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'Best' Fake Blog of 2006 Awarded 74

schwaang writes "Advertising is an integral part of the Web, and its revenues make the likes of Google possible for all of us. But when PR firms promote products by pretending to be real bloggers, some think it crosses the line into unethical 'astroturf'. The Consumerist held a contest for best 'Flog' of 2006. And the winner is... Sony for it's fake all-I-want-for-Xmas PSP blog (which Slashdot readers will no doubt remember). Runners up included Walmart and McDonald's. And the award itself? Well, it's something you might find on on a fake lawn."
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'Best' Fake Blog of 2006 Awarded

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  • tasty cake? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by piotru ( 124109 ) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @05:48PM (#17876936) Homepage Journal
    ehem, what was the dominant opinion on Slashdot in the matter of a proposed legislation to force payed bloggers to register? eat your cake now... :( (not a flamebait)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by suckmysav ( 763172 )
      hehe, You gotta love the monkeys with mod points on /. don't you?

      Marking a first post as Redundant indeed.

    • Re:tasty cake? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @07:46PM (#17877640)

      ehem, what was the dominant opinion on Slashdot in the matter of a proposed legislation to force payed bloggers to register?

      I don't know, what was the dominant opinion? It seemed pretty divided. Anyway, what does making poilitical lobbyists register have to do with fake blogs for marketing purposes?

      • "I don't know, what was the dominant opinion? It seemed pretty divided."

        The initial opinion thanks to that first propaganda piece was definately in favor of striking it down. Only in later follow up stories did the opinion become divided. It's a good sign though that a great many people here at least check into such stories at some point.

        "Anyway, what does making poilitical lobbyists register have to do with fake blogs for marketing purposes?"

        Because, lobbyists are paid to market political ideas to politi
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by iminplaya ( 723125 )
      ehem, what was the dominant opinion on Slashdot in the matter of a proposed legislation to force payed bloggers to register?

      I would hope that everybody is against it. Those who want to regulate the net are doing it for persinal gain, not to make the net "safe for the whole family". They stake their claim and try to keep newcomers out. Old immigrants want to keep out the new immigrants. It's an age old trick that works every time. For speech to mean anything at all, it requires action. Leave the speakers alo
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Speaking of corporate shills. Two words for you slahdot: Roland Piquepaille. [slashdot.org]
  • Fake Steve! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Durandal64 ( 658649 ) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @05:54PM (#17876976)
    Fake Steve [blogspot.com] is, by far, the best fake blog ever.
  • Zunies (Score:2, Funny)

    by Divebus ( 860563 )
    I thought for sure the Zunies would get the golden poop award.
  • Facing Foreclosure (Score:5, Interesting)

    by back_pages ( 600753 ) <back_pages@cox . n et> on Saturday February 03, 2007 @06:46PM (#17877282) Journal
    This is admittedly a long shot, but if Casey Serin at http://iamfacingforeclosure.com/ [iamfacingforeclosure.com] turns out to be fake, it will be one of the best con jobs ever performed.


    My only reason for thinking that it's fake is because it's really, really hard to believe that someone with a lack of sense, intelligence, and decision making ability as catastrophic as Casey's could actually surive to age 24.


    With every update, I find myself asking, "This can't be for real. Nobody is dumb enough to be $2.2M in debt, unemployed, penniless, and sign up for $52/year roadside assistance just because the offer showed up in the mail." Yet that's exactly what this genius claims to have done [iamfacingforeclosure.com]. It may be a long shot, but I cannot convince myself that Casey Serin is 100% nonfiction.

    • by Tx ( 96709 ) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @07:14PM (#17877464) Journal
      With every update, I find myself asking, "This can't be for real. Nobody is dumb enough to be $2.2M in debt, unemployed, penniless, and sign up for $52/year roadside assistance just because the offer showed up in the mail."

      Which would you rather be:
      a) $2,200,000 in debt, and broken down in the middle of nowhere with no breakdown cover
      b) $2,000,052 in debt, having a cold one while your car gets recovered

      See, he's not so dumb ;)
    • by JourneyExpertApe ( 906162 ) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @07:41PM (#17877616)
      He was interviewed on NPR a few weeks ago, so surely they did some research to see if he's legit. I don't see your point about the $52/year roadside assistance. $52 isn't much, especially compared to the millions he owes. And he's obviously not penniless, since he can afford the fees for his domain registration and server space. However, I do think he's a greedy SOB who got what he deserved.
      • by alphaseven ( 540122 ) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @09:08PM (#17878076)

        He was interviewed on NPR a few weeks ago, so surely they did some research to see if he's legit.
        James Frey was a bestselling writer who had appeared Oprah and had done tons of interviews and a movie deal before anyone did the slightest bit of research to see if his memoir was legit. It's certainly within the realm of possibility of being fake.
        • by abb3w ( 696381 )
          Last time I checked NPR maintained a marginally higher standard of journalistic professionalism than Oprah. Not all that much higher, perhaps, but enough that Walter Cronkite [wikipedia.org] is still willing to talk to them on-air.
      • He can't pay his phone bill. He can't pay his 13 or 14 credit card bills. He's months behind on mortgage payments on his 4 or 5 houses (5-8 mortgages?). I think he has $600k+ in unsecured debt. (These numbers are all from recollection - I'm not looking this up at 2am.)

