Forget Astroturf, Fake Net Neutrality Commenters Popping Up Like Weeds

from the getting-silly dept

It's no secret that the net neutrality "debate" (on which neither side seems to be willing to address the real issue concerning competition) has become a high stakes game involving huge corporate interests pretending to stir up grassroots support for their position. Given the popularity of blogs, it's no surprise that the astroturf efforts would jump on blogs as a way to spread their fake grassroots messages -- but what may be most interesting is how some of these efforts seem to stick out. While some have taken to actively pointing out some of the questionable comments while wondering about who's paying them, what's more interesting is how various bloggers seem to almost immediately realize what's going on. In the last week, we've seen bloggers at IP Inferno and The Technology Liberation Front both become curious about some odd comments on their previous network neutrality posts. The comments are all against network neutrality regulation, no matter what the original blog's position is -- and all ring extremely hollow. None add anything substantive. All use silly usernames that almost appear to be someone trying too hard to blend in. To be honest, it's not at all surprising that some PR firm or whatever would think it's a good idea to waste money hiring people to do this -- but it's really impressive just how bad they are at it, and just how easy it is to spot the comments.

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  • identicon
    I, for one, 31 May 2006 @ 12:11pm

    The truth is..

    Rigorous scientific studies conducted at our institute have shown that 97.0122% of all internet users are against net neutrality regulation. Models constructed using state of the art bayesian extrapolation metrics have shown that such regulation would be extremely harmful to business and damage the already fragile economy leading to widespread food and house price rises.

    Prof. Vertrauensw├╝rdig

    Institute of Demographics, Information Online Taskforce

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Matt Schrader, 30 Jan 2008 @ 8:24am

      Re: The truth is..

      your statement has the slightest possibility of showing that when a biassed group of pollsters asks people, "do you want to have to pay extra for your internet because some big companies don't want to pay more money?" of course they will say they are against it. The problem is, that's not what neutrality is about. opponents say that imposing a neutral net will stymy growth. This is also false. Think about it. If you run a network, and it is filling up to the brim with data, you have two choices: 1, make more bandwidth. 2, prioritize traffic that 'needs prioritizing' i.e. people who pay extra. you'd pick option 2, because you get to make more money, and you don't need to invest any more in your infrastructure. WOW, go figure. The ISP chooses to do the thing that makes them more money and costs them less money.

      There will be NO future growth of the internet if this two-tiered net is put in place. the higher tier will simply take up more and more room on the net, until the lower tier is completely gone. At which point, a third tier will be put in place to re-re-prioritize traffic.

      It's arguments like yours that truly confuse the public into thinking they are truly doing the right thing by saying no to regulation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Curtis Breuker, 31 May 2006 @ 12:18pm


    It is interesting to see the anti-neutrality crowd spamming blogs in an attempt to get their message out. The problem is if they don't make each post convincing and actually fit the article people will know its bogus. Blogs are not like traditional media, here if you say something dumb like network neutrality is evil, people jump all over you and show you how you are wrong. If anything their propaganda will turn against them. They are better off with the traditional media and the clueless public.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    MItch W, 31 May 2006 @ 12:30pm

    Funny same people both blogs

    I find it funny that netchick and steven333 comment in both and similaryly and basically have nothing really to say. I work for a mobile tech support company and I must say that I see the crap telecos try to pull on mnay different levels. I love how this goes all the way to the bottom where techsupport tells people their internet is not working because they need more ram and/or a faster connection or something. Then I come out and find that the account is really just not properly configured on the teleco/cable company's end. I know that is a bit off topic but still. Are they going to blame someones inability to connect to the net on the fact that google did not pay for their part of the net next?


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mike, 31 May 2006 @ 12:45pm

    I think a vendor should be able to regulate their traffic according to their business model. If they fuck up and regulate the wrong thing they will piss off users and then have to deal with the drop in revenue. This will work it's self out..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Phil, 31 May 2006 @ 1:08pm


      that would work if there was actual competition. Where I am you can either get Comcast or Bellsouth. However you need to have a land line to get Bellsouth and then a satalitte dish for tv or you end up dealing with both anyway thus they still get your money

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Andrew Schmitt, 31 May 2006 @ 1:06pm

    Seen it

    It's not just net neutrality. I write on the state of broadbanc deployments from time to time, and they showed up on my site too early this May. The same IP address claiming to be in New Jersey, Texas, etc. I've even seen it on the technical

    I hate the idea of net neutrality legislation, but this covert posting nonsense is uncalled for regardless of which side engages in it.

