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#1 2006-06-11 22:24:57

dreamosis
Bard
Registered: 2005-03-07

Paid Trolls

Paid trolls is a subject we've thrown around in the abstract, but here is a link to a company that openly recruits people to monitor and make posts in blogs:

http://www.netvocates.com/index.html

From their homepage:

Netvocates wrote:

NetVocates provides its clients with expertise in blog monitoring and advocacy. Our trained staff of experts utilizes a unique combination of proprietary technology and human analysis to deliver a focused stream of timely, actionable intelligence to our clients. And a nationwide field force of active bloggers advance clients’ objectives and achieve measurable results.

...NetVocates then recruits activists and consumers who share the client’s views in order to reinforce those key messages on targeted blogs – and rebut misinformation when appropriate.

I caught wind of this via Deconsumption. (http://deconsumption.typepad.com/deconsumption/)

And: http://www.cybersoc.com/2006/05/behind_netvocat.html

It appears, for the most part, that the service hires themselves out to corporations.  But I would bet that Netvocates "activists" (read: hired trolls) post on sites that are non-commercial, too. 

Under the job opportunities section:

Netvocates wrote:

Experience with current affairs, public relations, marketing and/or politics. Required Education: 4 year college degree

Last edited by dreamosis (2006-06-11 22:26:39)


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#2 2006-06-11 22:44:20

Pinkrlyq
Voluntary Human
From: IL
Registered: 2006-05-25

Re: Paid Trolls

That's insane!  Their sub-heading "Blog Intelligence and Advocacy Service (BIAS)"...the anagram says it all. roll


"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it." ~ Mark Twain

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#3 2006-06-11 23:04:35

lyra
Naked Emperor Pointer Outer
From: my own private idaho
Registered: 2004-03-25
Website

Re: Paid Trolls

Pinkrlyq wrote:

That's insane!  Their sub-heading "Blog Intelligence and Advocacy Service (BIAS)"...the anagram says it all. roll

I think you mean "acronym", not anagram.  wink

Paid trolls isn't surprising, I've seen some crazy ass stuff on some message boards.  So crazy that my only conclusion was that it had to be knowingly deliberate on the part of the "people" who were derailing things and denying certain conspiracies and aspects of reality.


"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "Holy shit ... what a ride!"  - Anonymous
-----
"I get by with a little help from my (higher density) friends."
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#4 2006-06-11 23:44:14

Pinkrlyq
Voluntary Human
From: IL
Registered: 2006-05-25

Re: Paid Trolls

lyra wrote:

Pinkrlyq wrote:

That's insane!  Their sub-heading "Blog Intelligence and Advocacy Service (BIAS)"...the anagram says it all. roll

I think you mean "acronym", not anagram.  wink

doh!! [insert crimson face]  Yeah, I did, Lyra.  Thanks smile  Seems the ol' neurons are misfiring again! lol


"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it." ~ Mark Twain

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#5 2006-06-12 00:25:17

dreamosis
Bard
Registered: 2005-03-07

Re: Paid Trolls

lyra wrote:

Paid trolls isn't surprising...

No, it isn't really.  But it might be helpful, in the case of a future troll attack, to check out whether they clicked over from a site like Netvocates--or whether traffic is coming from services like that.

There are plenty of ways to deal with trolls, and one the best ways is not getting worked up, but if I knew for certain that a troll had come from one of these sites I'd call them out.


You can't change a tiger's stripes,
but you can avoid its teeth.

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#6 2006-06-12 00:42:44

lyra
Naked Emperor Pointer Outer
From: my own private idaho
Registered: 2004-03-25
Website

Re: Paid Trolls

dreamosis wrote:

lyra wrote:

Paid trolls isn't surprising...

No, it isn't really.  But it might be helpful, in the case of a future troll attack....

What I'm getting is that you took that as a criticism, like, "Why are you bothering to post this, it's not surprising..." then explaining/defending why you posted it.  My comment wasn't meant that way at all.

That's why message boards can be a bad form of communication....

