Would Jesus Game Digg?
The United States Marines, the Mormon Church, and the Korean Department of Tourism are all paying Australian-based uSocial to game Digg.com for them, according to a blog post at the Los Angeles Times.
We covered uSocial last month, a company that charges about $200 to promote up stories on Digg.com, StumbleUpon, and Propeller using a team of paid, unnamed social news users across the world. The young founder, Leon Hill, says they’ve just now finished testing Yahoo Buzz, which he says gets better results than Digg because of how Yahoo promotes Buzz stories to the homepage.
It’s not surprising that marketers are utilizing the service to advance their own agendas, but the LA Times’ Mark Milian’s claims that the Marines and the Mormons are willful participants certainly are surprising and fairly disturbing, each for their own reasons. While the few and the proud, if the news is true, are manipulating a supposed democratic news source to advance favorable stories (i.e., propaganda), the answer to the famed question—what would Jesus do?—apparently is condone fraud (which is lying) to promote oneself.
The Apostle Paul did say he became all things to win men to Christ, and if you stretch it—really stretch it—one supposes that could mean a phony Digg user 2,000 years later.
Neither the Marines nor the Church of Latter Day Saints returned our requests for confirmation or denial of contracting uSocial to game (defraud) the Internet. Hill brags about contracting the Korean government in this release.
Hill says he ignored a cease and desist order from Digg.com because uSocial isn’t based in the US and his employees are “scattered across the world.” He fails to connect that a company wishing to sue him out of business only needs to sue him, not his employees, and now that he’s messing with Yahoo, an international corporation, his Australian immunity may be short lived.