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May 11, 2006

Is It Too Early to Marketing-Spam This Movie?

Okay, my dear regular readers, my loyal Corpusculites, here is your chance to participate in the parliamentary monarchy that is this blog. You get to vote! Of course, I am the king so however you vote, I'm going to do whatever I want anyway.

Those of you who have blogs will know of the "comment marketing spam" phenomenon. Somebody does a blog-search on a phrase that indicates interest in a particular topic that relates, however absurdly, to whatever it is the comment marketer is trying sell. For example, somebody might search on "rising medical costs", and get a whole list of blogs wherein that phrase appears, then they go visit that blog and post a comment that usually takes the form of: "Interesting blog! Check out www.midnitemedicalinsurance.org for an interesting discussion of this topic." Of course, when you visit the site, you are marketed-to until your pants fall down. Or, it's one of those link-accumulator sites that makes money through ad revenue, I guess, that comes of large numbers of people hitting the site.

I delete these things regularly. It isn't such a hard job because I'm about a 10th Tier blog and so they don't pick on me as much as they might others. I get maybe one or two of these things a week.

Sometimes you get comments that leave you scratching your head. The comment seems to be coming from left field, you don't see how it relates to anything in particular, it might not even make a lick of sense. I hate to delete comments and try to avoid doing it if I don't have to, so I puzzle over these strange comments. Generally, if there is no link to another website I will leave them. I mean, who knows? Maybe this incomprehensible comment is the first piece of published prose of an undiscovered genius. Or, maybe the guy was just drunk out of his mind and thought he was IMing some chick he met on a sex site. It is not for me to say, generally. I like to encourage dialogue, even if the dialogue resembles First Contact between two alien civilizations.

So this morning I discover this comment in response to my post "I bin Havin' the Creeps". Don't bother clicking on the comment link; I include herewith the comment in its entirety:

Hey there, interesting blog... check out www.u93.org... I have found quite a bit of information concerning the way we handle terrorism.

Posted by: Bri | May 11, 2006 at 02:48 AM

Since it so exquisitely fit the standard "comment marketer spam" form, I at first reached for the "delete" key. But soft! I have to check this site out anyway. I mean, yeah, it fit the form, but what if...?

I'm not going to actively link to the site. Paste the url into your browser if you want to go there. In the meantime, I will tell you a little bit about the place.

First thing you notice is that it is a professional job. This isn't just some clown with An Urgent Message to pass on, proper html coding be damned.

Second thing you notice is the link line near the top of the page which reads:



Other links take you to the LATEST NEWS which apparently runs a search on news articles that (mostly) have to do with the movie "United 93", and to the PRESS ROOM for which you have to register to "gain access to the Media Room containing everything from movie trailers to photos and press releases", but it is at the RADIO RESOURCES link where we get our next big clue about what is going on here.

For College Stations

Faith Matters: A Muslim and a Christian discuss the questions that divide them and the answers that may bring them together.

Here is a 13-minute discussion between students Faizzan Ahmad and Dan Kopp. They address:

  • A response to extremist or fundamentalists groups
  • The idea of coexisting
  • Religious zeal as both good and evil
  • If religion can ever act out in violence
  • How their generation will make a difference

Feel free to download and pass along this MP3 file to friends, family, or co-workers. If you represent a radio station, this interview is ready to be used on the air.


For Commercial/Private Radio

Radio stations feel free to use the answers below as on-air features for local promotion of the film. These four questions were posed to experts and Christian leaders:

Dr. Douglas Culver - Professor of Old Testament and Semitics, Erskine Theological Seminary, South Carolina

Robert Schuler II . - Pastor, Crystal Cathedral Ministries, Anaheim, CA

Erwin McManus - Pastor, Mosaic, Los Angeles, CA

James Reitveld - Scholar of Religion, Claremont Graduate University, CA

Download all files in one ZIP...


So who's behind this site?

In the lower left corner of the home page we find: "(c) 2006 Universal Studios". And in the lower right corner we find: "Created By MOTIVE ENTERTAINMENT".

Following that link, we discover the story of MOTIVE. Herewith, some stuff from their site:

Motive was founded by Paul Lauer, who has pioneered the development, production, sales, marketing, and distribution of media, entertainment, and consumer products worldwide for the last 20 years. Lauer is also one of the most well connected entrepreneurs in the Faith and Family Market, having most recently designed and executed the highly-successful marketing campaign for Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" for Icon Productions.


