SEIU ads on Dkos

If you've been to DKos today, you've probably already heard about this. But if you haven't, I thought this needed to be pointed out. Right now, at the top of the Rec List, is a diary by flitedocnm discussing something strange going on. Seems that every diary dealing with health care issues, or at least the ones that have tags like “health care”, etc., are being hit with an auto-appended ad.

The ad is from SEIU, and of course is asking to be clicked, and their agenda supported. The problem is, this ad is placed in such a position that it looks like the diarist placed it there intentionally. But in reality the ad is being placed there automatically. It's obvious the ad is being placed there through some programming technique, but what isn't so clear is WHY. Of course part of the answer to “why” is to increase ad revenue, but the other issue is whether the “right or wrong” of this was thought out in advance.

I'm still waiting to see how the site admins, or Markos himself, responds to the complaints about this… and believe me, there are LOTS of complaints, running maybe 95% against. I'm not dumping on DKos, because as of right now it's not clear whether anyone realized how offensive people were gonna find this. I'm hoping they'll come back with, “What was I thinking?!”, and fix the problem. But if it's some new site policy where they can put up an ad anywhere they want, even if it makes it look like the diarist is supporting that ad's agenda, then there's of course a serious problem with that. I feel it's no different than editing the text of a diary or a comment to make it appear that the writer said something he/she didn't. Well, maybe not quite as bad, but still not good… not good at all.

Again, the main reason I'm writing this is not to dump on DKos. It's got a lot of good things going for it, and I don't plan on leaving there anytime soon (if I have any say in it). But there are obviously some issues about that site that get people riled up, and I wanted to give you all a heads up in case this turns into another one.

Of course by the time you read this, it's entirely possible that Markos or someone else will have fixed this, and the whole point of this little rant will become pretty moot. I hope that's what happens.

UPDATE: Just wanted to make it clear I'm not taking a position on SEIU or their healthcare stance. As far as I can tell, they're pretty close to where we want to be (public single-payer option), but not perfect. Regardless, that's not the point. Even if it was Amnesty International, GreenPeace, the ACLU (all of which I completely support), or whatever, it still wouldn't be right to append their ad onto a person's diary and make it look like that person supported the cause, when they may or they may NOT. 

 

16 comments

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    • ratmach on May 24, 2009 at 4:28 am
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    … but I’ve also got a lot of positive things to say about the site. I sure hope this SEIU ad thing is just a fluke.

  1. but affinity advertising has seen great appeal on the Internet. If posters on the site understand that its survival is contingent on ad revenue (try blocking ads through Firefox and read the screed you get) why is there concern about inventive advertising techniques being employed? It’s just business.

  2. As long as this practice continues I’ll never post another diary at DK.

    Until someone starts paying me for any diaries I post here, I will not tolerate having ads posted in the diaries I write.

    Kos earning ad revenue from the site: Spiffing.

    Kos earning ad revenue from MY DIARY: Not Spiffing.

    • Inky99 on May 24, 2009 at 6:44 am

    He’ll advertise for anything and anybody.  He let ads for Glenn Fucking Beck be on his sight for god’s sake.

  3. I was there earlier and tried to make sense of the complaints and getting nowhere fast.  The more comments I read, the more confusing.

    It reminds me of astroturfing, which is what President Obama’s email calling for support of his healthcare reform reminded me of too.  The three principles stated in his petition were not in line with anything resembling his campaign rhetoric about single-payer or public option. It was all about cutting costs — that’s a corporate buzz, not legitimate reform.

    This blurring of the lines between top-down astroturfing and bottom-up activism is something I anticipated last year.  I think we Americans have been more than clear about our expectations of the changes we seek.  Corporate special interests are attempting to co-opt our voices.

    And they can go to hell.

  4. or single payer, or an anti-SEIU position, will have an SEIU ad inside it.

    The money is now what matters more than ANYTHING else there, much like inside the Beltway.

    DailyKos has become just another part of the Establishment, which is why it screams with conformity at dissent from the Left.

  5. in a comment last night in a FP blurb, I forget where. I read numerous comments all over the place about it, and of course, Tim (the SEIU guy) had a response diary that was on the rec list.

    As I understand it… They did say it was a mistake, I think the ads were not supposed to be embedded in diaries, “it was a bug” of some kind. (right, and I have some swamp land in Florida to sell ya). I have not seen any kind of “apology” but if it had landed in a diary I had posted, Id want one.

    The Bosses are all away on holiday, long weekend, but some admins were able to step in and get it straightened out. After a couple of rec listed diaries and a lot of people YELLING LOUD about it, it was fixed, within a reasonably quick timeframe considering the holiday. Our gov’t should be so responsive. lol. Maybe someone should go write a diary about the efficacy of Yelling Louder. ha ha

  6. just up

    whatever…

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