I’ve read a couple of places now about the Israel paid blogging thing (see Inky’s diary here on this) , but this is not just relating to Israel, but to all sorts of paid bloggers, consumer issues, and much more — it’s related to money and it’s influence on what we read. Various industry groups, and corporations have been caught out paying bloggers or web site to shill for them, but many more have not been caught.
A few years ago, my car rolled and fell off a cliff-my family and I were all very lucky to survive, it rolled again on the way down.
Later, I found a web site where a few other owners complained because their cars had also rolled. Then the posts disappeared. Then the website itself went away.
Here’s another example of how money influences what we read on the web: after a Winter Rabbit diary here I checked the history of the Dismal Swamp Canal, as it was tangentially related, and I wanted to through up a quick history. Turned out, I could find one– on web site after web site (most sponsored by VA and NC tourist interests, but including wikipedia) , the canal is described as a fairly wonderful place that slaves used to escape through.
A fairly typical web site (Camden County, NC which Google ranks #2 on a web search) :
Most of the labor was done by slaves hired from nearby land owners. It took approximately 12 years of back-breaking construction under highly unfavorable conditions to complete the 22-mile long waterway. By 1805 flat-bottomed vessels could be admitted into the canal, where tolls were charged to allay the continual expense of improvements and maintenance.
In fact, it was a wee bit worse than “back breaking” — the canal (which was partly owned by George Washington) was built mostly by slave labor, under horrific inhuman conditions, and untold numbers of them died during it’s construction–which took 40 years.
So, paid bloggers, that claim to be real people? Check. Web sites that whitewash history? Check. Disinformation on Wiki? Check. Web sites that delete posts that a major automaker objects to? Can’t prove it, but I’m sure that’s what happened. Web sited that are disappeared? Yep.
Update: A company pleads guilty to placing false reviews on the web: