I got a strange comment on my blog yesterday. It was on an old posting about the cost of the Olympic logo, see here.
Come on! It is not so bad! I am proud and excited about the Olympics coming to London. I found a good post about London Olympics. It looks like we are preparing well for this event! Canâ€™t wait!
I thought that it looked suspicious. The use of three exclamation marks has to be a give away. So I checked the IP address of the poster. Apparently â€œKingâ€ works for TradeDoubler who do â€œperformance-based digital marketingâ€. The comment looks like astroturfing to me.
It seems that Visit Britain, an agency of the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), has been paying a marketing/PR agency to astroturf a councillorâ€™s blog. It seems that some person at TradeDoubler thought that my aged comment might be negative and in need of a positive counterweight. DCMS give Visit Britain Â£48 million a year. It seems some genuis thinks that they are protecting the London Olympics with this kind of underhand crap, paid for by the public purse.
The London Olympics will be great but this kind of antic will mess them up. Stop now.
Update: According to an e-mail from Marcia Oliver, General Counsel of Visit Britain today (20th July):
I have made enquiries with VisitBritainâ€™s Digital Marketing Department and noone is aware of any marketing activity with Trade Doubler. Our Accounts Department has also confirmed that no payments have ever been made to Trade Doubler and it does not feature on our supplier list. We have absolutely no idea why Trade Doubler should be responding to your blog and providing a link to the VisitBritain site.
I guess I had better ask DCMS!