogs and Executive Producer at ITV.

In addition to my day job, I help my wife run an online retail business selling wool blankets - if you're feeling chilly, check out JustSheep.co.uk

I hold a BA in Education, MA in Sociology, MPhil in Communication Studies and a PgDip in Law. I've also been a Non-Residential Fellow at Stanford University Law School and a Visiting Fellow of Journalism at City University, London.

Why cybersoc.com? In 1995, I tried to register, for the purposes of researching "ordinary users", the username Cybersociologist on AOL. They truncated my name and I stuck with it....

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