John submitted this bizarre story apparently making its way rapidly around the blogworld suggesting that CNN may have been involved in a viral anti-marketing blog spamming campaign. The idea is that they went looking for blog posts that were critical of CNN (not too hard, I imagine) and posted something that looked to be in agreement, highlighting a specific show, with the idea of making it seem extra controversial. It sounds like they might have gotten away with it (Scooby Doo ending here…) if only they hadn’t also keyword stuffed the post — clearly making it spam. Of course, a lot of what’s in the post exposing this story is still conjecture about the motives of whoever was involved in the process. It’s entirely possible that it wasn’t CNN at all — but either way, the pattern described is somewhat odd. While blog comment spamming has been around for a while, it at least sounds like some less-than-above-board marketers of more legitimate companies are experimenting with the tactic. Given this and the likely growth of tag spam, it certainly suggests that one of the biggest issues when you have a very writable web is going to be dealing with the spam.
We fight comment spam every day. It would be a shame if CNN was using comment spam to improve its ratings and hurt my blog. One of our greatest source of new readers is Google. If CNN is trying to hurt a blogs reputation by what is considered fraudulent means, that is a terrible thing to do.