    I don't like anonymity of the internet, and this is one reason why. There should be a trusted option so when someone posts as "george gilder" or "jim cramer" you know it is the _real_ guy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    FreakerHack17, 31 May 2006 @ 1:15pm

    Way off base o nthis one

    No no no. You are wrong from the point 1. Th3 0n1y w@y to r3@lly 1mp0rv3 the 1nt3rn3t is to m2ke $$$ from it!

    Vote against Net Neutrailty.

    :) LOL. (jk)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Craven_Moorehead, 31 May 2006 @ 1:15pm

    Stop making fun of my name! I really do believe in what I wrote!

    Matter-of-fact, I was recently discussing just this issue with my close fried, Seymour Buttz, and we both agreed that network neutrality is essential to continued unimpeded growth of the Internet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2006 @ 1:28pm

    arent we supposed to have fiberoptic cables to each of our homes at a 45mbps up and down rate? the government gave 200,000,000,000 to the telco's to subsidise it but it never arrived. i forget where i found this article, i think it was though. the main reason, one of the groups on the main board was the R*AA. faster downloads=more torrenting according to them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Duane Navarre, 31 May 2006 @ 7:10pm

      fiber to homes

      There is no need for fiber to homes, most major US cities
      have fiber running thru every neigborhood due to digital cable TV.

      All that is needed is coax to the homes to carry the
      same thing a coax DS3 carries .

      Here it is seen that a single coax channel on CATV can carry 6 mhz and that is what is typically used for a cable modem, Just one channel .

      If a multi-channel scheme like a DS3 was used which is
      28 DS0's at 64kbps each, much more bandwidth could
      be achieved . Some speed would be used for channel
      control of course.

      For rural areas deploy WiFi to water/cell towers and
      tall objects and call it done, done as a Coop they
      could file as a not for profit and dodge lots of fees
      and get massive write offs on costs .

      Most rural farmers are familiar with coops and if they
      had total control over it would be more likely to trust
      it as well .

      With VoIP over their Coop ISP they could save a lot
      on long distance and you can bet the newly reforming
      AT&T re-monopoly will be buying congress critters
      like there is no tomorrow .

      Duane Navarre

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Andrew Schmitt, 31 May 2006 @ 7:34pm

        Ill informed

        First of all, the coax that is used to reach the house is a shred medium, totaly unsuitable for use as DS-3 transmission.

        Also, a DS-3 is 28 DS-1 (commonly known as a T-1, about a meg and a half) and not DS-0's (which is 64kbs). In your example you would use a clear channel DS-3 which has no TDM whatsover. That is if it could work in the first place.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Patrick Mullen, 31 May 2006 @ 1:51pm

    Just one question. Can someone point me to a document (reputable) that explains exactly where the govt. gave the industry $200 billion dollars?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2006 @ 10:36am


      Can someone point me to a document (reputable) that proves the govt. didn't give the industry $200 billion dollars?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Just One Guy, 31 May 2006 @ 1:53pm

    ...adding noise...

    I don't think the point of these bogus comments is to convince anyone actually reading them. They are here just to add noise. At some point someone in congress will say "internet users are unanimously in favour of net neutrality", and someone will be ready to say that 13% of all comments on blogs (or some such percentage) are actually against, and even though THEY did plant these comments in, they will have proof for their assertions. Taken out of contest, they will be just as believable as if they were real

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Patrick Mullen, 31 May 2006 @ 2:22pm

      Re: ...adding noise...

      I would doubt that Congress or the general public cares about what is said on blogs. I also think if you took a poll of the general public on what net neutrality actually is, the leading answer would be the Internet in Switzerland.

      I read a net neutrality debate on Cynthia's site (IP Democracy) between a Wharton professor and a USC professor on the topic and the more I read, the less I could see in terms of how they were actually opposed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Patrick Mullen, 31 May 2006 @ 2:27pm


      So excess profits (whatever that means) equals the govt. giving the industry money? Boy, someone should tell Exxon.

