Comcast Caught Astroturfing About "Big Ten" Channel

When will companies learn that astroturfing is lame? Never!

Comcast’s PR agency has been caught posing as fans on messageboards in an effort to spread their propaganda about the “Big Ten” channel. For those of you who don’t care about college football (this includes us) the Big Ten channel is a channel about Big Ten football. It’s causing some controversy because it’s taking games off of regular non-pay TV and putting them on a special cable channel. People who don’t care about Big Ten football don’t want to pay extra for Comcast to carry this channel and people who do care about Big Ten football don’t want to pay extra for it either. So it’s a channel no one wants to pay for, as far as we can tell.

From Fanhouse:

“Victory4MSU20” (post count: 1) pops up on Michigan State Scout site to offer this:

I’m a big fan of State sports so I went to the Big 10 Network’s kick-off party in East Lansing last week. Big 10 Commissioner Jim Delaney was there telling everybody how great this new TV package is going to be for college football and b-ball fans. WHAT A CROCK! Delaney is like the emperor who wore no clothes…the BTC has already sold its best games to ABC and ESPN. How delusional is Delaney and these other Big 10 greedmongers who want to charge us for the games we’d be able to see on our local cable station? If you want to learn more about the Big 10’s big time rip off, I found a web site that explains a lot…


Yes, that is the most authentic post ever. Luckily for us (who would have been fooled by this earnest poster’s use of common internet colloquialisms such as “greedmongers” and “b-ball “) the post has been traced to Martin Waymire Advoacy Communications. Whoops. Fail. Astroturfing is never cool, and all these various sports channel wars are bad for consumers.

Comcast Posing as Big Ten Fans in Anti-BTN Astroturfing Campaign [Fanhouse via Deadspin]


Edit Your Comment

  1. HeyThereKiller says:

    now THAT is comcastic!

  2. enm4r says:

    I care about Big 10 football, and I would not and will not pay for this.

    WHAT A CROCK!!?!!?!1

  3. killavanilla says:

    What a shocker.
    This is part of the whole ‘sports entertainment package’ comcast is trying to force down customers throats.
    NFL network is the real loss here for me.
    From what I can tell, Comcast is simply too greedy to offer viewers ala carte programming. They know that many fans will simply pony up the $8 a month and just NOT WATCH big 10, OLN, and BET Jazz. As a consumer of comcast’s services, I am furious and considering a switch.
    NFL network should be ala carte or INCLUDED.
    Comcast has the most expensive service in the area. Tell me again why I shouldn’t get direct TV or dish network?

  4. killavanilla says:


  5. Murph1908 says:

    As a Comcast HATER who recently switched BACK to Comcast due to DirecTV HD not working for nearly a year…

    DirecTV may be cheaper, but there are more outages and more instances of imperfect reception. Plus their HD is seriously flawed.

    I am taking advantage of a year of 1/2 price service from Comcast while I eagerly anticipate FiOS. (And no, I am not a Verizon troll, even though I properly entered ‘FiOS’)

  6. Xabora says:

    @killavanilla: Comcrap in the DC/Metro Area is around 100+ usd for standard digital cable.
    And about 140 for the biggest package.

    Kinda sucks because the only decent provider we have is DirecTV and they run around 50 usd for a standard package. :/

  7. surfphoto says:


    On the other hand, I’ve had DirecTV in my area for the past year or so and have experienced less down-time than my comcastic friends. I can’t argue that they have problems with their HD but the overall package, for the money, is considerable better than cable or DishNetwork in my opinion.

  8. elf6c says:

    I for one welcome our new astroturfing overlords!

  9. D-Bo says:

    All your Astroturfers are belong to us…

  10. theblackdog says:

    @Xabora: This is exactly why I am not getting Comcrap in MD, their prices are bullshit. $13 for the most basic package of network channels, PBS, and local stuff, then $53 for the next package? Screw that. As long as DSL will work in my 1930s era apartment, I can avoid the evil Comcrap plague.

  11. Illusio26 says:

    I switched away from comcast when I moved and never look back. I have enjoyed dish network at half the cost for a year now. Have only had a couple major outages (during some nasty storms). But overall have been pleased. Comcast is a bunch of greedy dirtbags.

