"[W]ell-paid and well-connected firms"—including NetVocates: "Blog Intelligence and Advocacy Service (BIAS)"  and the Rendon Group—are "orchestrating professional astroturf comments on weblogs", Teresa Nielsen Hayden of the Making Light Blog wrote August 30, 2006.
"If you want to get some idea of the resources being devoted to falsifying and suppressing legitimate public discourse, consider that paid professionals are being hired to post agenda-pushing comments on midrange blogs," Hayden wrote.
"The killing aspect of astroturf is that it poisons the well of discourse. Before this, you could at least have a degree of confidence that the stupid was authentic stupid. I'm not sure if I can deal with sorting out the fake stupid," John D. commented September 2, 2006, at Making Light Blog.
But ... IP Tracking Does Not Tell All
"Now here is my pitch for why even the linked and referenced astroturf-observing bloggers aren’t being (legitmately) paranoid enough," Ann Bartow wrote August 31, 2006, for the Feminist Law Professors Blog: "Many seem to think that you can track this stuff through IP addresses. However, it is very easy for astroturfers to use a proxy server to shield or falsify an IP address, and/or to simply hire people to shill from home, using ordinary consumer-based ISPs."
- "This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 26th, 2006 at 11:15 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed."
According to a WHOIS search, CEASEFIRECAMPAIGN.ORG was created July 18, 2006, through Go Daddy Software and is registered through Domains by Proxy, Inc.
The IP Address:—22.214.171.124—comes from the NetRange 126.96.36.199 - 188.8.131.52, which belongs to Speedfox, Inc., of Austin, Texas, Trey Cansler, tech contact at 512 608-9990.
Sock Puppetry & Trolling
Cynthia Brumfield wrote May 21, 2006, at IP Democracy that for the past several months, she had noticed that "a group of commenters to blog posts related to network neutrality tend to say the same things over and over again" and that "a core group of the same commenters" "show up time and again saying the same things (although not always phrased the same way) repeatedly" "typically [saying] in one form or another: we don’t need network neutrality regulations because there is no evidence of abuse and in any event government intervention in the Internet marketplace will mess everything up."
"Now, along comes another commenter," Brumfield wrote, called 'sagecast', who wrote March 30, 2006, in the comments section: "this group is an organized tag-team of industry representatives, semi-sock puppets if you will, who troll the Internet making such comments to give the false impression of broad-based support of industry-friendly positions. ... By tag-teaming the blogs, this small handful of individuals gives the false impression of broad popular support for an industry-friendly position."
Related SourceWatch Resources
- blog trolling / blogging / blogosphere
- Campaign Solutions (a.k.a. Donatelli Group)
- fake news
- Mark Noonan
- U.S. congressional elections in 2006
- Zephyr Teachout
- "sockpuppet (internet)" in the Wikipedia.
- "Anti-Astroturfing Campaign" links at TheNewPR.com Wiki.
- Monsanto: "Monsanto's Web of Deceit" posted by Norfolk Genetic Information Network, various dates.
- John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, Toxic Sludge Is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry (Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1995).
- George Monbiot, "The Fake Persuaders. Corporations are inventing people to rubbish their opponents on the internet," The Guardian (UK) (posted by Norfolk Genetic Information Network), May 14, 2002.
- "Dr Pepper in blog astroturf campaign," MetaFilter, March 4, 2003.
- M.E. Cowan, "Fight Back Against Killer Astroturf," Failure Is Impossible: provides articles dated "from 2004 or earlier" and a list of identical "letters to the editor" generated by a Republican website that were published in newspapers around the United States.
- Teresa Nielsen Hayden, "Common Fraud," Making Light Blog, December 3, 2004.
- Armed Liberal, "Is Blogging Becoming Astroturfed?" Winds of Change, December 26, 2004.
- John Fund, "Astroturf Politics. How liberal foundations fooled Congress into passing McCain-Feingold," OpinionJournal, March 21, 2005.
- Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, "For Activist Constituents, Click Here," Washington Post, September 19, 2005.
- kos, "The blog menace," Daily Kos, November 3, 2005.
- Brad DeLong, "Astroturf vs. Grassroots," TPM Cafe, December 14, 2005.
