SierraTradingPost.com comment spam

Update 12-9-05. See comment #5, below

I had an exchange with SierraTradingPost.com recently about comment spam they appeared to be writing.

Here is the last letter I wrote to Andy Newlin, Online Marketing Manager at SierraTradingPost.com

To paraphrase our conversation:

I said: Your company is posting comment spam, which I don’t think is very endearing.
You said: No, we’re not.
I said: Yes you are, and here are 20 examples of it
You said: No, we’re not. That’s not us. Well, actually, you’re right. An adverstizing affiliate of ours is writing potentially deceptive ads in our name. So please apologize for saying that we’re writing comment spam.

You do what you think is best for your company. Have a nice day,

Lee Sonko

Below are quotes from our previous message exchange.

My first email to you:
——– Original Message ————-
I spoke with a customer rep on the phone recently about this…

I’ve recently seen several ads for SierraTradingPost.com on websites that look an awful lot like comment spam.

Some examples of this is here: http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-80105 and http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-124408

It reads: Joe – Check out www.SierraTradingPost.com, you can save 30 – 70%! :-)

I believe I saw that same message on a few other web sites as well but I could be mistaken. Maybe it’s just in several places on bikeforums.net.

I wanted to say that I would never buy anything from a company that uses comment spam as an advertising tactic. I might suggest that you more clearly label your ads in bikeforums.net and other places so that one does not mistake them for comment spam.

There are many other, more savory tacts you can use to advertise to the internet world.

You can find out more about comment spam here: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&q=%22what%20is%20comment%20spam%22

Thank you,
Lee Sonko
——– End of Original Message ——

Your first response to me:
——– Original Message ————-
Thanks for writing, and for your interest in helping Sierra Trading Post. This was not one of our ads that you saw, but rather people talking about us in a forum on the web. There are thousands of forums/blogs/personal websites on the web that we have no control over and can do nothing about. We employ only mainstream, accepted, advertising tactics, including paid search placement, shopping portals, and affiliate websites. Our affiliate program is parasite-free (http://www.sierratradingpostaffiliates.com/parasite-free.htm) and monitored continuously for non-compliance. Please let us know if you have any further concerns, and thanks again for your thoughts.
——– End of Original Message ——

My response
——– Original Message ————-
>This was not one of our ads that you saw, but rather people talking about us in a forum on the web.

Well Joe is rather prolific.

He has the 4th post in all of the following message threads:

http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-80115.html
http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-74863.html
http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-80288.html
http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-80418.html
http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-79602.html
http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-80148.html
http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-78444.html
http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-70933.html

And a few hundred more.

I’m thinking that makes you a liar.
——– End of Original Message ——

And yours
——– Original Message ————-
Thanks for letting me know about this (I’ll excuse the liar comment, but I would hope that you would apologize. I in no way lied to you) – I researched it more and it looks like this “Joe” character is the webmaster of bikeforums.net, so the owner of this website is doing it on his own. It looks like he has an affiliate account with us, I’ll contact him to let him know about your concern, and if he wishes to advertise for us, to please make it look more like an ad and not a forum post. Ultimately, however, I have no control over his website, and he can post whatever he wants to, just as you could put up your own website and say whatever you want to. I’m very willing to work with you on this if you can do so in an acceptable manner.

Best,
Andy
——– End of Original Message ——

6 Comments

  1. WTL says:

    If the person who is comment-spamming is an affiliate, then it would stand to reason that SierraTradingPost.com wouldn’t know about it until someone complained.

    Unless they are big – (like Google) I don’t think they could afford to have someone looking for someone misbehaving like that. So, if it is an affiliate, they should loose any money they made for doing that.

    If it is someone at SierratradingPost.com, then it is a different story. To figure *that* out, we’d need to see server logs and see where these posts are coming from.

  2. Joe says:

    Lee,

    My name is Joe Gardner, I’m the owner / webmaster of bikeforums.net. The “comment spam” you see was placed by myself, it is shown only in the search engine archive of my forums. It is also only shown between the 2nd and 3rd post of each thread.

    Andys last comment: … if he wishes to advertise for us, to please make it look more like an ad and not a forum post. Ultimately, however, I have no control over his website, and he can post whatever he wants to, just as you could put up your own website and say whatever you want to. … is 100% true.

    I can see where your coming from with the “comment spam” annoyance. I deal with dozens of forum spam posts each week on bikeforums.net. The last thing I want to do is appear to be a comment spammer. I’ll make changes to that Ad spot to make it look just a bit more like an Ad Spot.

    – Joe “not a spammer” Gardner
    http://www.bikeforums.net

    P.S. Andy, sorry for the troubles! :)

  3. Joe says:

    I lied, the Ad is showen between the 3rd and 4th post… :)

  4. Lee says:

    Thank you very much for your response, Joe. I look forward to seeing the revamped archive ad. I hope that the new ad generates even more click-throughs for you and more business for SierraTradingPost.

  5. Lee says:

    Update: 3 months have gone by and despite the promise from Joe from bikeforums.net and Andy at SierraTradingPost.com to change the site (see promises in the previous comments) and fix their spamming problem, nothing has happened.

    ***
    I recommend that you not purchase products from SierraTradingPost.com because they use web spam in their advertising.
    ***

  6. Lee says:

    I just checked and the deceptive posts have been removed some time in the last 2 years. :-)

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