This should piss off anybody who runs a blog, be they left, right or center. Because while “astroturfing” is a pretty common practice in comments sections, giving people incentives to spam is not only dishonest, it smacks of desperation.
Spread John McCain’s official talking points around the Web — and you could win valuable prizes!
That, in essence, is the McCain campaign’s pitch to supporters to join its new online effort, one that combines the features of “AstroTurf” campaigning with the sort of customer-loyalty programs offered by airlines, hotel chains, restaurants and the occasional daily newspaper.
On McCain’s Web site, visitors are invited to “Spread the Word” about the presumptive Republican nominee by sending campaign-supplied comments to blogs and Web sites under the visitor’s screen name. The site offers sample comments (“John McCain has a comprehensive economic plan . . .”) and a list of dozens of suggested destinations, conveniently broken down into “conservative,” “liberal,” “moderate” and “other” categories. Just cut and paste.
So…if I see this type of astro-turfing from either side, I’m going to delete it. Nobody will use this blog to copy talking points, and especially not to earn prizes.
I hope my fellow moderate bloggers will do the same.