- KagroX, "GOP Sen. candidate bankrolls fake blog. In your state, too?" Daily Kos, February 15, 2006.
- Thomas Nephew, "CENTCOM pays a visit," newsrack Blog, March 5, 2006.
- "Astroturf," Desert Rat Democrat, March 28, 2006.
- Cynthia Brumfield, "Markey Attacks, Barton Defends, Telecom Legislation," IP Democracy, March 30, 2006.
- Cynthia Brumfield, "Do Broadband Providers Employ Blog Comment Shills?" IP Democracy, May 21, 2006.
- Ted Shelton, "Just Because You're Paranoid....," IP Inferno, May 27, 2006.
- Cog, "Anti-network neutrality astroturfing comment spam," The Abstract Factory Blogspot, May 30, 2006.
- Bruce Stewart, "'AstroSpammers' Attack Net Neutrality," O'Reilly Emerging Telephony Blog, May 31, 2006.
- "behind netvocates (and its link to customscoop)," Cybersoc.com, May 31, 2006.
- "Forget Astroturf, Fake Net Neutrality Commenters Popping Up Like Weeds," Tech Dirt, May 31, 2006.
- Mark Glaser, "Sock Puppetry: Bloggers Must Be Vigilant Against Astroturf Comments," MediaShift/PBS.org, June 5, 2006; Free Press, June 6, 2006.
- UncleBeal, "Another Inconvenient Truth - NetVocates," Words, Not Fists Blogspot, June 9, 2006.
- Teresa Nielsen Hayden, "More astroturf," Making Light Blog, June 10, 2006.
- Tyler Slack, "Has NetVocates Visited Your Blog Recently?" Desultory Thoughts, June 10, 2006.
- Peter Rost, "Am I Crazy Paranoid ...?" Dr. Peter Rost Blogspot, June 12, 2006.
- DBK, "Strange Days Indeed: Shadowy Propoganda-for-Pay Group Targeting Web Logs," Blanton's and Ashton's Blog, June 13, 2006.
- Amanda Marcotte, "One More Reason to Be Wary of Feeding Trolls," Pandagon, June 13, 2006.
- Liberal Elite, "I'm watching you watching me," Watch Me Sleep Blogspot, June 13, 2006.
- zuzu, "This Explains So Much," Feministe Blog, June 14, 2006.
- "Of NetVocates and New Coke," deconsumption, June 15, 2006.
- "Where the grass is not greener: Astro-turfing not an import Australia wants to grow," Public Relations Institute of Australia/PRIA News, July 19, 2006.
- Jake Tapper and Max Culhane, "Al Gore YouTube Spoof Not So Amateurish. Republican PR Firm Said to Be Behind 'Inconvenient Truth' Spoof," ABC News, August 4, 2006.
- "Beware of anti-Gore astroturf," The Carpetbagger Report, August 5, 2006.
- Greg Sheffield, "Time.com Editor Says Americans More Willing to Trust 'Horse's Mouth' than Media," NewsBusters, August 7, 2006.
- J. Patrick Coolican, "Unregulated blogs promote wild political rumors," Scripps Howard News Service, August 11, 2006.
- sbwoodside, "infographic: Some links between Republicans and Vets for Freedom," Daily Kos, August 16, 2006. re Vets for Freedom
- Ian Welsh, "Al Gore Being Attacked By An Astroturf Group," The Agonist, August 17, 2006.
- Ann Bartow, "On 'Astroturfing' and Paid Shills," Feminist Law Professors Blog, August 27, 2006.
- Ann Bartow, "Just Because You Are Paranoid....," Feminist Law Professors Blog, August 29, 2006.
- Teresa Nielsen Hayden, "Further instances of astroturf in blogs," Making Light Blog, August 30, 2006.
- Ann Bartow, "Further instances of astroturf in blogs," Feminist Law Professors Blog, August 31, 2006.
- Kari Chisholm, "Using your blog to get out a bad story...," Politics and Technology, August 31, 2006.
- Teresa Nielsen Hayden, "Another update on astroturf," Making Light Blog, September 1, 2006.
- Ezra Klein, "Coda on Siegel," Capitalist Corner, September 1, 2006.
- Robert Plummer BBC News Will fake business blogs crash and burn?, 22 May 2008