Tonight I read Rusty Schackleford’s post in which he seemingly caught a PR firm connected to the Obama campaign astroturfing for Obama by posting and spreading inaccurate videos about Sarah Palin on Youtube. While this may not seem like anything new for people who have been using the major social media outlets, the question of who financed the videos that all strangely use the same voice over voice as recent Obama videos creates some campaign finance law issues.
Being a former digg “frequent submitter” I know of hundreds of now popular websites that employed this same technique to increase eyeballs and ultimately ad revenue with success. I have even called out Ron Paul supporters who took the technique to the next level. I had never heard of astroturfing, as I don’t run in political circles but according to Shackleford it is nothing Digg users should be unfamiliar with:
David Axelrod is also known as The master of “Astroturfing”, which is what PR industry insiders call the practice of “manufacturing grassroots support.”
Now being thoroughly familiar with the manipulations of Digg by political entities I ran a simple search for sarah palin on digg and lo and behold I came across plenty of sock puppet accounts that hit Digg’s equivalent of hitting Powerball – 1 story submitted, 1 story promoted to the front page.
- http://digg.com/users/linocut – joined Sep 10 2008
- http://digg.com/users/stevenrl – joined Sep 9 08
- http://digg.com/users/manucpa – joined Sep 7 2008
- http://digg.com/users/Bri345 – joined Aug 31st 2008 (From Wasilla Alaska no less!)
What do you want to bet these accounts only ‘digg’ dirt on McCain/Palin?
You see astroturfing has been going on at Digg.com since day one. Most stories are promoted to the front page through a very active digg community subset that is constantly harassing me on IM to digg their stories. Everyone knows it has been going on at Digg, Republicans have just been too slow and stupid to catch on.
Digg.com’s inclusion of a politics section has given many political sites a springboard to attract a larger audience. For some of these groups the temptation to promote their political advocacy has proven too strong to stop them from violating Digg’s terms of service. The websites listed in this article appear to have crossed the line to varying degrees.
Article 3 Section 9 in Digg’s Terms of Service:
By way of example, and not as a limitation, you agree not to use the Services:
9. with the intention of artificially inflating or altering the ‘digg count’, blog count, comments, or any other Digg service, including by way of creating separate user accounts for the purpose of artificially altering Digg’s services; giving or receiving money or other remuneration in exchange for votes; or participating in any other organized effort that in any way artificially alters the results of Digg’s services.
In an effort to make sure that Ron Paul has a permanent place in Digg’s recent front page articles for a long time to come, we are launching the 100,000 Diggs for Ron Paul campaign.
The purpose is easily explained. We Ron Paul supporters want to get his message out to people who are not too familiar with him, and what he stands for. With the mainstream media ignoring the coming tsunami of Ron Paul support, many people might not hear about Dr. Paul until it is too late.
Digg this article and have everyone you know Digg it too.
- Mises Institute
I previously explained about Digg.com and how their recent addition of non-technology topics (e.g. Politics, Business & Finance) has opened an opportunity for pro-market/pro-liberty articles to get an airing at this very popular news site.
Stories are “promoted” to the Digg.com front page by “digging” (voting) for a story. To coordinate efforts to promote free market and libertarian articles I have started a list of libertarian diggers. As I write this I already have 45 people on it. We have once again this morning been successful in promoting an article. In this case, today’s Mises.org Daily Article on inflation and the Fed. Head over to Digg and join the heated discussion about the article, (you will need to set up a free account).
If you want to join our merry band of libertarian diggers, here are the details…
E-mail me and send me your Digg Username (you login to Digg with this). I will add you to my list of Friends which is serving as our list of libertarian diggers.
- The Ron Paul Report
4/16/07 Ron Paul Daily Digg
Read and Digg these articles
Digg.com is one of the most popular websites on the Internet. With your help, we can advance in their podcast rankings. Please click the button on the left to digg Free Talk Live. If you don’t have one, you will need to create a free account. Remember, you need to come back every two weeks and digg something else on the site like one of our episodes to continue locking in your digg for the podcast.
digg.freetalklive.com -Direct link to the Free Talk Live page on digg.com news.freetalklive.com – Join the Free Market Diggers and help digg pro-Liberty articles on digg.com!
- Ron Paul Grass Roots Action
This email message is a notification to let you know that
a file has been uploaded to the Files area of the RonPaulGrassRootsAction
File : /Digg tips
Uploaded by : tangent4ronpaul
Description : Using and networking on Digg for Ron Paul
You can access this file at the URL
- No Governor Anywhere: FreeMarket, Libertarian Minded Blogging
Ten ways to help Ron Paul online.
We have to face it, the internet is currently the only place we can get the word out about Ron Paul.
5. Digg.com: Go register at digg.com and do a search for Ron Paul. We have a double task here. First, read through the articles before you digg them. If you notice something posted twice, only digg the one that has the most so far, and bury the other. This way, people on digg won’t become burnt out by The Ron paul campaign. We can’t be called spammers if we only post one article about a certain topic, and if everyone is digging the same articles, the likelihood that story being on the front page, with the most exposure, increases.
- Armitage 2.0
“Digg Ron Paul sites, stories, videos, and other links.”
- World Affairs Board
For those who want to help make sure Dr. Paul’s message gets out…
Here’s the most effective and easy way I know:
– Visit Digg / News
– Keyword search “Ron Paul”
– Then “digg” every story that has the word Ron Paul in the headline.
This gets him additional attention; I’ve seen it work very well before. It’s already working for Dr. Paul.
Usually there are around 25 Ron Paul stories on Digg every day. I Digg them about three times a day. What are your thoughts about this approach and about Ron Paul?
- Ron Paul Press Hub
Sunday, May 13th, 2007
Please digg the following article. If you don’t know what Digg is, read here
- disinter “digging up the truth”
For a brief comparison of Hagel vs Paul votes, go here. Digg the comparison here.
note: this is one of many articles intended to encourage diggers to promote Ron Paul
I found a few more:
10 Ways to help Ron Paul Every Day Without Leaving Your Computer
Posted April 2nd, 2007 by manystrom
* Ron Paul
1. Go to digg.com and ‘digg’all of the stories about Ron Paul (also ‘digg’ stories about him on other sites such as www.RonPaul2008.com and LewRockwell.com etc by simply clicking the ‘digg’ button that is on most stories now). Making positive comment on those stories is a big help too. Also see reddit.com
Explains to readers how to resubmit a Ron Paul article by adding a # anchor to the end of the url.
Other sites of interest: