This is something I’ve noticed before, but it just happened on one of my sites in the last day or so, so I thought I write a post about it. Basically, we had a member sign up and mention a major television manufacturer in a post, in relation to college sports and what he was going to watch it on. Now, the topics seemed decent enough as the brand was just a small mention in the overall topic, which was related to college sports.

The first time I see it, it seems OK. I mean, afterall, he mentions his TV (and the company who made it) once… that’s fine. But, then he does it again. The second time I see it, where he mentions the same brand (something like the second time in six posts), I make a note of it in the staff forums and decide just to keep an eye on it because it looks like he’s trying to throw this brand into posts. Then he did it again, right after that, with a link to the television manufacturer’s website, this time! Nice try. Enough is enough.

If the company wasn’t paying him (not necessarily to “spam forums” but to “market their product online” and “bring brand awareness”), he was doing it on his own account. Which I really don’t see being the case. I mean, yes, people do that, but the way he was mentioning them and interjecting them into otherwise OK topics, in a sort of covert way – it just doesn’t seem to me to be the type of thing that someone does on their own, to make the company look bad or to promote their products, like a devious spammer, on their own time.

I’m not really surprised by this practice – it’s just that I expect it from smaller companies or individuals who don’t realize what they are doing or don’t care. This company has nationwide television campaigns talking about their widescreens and all that goodness. But, nonetheless, some guy comes and spams my forums in a decidedly clever way, trying to trick us into thinking it’s not spam.