Motive's strategy for The Passion was based on a unique system of highly effective marketing "formulas" that connect with consumers at a deeper, cause-based level, an approach which the company calls "motive marketing".

Motive can help you develop, market, and distribute your film (or other product or service) - whether it's an independent endeavor or a big company release - for maximum success, using targeted strategies to niche audiences.

Motive's entertainment division specializes in:

  • Film Marketing & Business Plans
  • Market Testing / Script Analysis
  • Publicity & Advertising
  • Grass Roots Marketing...

And so on. I'm especially fond of a link elsewhere called "The Faith Market".

"Grass Roots Marketing". Would those be the roots of grass located in the field United 93 vaporized when it crashed in Pennsylvania? No, they would be the grass roots living in the comment sections of blogs you've dug up by doing a search on the phrase "September 11th 2001".

So, my dear Corpusculites, the question has been called. Should I delete this comment? Vote or simply Speak Out. As I say, no matter which way the vote goes, I'll do whatever I want anyway. I am the king.

But my own view is this: since there is no active link in the comment, and since I've written this long post about it, I probably won't delete it. However, I am open to persuasion.

Is it too early to marketing-spam this movie to what they presume to call the "Faith Market"?

I guess not.


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Delete it. They're trying to increase their Google rating by being mentioned on lots of sites. Comments count. So every bit of comment spam helps them market their goddam product.

In fact, it's bad enough when pen!s-enlargement sites do this; for a "legitimate" enterprise to do it is reprehensible, and calls for public outrage. Certainly you shouldn't allow them to use your blog as one leaf on their marketing tree.

IMO. As you say, you da king.

Interesting question. I poked about in some search engines to see if I could find similar text, which would indicate the work of a spambot. However, I didn't find much at all, so at this point, I'd say that it's a real comment posted by a real person. Were I king for a day, I'd probably keep the comment despite my strong urge to use my Club With A Nail In It on all spammers.

Delete it.

Yeah, I Feel Your Pain, Xopher, but I dunno... I dunno... this evening I'm inclined to dump it with impatience, but I kind of like having this kind of behavior noted in public.

It's true it may boost its Google rating by not deleting it, but my blog isn't exactly Daily Kos or Making Light or anything so I don't know how much help that gives them. And, you know, I'd just like to state my repulsion at what this thing appears to be, and that's kind of hard to do if I delete the thing.

...so at this point, I'd say that it's a real comment posted by a real person.

Yeah. Maybe. I'm kind of making myself think that just because if I'm wrong that's less of a mistake, in my view, than making a mistake in the other direction.

It still feels like "marketing" to me, but I'm not 100%, or even 90% sure.

Delete it. This is marketing. Clever marketing, yeah, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. This especially:

However, the goal of this website is to enable the user to respond to the issues related to 9/11 with some knowledge, tools and effective actions, which could include the following:

* See United 93 and discuss the issues it raises.

I haven't seen the film, but reviews I've read say it's light on context, and that it raises emotions, not issues. They're enticing people to see the film by attempting to posit is as part of historical/political discourse, which is brilliant and devious, but I don't think it applies in this case. Or I'm just bitter because I still think the film was in poor taste and shoudn't have been made. Either way, the comment is unsolicited spam.

Also, did you notice that the forum on that site was suspiciously closed? So much for discussion!

Also, did you notice that the forum on that site was suspiciously closed? So much for discussion!

I looked in on the forum, but didn't realize it was closed -- I presume you mean "for new comments". Either that or they closed it off completely from earlier today. (I don't feel like going back and checking.)

Even so, I'm not surprised it's closed, judging by the amount of "they are rag-heads" type comments. It did not strike me as a particularly enlightening place.

And I wouldn't mind the "discussion guide" stuff so much if it wasn't so blatantly meant for marketing purposes. I guess I don't mind that sort of thing so much if it isn't so ham-handed.

Except I take that back a little... I mind it because they comment-spammed me (I think) about it.

You guys were supposed to make this easy for me. Instead you keep posting good arguments either way. I guess I wouldn't make a very decisive king...

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