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]