Liars lurk within forums, blog directories and websites: Payola Writers? Or misguided idiots?

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09/01/2011 by The Sorcerer


There is a a guy called RishiGuru who has spammed on multiple tech  forumshead-fi, anandtech, Digit, Hard OCP, Hifi vision, AVS, Audio Karma, Digit India, etc. Another disturbing fact, according to the details from one of the forums he’s from Kolkata. Whether he is a payola writer or just someone who doesn’t know he’s doing you decide after reading the forum links. In any case, it’s just wrong. Even I can stick wires/multimeters and take pics to make it look kinky (not the right word, but you know what I mean).

Mods/Admins of any forums- if you’re reading this? Please question the credibility of the content writer and not locking/deleting it. This guy posted in multiple forums.  Although I am a forum contributor , I have heard some contributors who are either being paid (or they are misguided idiots) or just don’t know how to review properly. There are also THOSE who over exaggerate facts to impress companies just to get free hardware. Its simply damaging/purposely sabotaging the good name/credibility of forum contributors- something that takes lots of effort to keep it credible.

A dear friend (but he is pretty neutral when it comes to facts) did tell me that there have been reports of forum “contributors” putting up seemingly detailed previews. They are impressive at first and maybe permanently, but with facts at hand and knowledge/experience, one can easily say that it’s just plain false. There have been some writers being hired/manipulated/self-hypnotised to improve their clients. It used to be very fewer people (usually confined to EZine articles and such article directories) but it seems that multiple blokes come all of a sudden and post in multiple forums. Such people have been indirectly/directly bashing another brand. There was a rumour that technical enthusiasts and even the rep of the company that started getting bashing treatment for no technical reasons had an argument. Apparently, the guy who written the preview had his own set of misconceptions

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There have been some people who did tell me that some tech bloggers charge money to put up reviews or any articles. Here’s the thing- no1 charges money to write reviews or any article- heck even interview. The only source of money (ethical anyways) is via AD- pay per view or pay-per-click. There have been some “personnel” offering more than usual money for ads- again- its as good as payola.

If so, then its a paid advertisement in the form of a review. Disturbingly, it’s on a rise in India. Someone did tell me that they have been approached by some tech bloggers charging money to put up PR content, in exchange offering very wide exposures in forums, social networking sites and via email. They also did promise that they have their own group of followers in associations like Indiblogger and blogadda- both of them being blog directories for Indian bloggers. There was a time (not very recent incident) when one of these tech bloggers said that they are considered as the best tech blog by Indiblogger. This is how I came to know about Indiblogger. I thought Indiblogger was some elaborate cover-up for promoting blogs to build a directory filled with such writers to misguide readers, but when I joined- I bumped into countless genuine writers. It’s not a conflict of interest, but the one has to think whether such bloggers should be banned from such directories.

Forum contributors beware for being a writer for just any blog. Chances are that you are genuine, but the blog owner is using your good name/content to push his blog. When the time is right, he will hire writers who can do his bidding. In such scenario, your credibility is questioned. Unless you know this person, do not write for just any blog/websites. I am saying this because I was approached by a blog owner- to which I refused- another reason for making Hardware BBQ.

Sadly, somewhere in the middle because of such antics one will question the credibility of Indian contributors. please for our sanity, if you don’t know anything- don’t say it. If you’re genuinely misguided just don’t put up PR words like that. If you can’t find out/prove the research/marketing/PR material’s credibility, do NOT use it. You’re not going to become a small guy by doing so.

You’re a writer- a contributor. You’re not a sales rep. You don’t owe them any favours- and they don’t owe you anything. Have some pride and honour in what you do- or else don’t do it at all.

Next time when you’re replying to a doubt, make sure the replies aren’t like this:

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Also, if any company folks are reading this- even in this country when a someone is found to do such antics, it’s the company’s name that gets damaged. People here are smarter and quicker/more resourceful than you think. Don’t promote such people and risk damaging your company’s reputation. You’re better using that money to put up genuine advertisements. It might not help your sales- but hey, its advertising. Don’t let these people misguide you by using flowery language.

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