Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Attention Joe Clayton: Can you call off your comment spammers?

Anyone who's followed the consumer electronics industry knows Joe Clayton. He was a vice-president at RCA in Indianapolis for years, helped to set up and then ran DirecTV, moved into the telecom industry to run Frontier and Global Crossing, came back into media as the head of XM Satellite Radio, and was appointed the president and CEO of DISH Network last June. Joe's very well respected in the industry, but something that DISH is doing is causing me to lose respect for the company, and he can stop it with a single email.

Whenever I post a story about any player in the home video business, such as Netflix, Redbox or Blockbuster, I get comments on the post that are very similar in tone and style, although they're always posted by different people, or at least, people using different identities. My most recent post, on Redbox's latest announcements, got this reply, from someone named "gman":
I agree that “they” have a lot to do in the meantime, but they seem confident that it can be accomplished in the next 6-10 months. Critics aren’t as confident they will be as successful compared to Netflix who has been butting heads with people like HBO and Starz. I do not intend to cut the cord anytime soon, mostly because I get my programming from my employer, Dish, but now that I get the Blockbuster @Home for $10 a month with my TV service AND it includes over 100,000 titles streaming and for disc rental I know that I have something special. The combining of these services is what pleases the distribution companies and I benefit from current TV programs, so win-win.
Notice how the comment starts as a legitimate input but turns into an ad for Blockbuster @Home. Notice also the mention of DISH as the commenter's employer. All of the suspect comments say that the commenter works for DISH, which as you may know, owns Blockbuster. However, the comments never directly acknowledge that DISH and Blockbuster are the same company. Given the similar wording and contents of the comments, there's no way that they're not being written either by DISH or by contractors working for DISH.

If DISH wants to buy advertising space on this blog, I'd be happy to sell it to them, but they'd rather get it for free. I review every comment before it's posted, and I've caught and deleted all of the promotional DISH comments before they've gone live. I'll continue to do so. As far as I'm concerned, it's cheap and sleazy, and puts DISH at the same level as spammers selling fake Viagra. None of DISH's competitors do the same thing, at least to my blog.

Update, February 12, 2012: Apparently, this post really pissed off the DISH spammers who I called out. They didn't have the courage to actually respond to my charges, but they rated the post "one star", hoping that it would deflect potential readers. So, I touched a nerve. I expect to touch a few more in the coming weeks.

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