August 8, 2006 at 2:01 PM #7142
Check this posting out alleging covert public relations activity on Craigslist. Is this happening in the RE forums as well, with so much at stake? Hmmmm…!
City of San Francisco | Indymedia
I Was Hired By SF to Delete Postings
Friday Aug 4th, 2006 1:31 AM
PR firm hired to flag and remove content that defamed SF
I Was Hired By SF to Delete Postings
Reply to: comm-189951276 [at] craigslist.org
Date: 2006-08-03, 9:35PM PDT
I work for a marketing company called Tomkins and Scott LLC. We are not a typical marketing company. Many of our campaigns involve what is known as “black PR” – a covert type of marketing campaign designed to influence and sway public opinion through covert means. Although many of the techniques we use are not specifically in violation of the law, the fact that many of the clients we have give us money for black PR campaigns is.
I have decided to come out and tell the public about what my company is doing because I believe it is unethical and wrong.
Several years ago we received a contract from an agency with the city of San Francisco. The purpose of this contract was to block the spread of any information which spreads a negative light on the city, or might adversely affect its burgeouning tourism industry or robust real estate market.
Members of the agency were concerned about community forums like Craigslist which are read by millions of people. Our job at Tomkins and Scott, my job specifically, was to monitor Craigslist and summarily flag all postings which reflected negatively upon the city in any way. I am going public with this because, after 3 years of being a censor for Craigslist, I believe what we are doing is totally wrong.
I can tell you that the agency of the city of San Francisco which contracted us is not the only government agency to be engaging in black PR operations. If you knew the full list of agencies hired by us and sister firms you would be absolutely shocked. If the average citizen understood the extent to which the information being presented to him or her is being filtered and skewed they would be up in arms immediately.
Information is power and the powers that be fully realize this, which is why they are willing to devote multi-million dollar budgets to covert campaigns like ours to distort and funnel public perceptions in ways that they consider appropriate. Nothing could be more fundamentally poisonous to a democratic society than the blocking of free and open exchange of information and ideas.
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Sounds like bs to me, but who knows. Didn’t find anything on Snopes about it, so I submitted it.August 8, 2006 at 2:29 PM #31297no_such_realityParticipant
Bs, and Craigslist already removed it.
Of course, the poster didn’t really do anything did he. He can’t remove other poster’s comment. All he could do was identify them in his internal report.August 8, 2006 at 3:24 PM #31308DoofratParticipant
On Craigslist, if enough posters flag a comment, it is automatically removed, so this is theoretically possible, but very very unlikely.August 8, 2006 at 3:34 PM #31311lindismithParticipant
I could find no such PR firm in google, but you can see references to it being discussed in various forums.
Amazing how the web works.August 8, 2006 at 3:52 PM #31318
At the very least, it gets people thinking, and perhaps, becomes an urban legend. 🙂
What’s interesting to me about this situation, is it mirrors accusations over the past year aimed at technology companies and tech hardware forums. In that case, it was concerning certain big technology companies with fierce competition hiring PR firms to post positive info on the big tech forums about their products and refute negative postings.August 8, 2006 at 3:58 PM #31320powaysellerParticipant
If this guy is a whistleblower, he would either report this first to some government or legal agencies, or post his name. Mysterious announcements of wrongdoing could be bogus, so until this guy establishes some credibility, I am skeptical of this post. While this stuff is certainly possible, did it really happen?August 8, 2006 at 4:09 PM #31325sunsetbeachguyParticipant
My vote is yes, housing bubble blogs have paid posters for the RE industrial complex.
I think it is particularly the case with how under-employed most RE agents have been lately.
I cannot prove it because I am sure Joe Sixpack is dumb enough to ask the stupid, leading questions that pop up from time to time.
A typical post would be:
Hi, I am new here, so please take it easy on me.
I agree we are in a bubble, but you people don’t realize how many investors there are waiting in the wings with multi-million dollar war chests.
This thing will drop 10-15% over the next 12 months and they will be buying up everything and we are off to the races and you will still be priced out.
The posters, BW, Implosion and Waiting to Pounce on Ben’s blog fit that bill.
Hell even Realist at John Doe’s So Cal RE Bubble blog fits that bill, see the most recent post.August 8, 2006 at 4:30 PM #31328
You’re right PowaySeller. If it’s true and he/she had proof, One would expect him to retain a good qui tam attorney and go after some $$$ rather than come forward publicly with a “concious-clearing” statement…thereby killing his chances at monetary gain. So very un-capitalistic! 🙂August 8, 2006 at 4:31 PM #31329
But still…I sure do enjoy a good conspiracy theory that might be true. 🙂
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