Monday, May 09, 2005

You say tomato....

I was surprised to read Dan Gillmor's take on the CNN comment spam story making the rounds in the blogosphere. Gillmor is focusing on what is, IMHO, a minor point in Nick Lewis' post suggesting that CNN is trying to decrease his Google page rank.

As I said before, I'm not convinced CNN had anything to do with this, but that's not what's interesting about Lewis' post. In addition to his evidently sincere effort to ferret out the source of the spam comments, here are the sentences I found interesting:

Regarless (sic) of whether this was CNN or a smear artist, allowing these guerrilla marketing campaigns to continue could result in our blogs -- leftwing and rightwing alike -- to become the battlefield in ratings war between two of the largest media giants.


Some people feel that the comment spams were mere PR, and nothing to worry about. Others, like myself, believe that we must do our best to avoid a world where we constantly have to second guess whether or not we are talking to PR spam, or a human being. In the end it’s up to each of us to decide how far we're willing to go to defend the blogosphere from marketing imposters.
(emphasis added)

I hate to indulge in nostalgia, but in the 21st century it seems every message we encounter has been co-opted by PR or marketing efforts to sell us something. While it may or may not be happening yet, I do believe the scenario Lewis suggests is possible -- I can absolutely see marketers attempting to latch onto the coattails of popular blogs through whatever means necessary.

One final point: I found the title for Gillmor's post rather disingenuous -- "Pure Speculation Makes 'News'". As if this were an unusual occurrence. Pure speculation makes news every day. I can't see calling Lewis out on this point at all.