Corporate guerrilla marketing efforts are getting more sophisticated, as well as more annoying. A Consumerist-reading blogger is under constant commenting attack from either paid Home Depot plants or a well-organized squadron of people with a lot of spare time on their hands who really, really love to defend the big box chain’s honor. And who share the same IP address.
Stuart says Home Depot shills are attacking his blog, ToolGuyd, with spammy comments and fakey product reviews.
It looks like Home Depot or an agent for them is leaving fake comments on my blog. I was wondering if you had any advice as to what I should do about it.
Right now I am absolutely furious. A few days ago someone left a seemingly honest review in response to a rather harsh post I wrote about a new gimmicky tool Home Depot’s Husky brand just came out with. A reader left a comment about the review, which at the time I thought to be honest. I then wrote up a second post conveying that perhaps I was unfair in judging the new tool a bit too harshly.
Over the weekend I documented a few of the other new tools Home Depot has put up on display, and I wrote about them in a post today. A few comments went up, discussing some of the tools I had been critical about. One of the commenters even responds to the other.
I then notice that the three comments originated from the same IP address. IP addresses are automatically collected when a reader leaves a comment. Different names and email address were used for the three comments, but the evidence is rather conclusive.
So… obviously I’m furious. So what should I do?
Any advice for Stuart?
UPDATE: A rep for Home Depot has sent the following statement to Consumerist:
To clarify, we do NOT allow any such activity and are investigating the claims made by ToolGuyd. We have a social media policy in place for all employees at The Home Depot that clearly does not allow any kind of misleading tactics such as these suggested here. We instruct our associates “If you are discussing The Home Depot, you should always identify yourself as an associate of The Home Depot.” And “Never communicate any false or misleading information.” Our brands, agencies and other third-parties working on our behalf are expected to abide by these same guidelines, including “I will never ask someone else to deceive bloggers for me”. Thank you ToolGuyd and the team at Consumerist.com for bringing this matter to our attention. If we find anyone in violation of this policy we will take action immediately.