Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Huffington Post In a Panicky Retreat

I didn't expect to continue to write about the Huffington Post Troll Scandal, but the fall-out continues.

First, after I had unmasked the HuffPo Troll they locked me out from the site, which in the Internet world means that you are fired.

Then, they did what I had recommended, and Jonah Peretti declared that "The staff will not post any critical comments in the future. --JP"

And now they have just deleted all "Readers' favorite comments" and removed the button to vote for a favorite comment.

Arianna stated "We've looked at the data logs and Yaco-Mink's comment got the most "best of" votes from different, verifiable IP addresses. There was no manipulation."

So of course there was no reason to disable this system, since it was fair and impervious to manipulation.

Not so. The fact that "Readers' favorite comments" have been deleted can mean only two things. HuffPuff learned the system was easy to game, which many readers also showed in their replies to this site. Or HuffPuff couldn't stand all the comments criticizing my termination being voted to the top. Or both.

No matter what is going on here, HuffPuff is in an uncoordinated, panicky, retreat mode; rarely seen in the blogging world.

The irony of all this is that HuffPuff partner Jonah Peretti is supposed to be an expert in "viral marketing" and he didn't stand a chance when bloggers and readers he had intended to "viral market" using spam e-mails turned on him like a tsunami.

In conclusion, the juveniles running HuffPuff have made several serious errors in judgment, errors a professional organization with more experienced managers would have been less likely to make.

These were my parting words to HuffPuff:

"Seriously, I have loved working with you, and I just have to tell you personally, since I have done marketing and crisis management for my entire live; HuffPo has made a critical, amateurish error in judgment. You really need to get professional advice."

Perhaps the PR and advertising professionals at the WPP Group and JWT will now help them clean up their mess.


Anonymous said...

I forgot. Arianna is a co-host of Left, Right, and Center on KCRW. It's on Fridays from 2:30-3:00pm. If they ever let audience members call in, we can all call in and question her on-air!!!


Anonymous said...

"Yaco-Mink's comment got the most "best of" votes from different, verifiable IP addresses. There was no manipulation."

Is that so Arianna? Well, I haven't used a "verifiable" IP address while posting at Huffpo for the past 3 months thanks to Anonymizer. A life-long Democrat and liberal, for the life of me I don't know why I was banned but I can guess.

I don't suppose Yaco-Mink being their tech nerd has *ever* heard of IP spoofing, nor would he have been smart enough to cover his ass on that one.

In short,the IP addresses mean nothing and therefore her rationale for proclaiming Yaco "innocent" is faulty at best.

It does appear Arianna's site is still in panic mode about all this.

I'm not happy to see it either because Huffpo *could* have been a contender.

Their problem is not with "Reader's Favorite" comments. Their problem is with trolls, and their inability or unwillingness to deal with them - some of whom apparently work for Huffington Post.

And even if they don't work for Arianna, her tacit approval of these troll's "contributions" speaks volumes.

Anonymous said...

As I type this.. 7:15pm EST 6/27/06, there are *no* reader's comments appearing on Huffpo at all.

Technical glitch? Maybe. Who knows?

Anonymous said...

It's back up but things aren't happy in Arianna-Land. Here are two posts from *very* frequent Huffpo blogger/commentors:

You know, I've been looking at some of the dumbass things I posted about today and I realized what a total waste of my time this is.

So instead of wasting my time -- and yours -- I think I'm just going to return to my pre-Huffpo life.

Adios, muchachos.
By: californiamike on June 27, 2006 at 07:39pm

My instincts are similar. HuffPo has become a metaphor for what is wrong with this country.
By: olivia on June 27, 2006 at 07:42pm

And these are the liberals. Soon the only ones left will be the trolls.

Incidentally, I *tried* to make a post complaining about this troll whom I'll quote:

I know you Negroes
are cock suckers-but that does not mean you have to follow arianna into hell

kill all liberal Negroes and sodomize them

why are all liberals cock suckers?

By: azom on June 27, 2006 at 06:10pm
Flag: [ flagged ]

My comment complaining about this (and other similar posts) never appeared.

Anonymous said...

Funny thing, but I agree, that maybe, just maybe this will be the start of a lame duck Huffingpost.

I've gone there a few times to read the news and look at some of the posts and they are all exactly the same with the exact same people fighting each other which leads me to believe they are all in the same room.

Things really stink over there. It's a shame another Huffingtonpost type outfit can't be done.

What I liked best about the place was that is was SUPPOSED to be a liberal haven where we could talk about the bad guys in the ReThug party and how they were the HO's for the Corporate PIMP'S who controlled congress.

THEN the trollz started up and we are talking about serious trolling. At first I was pretty sure they were GOP paid, but then as this scandal unfolded I became convinced the trollz were of the homegrown variety.

