Saturday, August 27, 2005

Fraugs and the like...

Recently, I posted a blog and suddenly got a spate of comments. Wow! So exciting! People were reading my blog! Then I looked more closely, and realized that they were essentially bull: "Good blog! Why don't you come and see mine? www dot buysatellitetv dot blogspot dot com" Yeah, whatever.

I then got the advice from someone real who commented (Firestarter, who writes quite thoughtfully about the things that are meaningful to him: his kids, his wife, his God -- check him out) that I could delete the comment-spam, and change my settings to not allow anonymous comments. Then (am I boring you yet?), I got spam from people who actually signed in (their profile pages are unsurprisingly devoid of any content!). I could change my settings so that everyone would have to sign in and type in an authorization code...but I'll just delete them.

Then, I was reading another blog (now that he's outted himself, I can say that my man writes this corporate blog), where he mentioned Fraugs. From my understanding, there are essentially three types of corporate blogs: people who work in the company who write about their work in personal blogs (and who may or may not get in trouble for it!); PR blogs that are honest about who or what they are; and PR blogs that don't let on their ties to the company. (My guy writes the second!)

But here's something he brought to my attention (he linked to it in his entry on Fraugs above): a blog called blogoriented. Read it carefully, and you realize it is a little scary. It is a company that is currently in China, hiring people to write fraudulent blogs (hence "fraugs")...not that they call them that. From one of their posts:
I can tell you that the top 5 blogs we are currently developing are:
  • A blog written from the perspective of a stray cat in NYC.
  • A blog written from a 14 year old depressed Iowa girl.
  • A blog about life as a math professor in a southern community college.
  • A blog about being a plus sized model in Kentucky.
  • A blog about being a weatherman in California.

Okay...looks funny, right? But let's go a little deeper: a blog written by an adult in the point of view of a 14-year-old depressed girl in Iowa could become very popular. Now the blog owner goes to a music company for advertising money, and then the 'girl' writes: "The only song that makes me feel better is..." or worse, they go to a pharmaceutical company, and the 'girl' writes: "Oh, my shrink increased my dose of ... and I feel so good!" Hundreds of real 14-year-olds, searching on the Internet for some help, see this and are manipulated. Disturbing.

What's absurd is that maybe this idea is itself a fraug...(But I doubt it.)


1 comment:

Fire Starter said...

My name was mentioned in somebodies blog!! I feel so special :)
Ioften wonder if anybody other than my wife and sister in law read my blogs.
These fraugs are weird, I am relativley new to the whole blog thing but if there is anything I have learned, its that if ther is something cool there is going to be those that exploit it.
God Bless!