Personally, I think this is a handy thing to know, and am glad you posted it.  There are a  lot of people who post on message boards who aren't aware of just how deep the hole goes in terms of people who like to derail threads.  They feel, "Oh, it's just a regular person who wants attention.  Don't feed the trolls!" but it's sometimes much worse than that.   Little do they know.


"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "Holy shit ... what a ride!"  - Anonymous
-----
"I get by with a little help from my (higher density) friends."
-----

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#7 2006-06-12 01:43:11

dreamosis
Bard
Registered: 2005-03-07

Re: Paid Trolls

lyra wrote:

My comment wasn't meant that way at all.

Thanks for clarifying.  Yeah, I did misread you.  It's been a while since I posted here.  Thank you. big_smile

**

It's interesting that Netvocates doesn't list their clientele.  Usually PR companies display their corporate clients rather boldly.  But, I guess, this is a more sensitive type of service.  They don't advertise for companies by shooting TV commercials, they do it "door-to-door" at internet sites--and surreptiously, too.  At least I'm assuming that Netvocates employees don't announce themselves like: "Hi, everybody, I'm an independently contracted PR representative for WalMart...Now you guys've got your facts wrong..."

Last edited by dreamosis (2006-06-12 01:51:25)


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#8 2006-06-12 02:26:48

lyra
Naked Emperor Pointer Outer
From: my own private idaho
Registered: 2004-03-25
Website

Re: Paid Trolls

dreamosis wrote:

lyra wrote:

My comment wasn't meant that way at all.

Thanks for clarifying.  Yeah, I did misread you.  It's been a while since I posted here.  Thank you. big_smile

That's it???  Oh come on.  Let's have a flame war.  It's a full moon period!  Bring it on!!!! 

big_smile  j/k


"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "Holy shit ... what a ride!"  - Anonymous
-----
"I get by with a little help from my (higher density) friends."
-----

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#9 2006-06-12 02:56:36

dreamosis
Bard
Registered: 2005-03-07

Re: Paid Trolls

lyra wrote:

Bring it on!!!! 
big_smile  j/k

Okay, uh, ummm, [Valley Girl accent] what's up with your alias anyway?  "Lyra?"  You think you're, like, a star or something? smile

**

[In my normal voice] What I think about, when I think about paid trolls, isn't that there are genuinely zealous people out there in the employ of nefarious organizations.  What I think about is the sicker possibility that there are people soullessly and robotically defending a company or a political ideology just because it's their job.

There are probably college grads--poli-sci majors or business marketing majors--who can't find any work so they become an internet troll for Sony or for some Chrisitian organization lobbying against contraception.

Learning this also makes me aware that advertising isn't confined to electronic or paper media or even T-shirts.  I've of course heard of "word-of-mouth" advertising, but this goes a step beyond WOM.  It's covert WOM. 

Geez, we must live in Hell.  I mean, it's too funny: people acting like ordinary people who are actually being paid to be and do and say certain things!  (Or, at least, things that jive with the pre-decided-upon image of a group).   

Weird, weird, weird.


You can't change a tiger's stripes,
but you can avoid its teeth.

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#10 2006-06-12 15:15:12

lyra
Naked Emperor Pointer Outer
From: my own private idaho
Registered: 2004-03-25
Website

Re: Paid Trolls

dreamosis wrote:

There are probably college grads--poli-sci majors or business marketing majors--who can't find any work so they become an internet troll for Sony or for some Chrisitian organization lobbying against contraception.

Geez, we must live in Hell.....

naa...THEY live in hell, not us.  wink  Anybody who does that for a living...they're in their own self created, self imposed hell.  They could choose to do other things...but they don't.  Any crappy job is self imposed, self created hell though.   We all have the ability to change the way our life is going.  But I digress!  big_smile

It would be nice though if more people were aware that this is happening.  Think of how many good message board threads (or blogs that have back and forth comment posting) are derailed every day because of either conscious or unconscious, paid or unpaid, zealot trolls.  People fall for it, all the time, getting all riled up, responding back and forth with these people/computer programs wink in these energy draining flame war debates, thinking they stand a chance at actually "winning" or something, and/or converting these troll zealots to their point of view.  You can't win against these people.  They need to just be removed/banned, period, and that's the part that lies in the hands of the moderator(s).  If the mods are aware, then great, the integrity of the forum/blog can be preserved.  If not....then another forum bites the dust, unfortunately, which does happen.  A lot!