What else I like was the format for looking and reading news that was obviously slanted towards liberals but hopefully an honest slant.

Turns out that isn't true either. Sometimes the slant is dishonest and that is not good for liberals/progressives everywhere.

The only other famous outlet I could ever hope to see replace Huffingpost would be VANITY FAIR.

They have a LOT OF MONEY and have a lousy site right now.

BUT a Vanity Fair site set up simalar to Huffingpost would bring down Huffingpost overnight IF they stayed honest and worried more about integrity and less about being a cororate whore.

I still think your theory Doc, about pfizer and the pharma industry wanting you off is not far feteched at all. I would have no problem believing that conspiracy at all.

Money is a powerful incentive to throw your integrity out the window.

A well financed site could bring Arianna down within days.

Vanity Fair could do that and Arianna would have a hard time bullshitting her way out of that downfall.

Anonymous said...

All the comments on HuffPo now are sooooo nice. It's scarey. Not one dissenting opinion really and not one mention of Dr. Rost. Something really stinks.

Anonymous said...

"I'm proud that you allow honest discourse on your site rather then the self-serving skew so many other sites use. Keep up the good work you do for the betterment of us."

By: RadicalRepublican on June 23, 2006 at 10:50am

Gag reflex! Obsequious rat bastard. I feel a virgin sacrafice can't be too long in coming. What a joke AH turned out o be.

Anonymous said...

I actually second beeta. I would like a bit of an explanation of what exactly viral marketing is beyond something that's contagious on the Internet.

Thanks guys.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Gary. Arriana Huffington and her staff are jokes. TrollRevilz and Rosethejet, I agree with your statements, that the "trolls" like azom and others are homegrown, and probably staffers that actually work for Huffington Post. I say this after reading that "youwhores.com" site. Comedy it ain't.

Anonymous said...

And, to add to my above comment... I too have been banned from making comments on huffpo. It's like writing them is a waste of time. As is that entire site.

Anonymous said...

Janine, you do websites?

Cool. Done any we know?

I sort of understand what the whole "viral" thing is but it does seem like a lame way to do advertising unless you have something so outrageously cool that you have to share it, but that happens rarely.

I can't think of anything more UNCOOL than emailing an ad to someone I know.

Maybe an enemy. But nothing like a return email to slow that down.

Anonymous said...

Heres a present for you guys....


Its Love's email address.

Anonymous said...


That is the trick. The ad has to be cooler than just about anything and so far I rarely if ever see anything like that. Seems like the so called movement to make viral ads cool enough to email is sort of like the technology bubble a while back.

Sort of a hope that worked out to be nothing like it was supposed to be. Thus costing a gazillion bucks to venture capitalists.

Seems to me the advertisers at Huffingpost aren't exactly getting their money's worth by any means.

Not by any means at all.

I've found myself going to Huffingpost less and less in the past several days to the point where I now skim the place for anything I think might be interesting.

The troll warz are beyond all comprehension and make me have no doubts that Huffingpost may actually be on BOTH sides of the troll wars.

It has become a dishonest site and as such there is a stench when I go there.

I wonder if Arianna will ever figure out she has become that which she has fought?

Anonymous said...

I got banned yet again for posting what I did on page 1 of the comments at the following blog entry (as censorship is still very much alive at Huffingtonpost.com):



Rev. L. said...

Do you know when you see a funny commercial and you tell your friends about it? That's also viral marketing. You're talking about the commercial with other people, therefore you are talking about the product and therefore giving the product a certain amount of exposure to others for free.

Meme: an information pattern, held in an individual's memory, which is capable of being copied to another individual's memory.

Memetics: the theoretical and empirical science that studies the replication, spread and evolution of memes

Such things as catchphrases are memes. Pop culture is loaded with memetics. Saying "d'oh" in the manner of Homer Simpson is a meme. This spreading of information is commonly called "memetic contagion."

When an advertiser makes a commercial intentionally to get people talking about it/emailing it to each other and generally creating a memetic contagion, it is called "viral marketing."

Memetics can also have negative effects on marketing. When a certain name brand becomes so associated with the product that the name brand becomes the WORD for the product, said product can lose it's Trademark Status.

This has happened in the past with items such as "Aspirin" which was once just a brand name of pill much like "Bayer" is. "Rollerblades" are a brand name of in-line skates, but people often refer to ANY in-line skates as "rollerblades". The same applies to "Xerox" as well. In some parts of the country even the word "Coke" is used as a generic for all sodas, as opposed to specifically Coca Cola. Example:

"Give me a coke"

"What kind?"

"Dr. Pepper."
There are many more examples, but you get the idea. I believe "viagra" could at some point face a similar fate easily becoming a catchall word for all impotence drugs.

