A while back I wrote a brief post on my attempts to stop credit card offers. Not long after, I received a comment to that post from someone named Kelset claiming to be a satisfied customer of Myjunktree, which is a for-fee service that removes your name from mailing lists, etc. The comment contained the phrase Stop Junk Mail, which was linked to the Myjunktree site.
Normally I wouldn’t have thought anything of it, but my spam-meter went off the charts when I received a comment a month later from Tim Henry, claiming to be one of the owners of Myjunktree. His lengthy comment gave some background on the company and a laundry-list of services they provide. Again, no issues with this comment by itself. However, the IP address for Tim was exactly the same as for Kelset from the previous month (188.8.131.52). Clearly there is some sock-puppetry going on at Myjunktree.
Further Google searching (1) (2) (3) yields many other examples. The pattern is pretty clear: in the June/July 2008 timeframe, a lot of comments start appearing on blogs from either Kelset or Garetjax claiming to be satisfied customers. They link to Myjunkfree using phrases like “Stop Junk Mail” or “Remove Junk Mail” to boost the website rank. Then in late August, another comment is posted from Tim Henry with his marketing message. You’ve got to assume that all these comments are somehow related to Myjunktree signing up with Fresh Start Studio in April 2008 for ‘identity, branding, website, and SEO’.
Some of my favorite bits of evidence:
- At Greenlivingtips.com, Tim Henry posts in comment #14 that he moved to Myjunktree and is really enjoying the service. Well, as one of the owners, isn’t that a given? Looks like someone forgot to use their “satisfied customer” moniker instead of the “owner name”.
- This question posted by Kelset to the Blogger help group, asking why he can’t see his blog, where he posts as ‘myjunktree’.
- This comment posted by Garetjax to, of all places, Matt Cutts’ blog. Oh the irony! Clearly they have no idea who Matt is and his role at Google. Still wondering why your blog isn’t showing up in search results?
There’s something sadly ironic about a company using sock puppets and comment spam to tout their junk mail elimination service. I can’t wait for their “prevent comment spam” solution – I’m sure my phone will be ringing off the hook when that is announced.