        He gets some junk mail for $52/year roadside assistance. It's crap that arrived in the mail. As many of his readers pointed out, he could get the same service for $12/year from his existing car insurance. He impulsively signs up for th

        • Wait... this moron has multiple houses that he can't afford, and he's surprised he's in debt?

          Someone fetch me a claw hammer.

          Kierthos
        • Looked at a couple of posts at the blog, and then looked at some of the photos on the blog. The posts seem fake to me (can't put my finger on any one thing, but boy do they ring as fake) although very good fakes. The photos, however, have two things that for me seals the deal; A, they look like they were professionally taken quality wise (although that alone really doesn't prove anything) in so far as framing of the shot and the actual image quality (although I am not a photo pro, so I digress to anyone wit
  • Foot-shooting fun (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nullav ( 1053766 )
    I don't really see why people try this (fake blogs to promote their products). How can the chance at getting a few thousand people to think "Hey, that looks like a decent product." when they also risk alienating countless more if their plans were to come to light?
    • 1. Who's to say it will ever come to light?
      2. Who's to say that by the time it comes to light, the advertising campaign will still be going? "Hey, it turns out that zune blog from three years back was fake!" "What's a zune?"
      3. Who's to say that if it does get out, anyone will know? A dozen blogs decrying your astroturfing means nothing if the people you're advertising to are reading YOUR blog, not THEIRS.
  • by buckeyeguy ( 525140 ) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @07:14PM (#17877462) Homepage Journal
    So why does Consumerist get to say who's a fake blog, when Consumerist itself is just one of about a dozen front-ends [wikipedia.org] for privately-held company Gawker Media [gawker.com]? It, and the others, maintain the look of either personal or group blogs, and make no mention on their front pages of the business behind them.

    How much business? From Wiki: While Denton does not go into detail over Gawker Media's finances, he has downplayed the profit potential of blogs[1], declaring "Blogs are likely to be better for readers than for capitalists. While I love the medium, I've always been skeptical about the value of blogs as businesses" on his personal site[2]. However, in the February 20, 2006 issue of New York Magazine, Jossip founder David Hauslaib estimated Gawker.com's annual advertising revenue to be at least $1 million two years ago, and possibly over $2 million a year[3]. Combined with low operating costs -- mostly web hosting fees and writer salaries -- Denton is believed to be turning a healthy profit.

    • Pretty much closes down the thread. The guy reporting the fakes is fake. I wonder if somebody out there is trying to see how many layers deep they can take it. The best fake fake fake fake fake blogs.
    • by glindsey ( 73730 ) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @08:05PM (#17877740)
      What, you can't be bothered to click a single FAQ link [consumerist.com] where they clearly state that they are published by Gawker Media? And you compare this to fake blogs which actively try to deceive the reader as to who really writes them? Give me a break.

      I suppose you'll now say that CNN, TBS, Turner Classic Movies, Adult Swim, and the like are all "fronts" because they're all published by a single company.
  • What better use for astroturfing? :)
    • What better use for astroturfing?

      Well, they are probably using a few square yards of it for the Lawn Mower retail display at the Sears in Billings, Montana.
  • what else is new? (Score:3, Informative)

    by tsoldrin ( 969533 ) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @07:35PM (#17877570) Homepage Journal
    Sony has been dominating this arena since the beginning. I remember that phony giantology blog promoting Shadow of the Collossus a while back making huge ripples. (google giantology). I'm half tempted to make a fake blog condemning fake blogs, but that'd be nearly as bad as giving out fake awards for making fake blogs, wouldn't it? I mean... get real.
  • by svunt ( 916464 ) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @07:35PM (#17877574) Homepage Journal
    ...has to be the livejournal of the Illmatic [livejournal.com], North Korean president Kim Jong-Il.
  • All arguments about the dishonesty of companies aside, do people actually get fooled by these fake blogs? The company names and products are blatantly displayed, combined with the unrealistic content, there's no doubt somebody is trying to push the product. And who else?

    I watched to PSP Xmas video and its obviously an advertisement, nothing less.