This is actually enough of a problem that such companies have actually bought advertising space in such magazines as Writer's Digest to actually tell writers to be sure not to use brand names as generic descriptions of a product.

Viral marketing simply takes advantage of the idea that if someone is intrigued enough with a piece of information, they will pass it on to others. Be that information a funny joke or a cool advertisement they saw. And trust me when I say you've probably assisted in one form of viral marketing or another far mor often than you would really believe.

Republican talking points are also, in effect, viral marketing. All this talk about Ann Coulter's book? Viral marketing How many people went out and bought copies that HATE her, just to see what she had to say, thus upping her sales, thus putting more money in her pocket simply because we all sat around talking about the horrible things she says in it?

In closing, viral marketing is a new, fancy phrase for "word of mouth". Only with a more high-tech connotation.

That's about as simple as I go.

And no, I'm not in marketing either.

Rev. L. said...

Here's a great article about generic words that once had trademark status.

Peter Rost said...

I'm surprised and amazed at the useful and civilized discussion among the readers on this site and I will try to chime in when I have a chance. But it also takes quite a bit of time to do the posts . . . if any trolls come back, send me an e-mail!

Anonymous said...

I may be a bit of an elitist here, but I don't think viral marketing works as well on the liberal mindset as well as it does on the conservative side. I mean, look at the superbowl. Sure liberals watch the superbowl but none of the ones I know coo over the comercials for budwiser like the conservatives do. Viral marketing towards a liberal group would have to be above and beyond the fart jokes or the cutsie frogs, it has to be something artful or incredibly creative - and in the marketing world I think that coming up with something highly creative is more expensive than just advertising the "normal" way.

Of course I could be totaly off base here, I mean liberals are sheep too, don't get me wrong - but I think they are a different kind of sheep than the kind that would e-mail links to ads just because they have a fart joke.


Anonymous said...

Yes indeed it has been a fascinating discussion. AND this is what an honest debate/discussion is like.

Not that nonsense that goes on over at Huffingpost. Interestingly I now find myself going here first after my email check to see what is new. I realize the pharma news won't keep me here all day long, but it's interesting that I come here first everyday now.

I think Huffingpost would do even better if they got rid of the troll warz and had intelligent debate there.

I stand by my analogy that Huffingpost has become the Jerry Springer of The Internet because there are some days when I used to watch Jerry that I was convinced this was all made up.

How is traffic these days Doc?

Rev. L. said...

Back on the subject of advertising, I posted this article a while back and this one today, both showing the increasingly intrusive methods advertisers are currently tossing around to get to us, the consumers.

Anonymous said...


You made it @ 10:27!

I wonder if they're using an "auto search", but, only for the first paragraph? Maybe we can develope a sorta code or format to get the infor out there.

I tried to post this on Arianna's NYTs article, with last post @ 2:20pm today. We'll see if this test makes the cut:

"""An insightful remark, Arianna:

""This time, Keller noted that "the government would like us to publish only the official line, and some of our elected leaders tend to view anything else as harmful to the national interest" and ran the story well ahead of Election Day 2006.

It's nice to see that even a MSM leviathan like the Times can learn from its mistakes and course-correct.""

Can the Huffpo apply the same valueable insight and tell us what has happened with Dr. Rost? Has he and other blogger/commenters been censored by the Huffpo editors? Time to come clean like you did with Clooney issue."""

I haven't been banned, yet, but this could do it!


Anonymous said...

"Has he and other blogger/commenters been censored by the Huffpo editors?"

To refer to them as editors lends them a certain level of credibility which, based on the available evidence, they do not merit.

Same with referring to them as an online magazine, or newspaper.

What they are is an propagator/aggregator, and compiling site, nothing more.

They make enormous sums of money based mostly off the work of others.

They don't appear to be paying contributing bloggers, and yet themselves take in hundreds of thousands of dollars based on the appeal of those bloggers' works.

One might compare HuffPo to walmart, because truthfully they appear to be the Wal-mart of the Blogosphere. They certainly appear to take more than they personally give, and what they give comes at the expense of the credibility of liberals and progressives in general.

Anonymous said...

"One might compare HuffPo to walmart, because truthfully they appear to be the Wal-mart of the Blogosphere."

Good point, I also liked the "Jerry Springer" comparison as well. So, essentially, in terms of AH's aspirations, this was all about the money from the very beginning. Individualisum, progressivisum, liberalisum, are just footnotes to the company mission statement?

She did switch from Reps to Dems, but, seems like Reps are into the really BIG bucks. Maybe she has a conscience about how she makes her money. We do know she has a problem coming clean when first confronted with her mistakes. I'm hooked on how this plays out.