Retailer recruits community to spam deal sites

Many of you know that I run a shopping community site. It is something I love doing. I perfected the idea for many months until after several iterations I came out with something that worked. It is a lot of fun. We have a very closely knit and dedicated community of bargain hunters who are eager to share hot deals and money saving tips with everyone, and are doing so daily.

As much as I love being the enabler and a part of Buxr community, the job comes with some responsibilities that are as distant from bargain hunting as they can be. I am talking about fighting spam. So far the incidents have been fairly rare and easily identifiable. Say, what would you think if a member with an account created within the past hour submitted a low value coupon or product linking to an obscure overseas based online store? Naturally these submissions are easy to spot and remove as they are nothing but noise in the eyes of the shopper.

The latest trend however is very alarming. I just received an email from one of our members who claims to have been solicited by representatives of a relatively well known online electronics retailer and was offered a so called “part-time job”. The responsibilities: post the retailer’s products on deal sites for a flat fee $3 per post, paid out via Paypal on a monthly basis. Here is an extract from the exchange between the member and a store rep:

store rep: this is our best seller these days, and at the lowest price now and please help us to make a post there, then show me the link of your post
member: I see…so I post this product on [the deal site], right?
store rep: yes
member: just this one or any from your site?
store rep: hmm, well, you can choose one from our site
choose the one you think it is really a deal
member: and then send the link to you, right?
of the deals post
store rep: yes correct
member: what about the approval form?
store rep: no, this is just a deals post for our product
member: oh
store rep: or if you want to take this part-time job, you can continue to make deals posts about our products
member: alright
store rep: then we wil pay you according to the quantity of the posts
member: i see, the more the better, right?
store rep: yes

I redacted all the identifiable information in the extract since I don’t think making such a strong claim as this w/o proper independent verification is appropriate. My source however is very credible and I have no whatsoever reasons not to trust it. So w/o naming anyone (yet), I want to send the word out, so you guys who run other deals sites and forums can come out and share if you had similar experience recently. Please contact me at the email on my about page, or just leave a comment to this post.

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1 Response to “Retailer recruits community to spam deal sites”

  1. 1 Couponsophy Aug 16th, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Thanks for writing about this. If you find out any more info, I’d be interested to know about it. This problem (spam in general, but retailers hiring spammers also) is why I don’t like sites where anyone can post a deal. I think the potential for lower quality is too high. I know some sites make it work very well, but just my opinion.

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