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MGM: Blog Spammer

MGM is systematically using dishonest blog spam to promote a DVD.  I’ve caught them twice, which means there are probably many more examples.  (I did give them a week to respond to my request for more info before I posted this).

Remember:

  1. Deceptive stealth marketing will always be exposed.
  2. Read the WOMMA Ethics Code and learn the rules (which are: never lie, never hide your identity).
  3. You embarrass all legitimate marketers who understand honest blogging and blogger relations.  We aren’t going to let you damage our reputations.
  4. A public apology and a formal commitment to end this practice is required to clean up your reputation.

Here’s the MGM blog spam story:

1. I found this suspicious comment on this blog post (it has been deleted).  It used a fake name (“Jamie”) with no link.

clip_image001

3. I emailed them at cuttingedge3@gmail.com

4. I get a response back from an MGM PR flack.

From: Floramae Yap [mailto:fyap@mgm.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 27, 2008 1:22 PM
To: __________
Subject: Re: i want to know more about the movie

Thanks for your interest in the movie. Attached please find the press release, box art and key art for THE CUTTING EDGE: CHASING THE DREAM. It is available on DVD Tuesday, April 1st. It was also shown on ABC Family March 16, along with the previews Cutting Edge Movies, The Cutting Edge and The Cutting Edge: Going for the Gold.   Please let me know if you have any other questions.
Best,
Floramae

| FLORAMAE YAP | Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. | Field Publicity & Promotions |
| 10250 Constellation Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90067 |(direct 310.586.8260 |
| & fax 310.586.8866 | * fyap@mgm.com | AIM:maimai1636 |
On 3/27/08 11:17 AM, “MGM Publicity” <cuttingedge3@gmail.com> wrote:

5. Here’s another example of MGM blog spam, using a fake identity to promote a MySpace page.  They posted two comments to this blog. Here’s one:

image

P.S. If you find more examples, post them in the comments.

Email to a friend:

Privacy: We won't save or reuse these emails.

Comments

  1. John from TheDisneyBlog.com April 7, 2008 at 9:18 am #

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen comments like this (hopefully less frequently as I’m now on WP using Askimet). But for every blogger who patrols their comments for spam, there are 10 who don’t. Obviously it’s a working business model. I don’t think we’ll ever convince 100% of bloggers to patrol their comments, so we have to do something else to make the business model of spam too costly to continue.
    Any ideas?

  2. Andy Sernovitz April 7, 2008 at 10:08 am #

    What makes me so angry about this sort of spam is that it’s corporate-funded and sanctioned. It isn’t some clueless kid trying to promote their web site — it’s a global corporate willing to publicly lie, deceive, and cheat.

  3. Rachel Clarke April 7, 2008 at 10:19 am #

    The question I always have with these things, is it the company or is it the agency? I’ve done promotion and outreach programmes before and had to keep reminding the agency we were using to be open in honest in the comments – ie say who they were and why they through the blogger would be interested in what they were posting about. Despite repeated warnings, it took a while before they go that. It’s the value to the blogger that counts.

  4. Andy Sernovitz April 7, 2008 at 10:23 am #

    That’s a good question. I blogged this one specifically because it clearly is the company – the email reply was from a full-time employee – no chance to blame the agency.
    Important: Companies that hire agencies to spam for them don’t get a free pass. It’s still sleazy deception.

  5. Bob Troia April 7, 2008 at 10:34 am #

    Andy,
    Not sure if this was done in-house or not (most likely by an outside agency), but as long as brands are willing to pay for shilling there will be not-so-ethical firms happy to take their money.
    Until brands are held directly responsible for this sort of stuff, if/when they get caught, they will continue to simply say they had no knowledge of what was happening and deflect blame to the agency.

  6. Andy Sernovitz April 7, 2008 at 10:41 am #

    This was definitely not an agency. The fake email address was answered by an MGM employee:
    | FLORAMAE YAP | Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. | Field Publicity & Promotions |
    | 10250 Constellation Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90067 |(direct 310.586.8260 |
    | & fax 310.586.8866 | * fyap@mgm.com | AIM:maimai1636 |

  7. Jesse Thomas April 7, 2008 at 11:08 am #

    that is just lazy… and they didn’t offer to send you the dvd of the crap movie!
    have you seen the real time analytics stuff? that could help with this policing, and create more of a paper trail. I guess talking to a spammer in real time is like confronting someone dropping a flyer at your door step. Real time analytics is like putting up a video camera to monitor your house..
    http://www.jess3.com/blog/2008/03/woopra-analytics-20.html

  8. John Whiteside April 7, 2008 at 8:57 pm #

    I wouldn’t be sure it’s not agency-derived; the “employee” responding could be a contractor, or someone responding to inquiries from an agency-created program. That doesn’t excuse it.
    I tend to believe stupidity is more common than malice, and we sometimes forget that there are a lot of marketers out there who really are unfamiliar with this stuff. When they get bad advice, it’s trouble.
    You gave them a week to respond? That was there chance to say, “Oh crap, we didn’t realize how bad this was.”

  9. Jake McKee April 8, 2008 at 3:14 pm #

    John, agreed about stupidity (or lack of knowledge) being more common than malice. But perhaps that’s the problem…. a clear lack of thought.
    My guess is that this person is absolutely an MGM employee, but one who simply didn’t think. If you have two seconds of thought about this approach, you’ll realize it’s dicey AND ineffective.
    I’d also guess that there’s not any involvement from the agency, but the fact that we assume the agency (whoever that might be) is just as clueless is yet another reminder of the state of the agency industry. They no more are able to warn off their clients than they are able to understand this stuff themselves.
    Either way, this is was waste of time for MGM on so many levels.

  10. rachel beer April 14, 2008 at 10:34 am #

    what i really hate about this is how it’s only helping them achieve their goal even more – almost proving it’s good to spam!

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