Last edited by lyra (2006-06-12 15:16:04)


"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "Holy shit ... what a ride!"  - Anonymous
-----
"I get by with a little help from my (higher density) friends."
-----

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#11 2006-06-13 01:11:52

sinaptix
Member
Registered: 2005-07-09

Re: Paid Trolls

there's another term you should be familiar with: astroturfing

There are paid people who will start blogs, comment on blogs or become members of message forums. Their job is to blend in, assume personalities, post regularly, and gain trust. Then they start inserting their BIAS and promoting the products, companies, and agendas that they are paid to do. I don't know how widespread it is. But I do believe there is a lot of this going on. There's a lot of subversive marketing happening trying to disguise itself as genuine word-of-mouth grassroots promotion.

Last edited by sinaptix (2006-06-13 01:14:35)

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#12 2006-06-13 01:51:54

montalk
forum-keeper-upper
Registered: 2004-03-25
Website

Re: Paid Trolls

This suggests there may be legions of trolls paid by government intelligence agencies to perform psyops functions, cointelpro-style. Corporations take after government agencies, government agencies take after alien-hyperdimensional factions. Trolls all around, whether paid by corporations to sell products, employed by the secret government to disrupt opposition, or operated by the matrix to sell disinformation...


Acquiring fringe knowledge is like digging for diamonds in a mine field.

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#13 2006-06-13 02:36:42

Lono
Walker of worlds
From: Oklahoma, USA
Registered: 2006-05-03

Re: Paid Trolls

Sinaptix, your post answers a question I've had for a while.  On another site I post to that's geared toward booksellers, I had posted for quite a while and was at the same time researching a few software applications designed for out type of business (I sell books on the side).  I found a few products that really worked well and I was excited about, so I posted on the third-party board, where people are supposed to discuss things like that.  I was waylayed by people accusing me of being a sock-puppet and working for the respective companies.  It really freaked me out, because I wondered what rock these people had crawled out from under to be so paranoid, especially since I'd been posting for about a year.

Now I understand why--- they must have seen this astro-turfing thing before.  Unfortunately for me, I was just honestly being exhuberant about an inventory managment program I'd discovered.  sad   It hit home a bit, though, because my "day job" is an advertising copywriter, and so I was afraid some of that had come through.

The feeling was a bit like the time I was stopped for shoplifting at WalMart when I was 13.  They found nothing because I hadn't stolen anything, but it was many years before I could shop without feeling like a suspicous person.

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#14 2006-06-14 03:38:06

Magical_Mongoose
Dreaming Cyber-Hippy
From: A place forgotten
Registered: 2006-05-16
Website

Re: Paid Trolls

This is a paid public warning from your local Higher Power source.
Someone...HERE, could be a troll. It could be you, or you, or even the lizard-guy over in the corner over there. Sometimes it's blatently obvious; other times, it's done in the shadows, or even in some cases, unknowingly done, as if they're being manipulated by the very forces of Satan himself. Some people may call these people possessed. Others, bored. Or maybe it's the only way they can make a living without dancing on the streetcorner for quarters. But what all trolls share in common is their common goal of disrupting blogs across the virtual-Globe, bringing doubt and judgment upon the unsuspecting masses as we unwitingly share our deepest and close-held thoughts and opinions with the eyes and "minds" of the corporate-fascist-powers-that-be. We must stand vigilant agaisn't such entities, for if we do not, we may unknowingly allow them to not only manipulate our thoughts and beliefs, but to control and dominate our very lives.
We may resume normal broadcasting.


"Don't eat any wooden nickels."

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#15 2006-06-14 05:55:33

Ascension
Member
Registered: 2004-09-10

Re: Paid Trolls

Love your sense of humour Magical_Mongoose...it came over loud and clear! big_smile

...and may I ad, well said!


Knowledge Protects

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