      Course, maybe if you send me the book, that will explain it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Stoned4Life, 31 May 2006 @ 3:16pm

    Net Neutrality

    Congress will bend to/fro whoever pushes harder. Instead of throwing useless blog comments all over the net, they should just put that money to bribing legislators.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    acousticiris, 31 May 2006 @ 4:57pm

    The debate is confused...And it's partly our fault

    I *hate* the phrase "Net Neutrality", out of fear that at some point someone is going to use that exact language in a bill and we're going to have to leave it up to the lawyers to figure out how, precisely, a neutral internet should behave. (Is it bit by bit, is it at the application layer, is it judged by the performance of the service?)

    What we don't want:
    1) Google and others to be "shook down" by the now monopolistic big telcos, in a sort of mob-like insurance scam "pay us, or we degrade your packets".
    2) Google, Microsoft and Yahoo!, who would end up paying the "premium routing" fee now having priority over everyone else, making it difficult to compete with *them*.
    3) The telcos to become the content providers by offering sub-par content, but traffic-shaping everything around them to make it the only content that "works".

    The solution isn't uninhibited neutrality. The network already isn't neutral, it's "best effort" but managed. And it will be more "managed" as new technology allows.
    Some examples: caching proxies, throttling of a spammer's e-mail, or a botnet, dynamically cutting off a user's virus/malware infected Windows box.

    Accounting for "non-evil" network management in a neutrality bill will introduce loop-holes by which big-telecom will send their shiny suits out to argue in front of a jury of 12 non-techies that they are in compliance. Unfortunately, our lawmakers aren't creative enough to codify all of the possible gray areas. This is made worse by the pace at which technology moves vs. the pace at which congress moves (lightning vs. the dead snale stuck under big rock in the middle of the desert).

    The DMCA, COPA and the CDA were all solutions to "internet problems" via regulation. Who doesn't want to protect young children from porn, or encourage folks to purchase, rather than pirate, an artist's work?
    Of course, the tech community knew when the first draft of those bills was printed that the unintended consequences would be *vast*. And they are.

    sagecast's statements bear repeating: "... Net Neutrality has been the rule that has governed access to the Internet since its inception. It's the reason that the Internet has become such a dynamic force for new ideas, economic innovation and free speech. What [the big telcos] really want is for Congress to radically re-write our telecommunications laws..."

    That's the center of the issue. It's not that we necessarily need a new regulation enforcing "net neutrality", it's that we need to stop the big telcos from rewriting existing regulations in a way that lets them find new revenue streams by going traffic shaping crazy.

    But on our end, we need to stop talking about such a complex issue in two word market-speak. Such a simplistic definition does not make the non-geeks amongst us understand the problem any better. And the geeks amongst us are being confused into thinking that issue *is* simplistice and doesn't require a little thought.

    ...For disclosure: I am employed by a telco (though, not "them"). I don't know what my company's feelings are on this topic, and do not speak on their behalf.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Gary Scott, 31 May 2006 @ 8:04pm

    Net neutrality

    200 Bill number came as follows: In the early 90's Al Gore and Bill Clinton came out with a proposal to have the govt fund "fiber to the home". They felt that in order for the US to compete with the rest of the world we needed the most advaned telecomunication system on earth. The telco's agreed but said it was there role to supply it. They than offered to wire the country with fiber but they needed some help. 27 states came forward and offered tax breaks to fund this program. Over the last 15 years those tax breaks have amounted to 200 Billion. Do you have fiber in your home?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Peter Dow, 31 May 2006 @ 9:26pm

      Re: Net neutrality

      I currently have Adelphia cable (it *is* cable, not fiber), but Verizon was all over the neighborhood a week ago stringing fiber (I talked to one of the guys). At the moment it terminates in a black box up on a phone pole in the alley.

      The Verizon website offers 3 speeds using FTTP (fiber to the premises - their acronym) but near as I can tell it was just for internet; the Verizon guy said they'd be offering internet, cable tv and phone service over it.

      And a friend in Kansas already has all that via ComCast. So some of them are doing it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mike (profile), 1 Jun 2006 @ 1:43am

        Re: Re: Net neutrality

        Verizon was all over the neighborhood a week ago stringing fiber

        What Verizon is offering is nowhere near what they promised to get the subsidies. It's a much more limited version of fiber.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Clair Ching, 2 Jun 2006 @ 12:43am

    Alternicks - the bane of mailing list mods - can't help it. People do have the freedom of speech. Banning them probably won't help much. I think this would be some sort of a numbers game, as people pop up and say their 2 cents' worth on the matter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    weez, 19 Jul 2006 @ 5:39pm


    You too can participate in a literal marketplace of ideas...


    Grassroots support for mere pennies a day.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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