Can Someone Channel Ron Paul Supporter Energy For Good Instead Of Annoyance?
from the note:-this-doesn't-make-you-look-good dept
Strangely enough, the exact same phenomenon applies to Republican presidential contender Ron Paul. But you'll need a web browser instead of a mirror, and you only need to say his name once.
The online omnipresence of Paul's supporters is impressive to the point of being terror-inducing. Virtually any online poll in which Paul appears can be counted on to swing wildly in his favor — in the wake of one such incident, the National Journal begged Paul's supporters "please stop emailing us." Stories involving Dr. Paul make it to the front page of Digg on a daily basis, and any blog post that triggers a Google Alert for his name is sure to see a flood of comments arrive shortly thereafter.
Now some of his supporters have been caught promoting their preferred candidate using decidedly unsavory means. SecureWorks has released a report detailing the mechanisms behind a four day pro-Paul spam flood (one that we noted back on November 1). Apparently a botnet was employed to send unsolicited emails via infected computers, in much the same illegal style that's used to hawk pirated software and disc0unt v1agra.
Dirty pool, to be sure — and foolish on the part of the Paul fans behind it. The spam and rigged online polls aren't fooling anyone, and only make it easier to dismiss the campaign's online prominence as a the work of a handful of talented geeks. But there's no CPAN module that lets you create a blimp via Perl script; most of the pro-Paul comments left around the net contain enough context that they appear to have been written by actual humans; and incidents like the one that occurred at the San Francisco Republican Straw Poll make it clear that Paul's campaign has some real grassroots support behind it. I'm not buying Ron Paul contracts on Intrade just yet, but it would be nice to see his online armies knock off the transparent internet antics and start channeling their energy toward more productive — or at least dignified — ends. Unfortunately, as my fellow Techdirt Insight Community member and blogger Tim Lee has discussed elsewhere, the odds of this happening don't seem to be very good.