    What about the stupidity of handing out awards for something so obvious, as if something unknown has been revealed. That kind of thing doesn't deserve any credi

    • by xylo36 ( 1000020 )
      I think you are giving people too much credit. Most people are conditioned to think of blogs as a personal opinion. It is not part of their thought process to assume that a blog might be an advertisement. If an average person sees a personal testimony ranting and raving about a product in some sort of banner ad, he probably wouldn't give it a second thought. But when seeing it in a medium that usually has little or no direct advertising, he will see it differently. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with
  • Some time ago a blog called Boring Boring [boringboring.com.br] appeared, claiming to seek the "uncoolest" things around. While its miscellaneous articles looked ok, even if you don't understand Portuguese you might note the computing-related articles (the ones on the right) are always commenting about Office 2007, even spreading some mild FUD [boringboring.com.br] saying the best format to save your files is Open XML because it is open, and thus guarantees interoperability.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jugalator ( 259273 )
      Well, contrary to popular opinion on Slashdot, Windows fans do exist (you'll find throngs of them on popular sites like Neowin) and do believe Windows Vista is better than both OS X and Linux, so I think you'll need to provide something more than someone liking MS technologies to say it's about Microsoft themselves. It's like saying an Ubuntu hacker is automatically an Ubuntu developer.
      • LOL, OK, I checked up on this further and it even says it's from Microsoft on the front page:
        ©2007 BORINGBORING - Um projeto Microsoft ... so I guess you're right in that it indeed is from Microsoft, but it's hardly astroturfing either...
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by ESqVIP ( 782999 )

        Sorry, I should have written that on the original message. The simplest proof is (very surprisingly, to me) right there in the footer, in small letters: "©2007 BORINGBORING - A Microsoft project". Also, others [techbits.com.br] have already investigated further, and the domain was registered by a guerilla marketing agency, not just some random person.

  • In Capitalist West Sony propaganda makes you need psp. In Soviet Russia kgb obtain Sony psp for you!
  • by ChromeAeonium ( 1026952 ) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @09:07PM (#17878070)
    After viewing the PSP blog, I would like to say this to every soul on the planet: If you are instant messaging/on a chat room/any other real time communication method that involves typing, by all means, do type crap like u instead of you. If you are not, than DO NOT use that AOL pseudo-leet garbage. While you're at it, use proper grammar, not that 'urban' slang crap dreamed up by some rich white guy (gasp!) to gain a death grip on a demographic by taking control of their lifestyle and thought patterns. I'm not sure how butchering the English language has helped to sell overpriced clothes, but it has. Also, the Shift key is there for reason. Use it! That being said, Sony really overplayed their part, and I now have an urge to run out and buy a DS.
    • After viewing the PSP blog, I would like to say this to every soul on the planet: If you are instant messaging/on a chat room/any other real time communication method that involves typing, by all means, do type crap like u instead of you. If you are not, than DO NOT use that AOL pseudo-leet garbage.

      This was obviously a thirty-something copywriter trying to write like a fourteen year old. Of course he missed two points; one is that most modern fourteen year olds don't actually write that way outside of IM
      • "By the way... Who uses "AOL pseudo-leet" anymore? Isn't that kind of, well, 1998? I don't think modern teens would even get the reference..."

        nope. i didnt...
      • They do write/type like that outside IM, WOW, etc. My wife's always complaining about it when she's marking essays written like that .
  • Considering the subject, I'd actually consider Asa Dotzler as the best fake blog ... well, okay, you know right away who Asa works for.
  • Chewbacca! [blogspot.com]Chewbacca!
  • by gamer4Life ( 803857 ) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @11:58PM (#17878904)
    The parent company of the Consumerist is Gawker media, which controls some pretty anti-Sony gaming blogs, Kotaku.com and Gizmodo.com.

    Perhaps Microsoft paid some money to Gawker to help them advertise/astroturf the XBox 360? And perhaps this "story" is actually part of that FUD campaign against Sony (and the PS3)?

    It's not unreasonable to expect Microsoft to engage in such tactics.

    Granted, Sony is as evil as Microsoft in many ways, it's just that Microsoft is much better at it (and Sony innovates more than Microsoft).
  • Um, hello ...
  • Can't think of a more deserving campaign or a more deserving company. However, it's worth noting that Sony does this kind of thing because they are confident -- and apparently have good reason to be confident -- that the public at large won't notice or doesn't care, witness these poll results:

    http://www.networkworld.com/community/?q=node/1026 7 [networkworld.com]

    At the very least, they can be sure that the benefits of such deceitfulness will outweigh the costs. Too few people pay too little attention.
  • Ok, so it is obviously fake, but come on Taco, I prefer the banner ads to press releases masquerading as Slashdot entries.

    In the top left corner of Slashdot is the "Opinion Center" heading. Click it, you'll see "Intel". Click that and there is a bunch of PR nonsense.

    http://intel.vendors.slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org]
  • This is only remotely related, but here we go anyway.

    http://igerard.co.uk/tin?key=Odck6dMA&formname=Que stionnaire [igerard.co.uk]

    I am working on a MSC in Computer Science and we need some feedback on what people consider a blog to be. We would be grateful if you could help us out!

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. -- Thomas Edison

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