I was reading yesterday about how China apparently has 280,000 people who work full-time on China’s online reputation – including lots of social media.
It’s what is often called astroturfing – making everything look nice even when the way you are doing it is fake. (Incidentally in our reputation management we don’t get involved in commenting or creating fake strings of conversations – we think there are better ways to work on your reputation.
This is an article about online Chinese Astroturfing.
Incredible! More than 1/4 of a million people doing Reputation Management! We have just 14 people and we manage to do a lot of nice things for clients…. Not sure what I would do with that many people, but probably I’d be making more money doing it than they are…
Anyway, so I decide to see how good a job they are doing for China.
I Google ‘China’ and I see this:
Needless to say, I was shocked! Someone defaced their Wikipedia page (they changed the word China with ‘Chinkville’ and then Google cached the defaced version!
So I checked the Wikipedia page and found that it had actually been defaced for only a minute (they must have people with fingers on the trigger 24/7!) by a guy called Canoftuna (who has been banned from Wikipedia for vandalizing webpages) and then someone with the handle “S h i v a (Visnu)” changed it back.
Wow! it was only there for less than a minute, but Google cached it during those few seconds?! How likely is that?
Actually it makes perfect sense. Google gets pinged by Wikipedia (or blogger or wordpress, etc.) when changes are made. When it’s a popular page on Wikipedia it gets cached right away. Changing it back also sends Google a Ping but how seriously will Google take 2 notifications within the same minute – not very.
So if I had 280,000 people working on this I would have, say 1, or maybe 1,000 of them do the following. When someone attacks your Wikipedia page, revert it back to how it was, then come back after an hour or more and make an additional but more significant change – like adding a paragraph etc. Google would then be more likely to return and re-cache it correctly.
Actually if you have 280,000 people working for you, you could have them test various scenarios and find the ideal amount of time to wait.
So my dear Chinese army of Rep Management workers… let me know if you need any help. I noticed that you have the New York Times result for China pretty high up. They tend to criticize your country a lot. That can be lowered, you know…. (wink, wink)