  12. jca says:

    This type of “fake fan posting” online astroturfing campaign is also known as “Ashleeturfing”.

  13. BrockBrockman says:

    “VICTORY FOR MSU”???? Really, now. They’ve got to get better writers, like the ones the big corps use to stir the pot in the Consumerist comments section. Just a bit harder to detect.

    “The nye mets are my favorite squadron.”

  14. randalotto says:

    OTA HD thank you very much… I may only get 8 channels, but they’re free!

  15. mikewal79 says:

    -I live in Ohio and I can tell you this Big Ten network is nothing more than a bunch of greedy bastards!

    -First, we don’t need another channel that is only good for a few months out of the year.
    -Second, The Big Ten Network wants ESPN league money!

    This story has been all over the radio around here and its been reported that Big10 Network wants something like $1.50 per subscriber and therefore making it one of the most expensive channels on cable.

    As it looks now unless you have DirecTV, you won’t be watching the first two Buckeye games at your home.

  16. limiter says:

    I’m a big fan of consumer stories so I went to the blog Ben Popken was there telling everybody how great this new website is going to be for consumers. WHAT A CROCK! Popken is like the emperor who wore no clothes… the best consumer stories have already been posted on CNN and MSNBC. How delusional is Popken and these other consumer blog greedmongers who want to provide us with consumer coverage we’re already able get on our big generic news site? If you want to learn more about’s big time rip off, I found a web site that explains a lot…


  17. mconfoy says:

    @limiter: not funny

  18. mconfoy says:

    @mikewal79: whatever, more Michigan football is good. Less OSU football is good. What’s the problem here?

  19. Trai_Dep says:

    Hee hee. Ben, I think you guys have pissed off someone so badly (Wal-Mart, is that YOU?!) that they told their PR consultants to make an astroturf site.

    Aww, that’s so cute!

    Hey Limiter, if we bother to look you up, when we expose you, you promise to run naked around your office and post to youtube? Dangly bits a-hopping?

  20. ChaosMotor says:

    Okay maybe I’m thick but I don’t see what the point is here… Comcast has a new channel that basically screws everyone, and they sent a PR guy to fan sites to point out the fact that this new channel sucks and the fans are getting screwed? How does that advance Comcast’s agenda?

    Professional sports are the opiate of the masses. They steal mind-space, distract people from truly important issues, promote childish and irresponsible behavior, greatly reward people who contribute absolutely nothing of actual value to society, and mislead others into believing that they can obtain, and in fact deserve, ridiculous excess and wealth while providing nothing to anyone in return. Pro sports are a scourge and distraction from the declining state of our nation.

  21. msu2k says:

    This is the thread where the PR firm was outed by the fans:

    And here is the public apology from the PR firm’s owner:

  22. Scott says:

    Comcast is right about one thing; Big Ten Network sucks!

  23. ohlali says:


    I think you did miss the point about College sports not being proffessional sports.

    Other than that, this is pretty lame. Conference specific channels suck. I live in Provo, home of BYU, and last year was the first year of the MTN. a Mountain West specific channel that only runs on Comcast. It severly limited the number of people (including journalists who vote in the AP poll, coaches, everyone) who saw them put together a very impressive season. Half of their fans didnt even see it.

    The idea that these kinds of channels will be beneficial for the conference is ridiculous. Yes more games will be seen, more teams will get more television time, but whats the point if nobody will even see it?

  24. mconfoy says:

    @ChaosMotor: whatever

  25. mconfoy says:

    @ohlali: I will see more Michigan games with this channel, not less. That is the point. Why is this hard to grasp people?

  26. ohlali says:

    @mconfoy: I said in my post more games will be seen. What my problem is, is that making a conference exclusive channel and showing it on one network (comcast, not dish, not direct tv, not anything else) severly limits the number of people (including fans of that team) who see those games. So it doesn’t matter that more games will be shown if less people are going to see them.

    I agree with the concept overall. It is great to have a channel where you will be able to see all your teams games. BUT and this is a strong but, they are simply going about it the wrong way and instead limiting the ammount of people who will see those games.