Sunday, June 1, 2008

Kimkins Sockpuppets

I wrote a post a while back where I voiced my suspicion that many posters on Kimkins are in fact sockpuppets.

That suspicion was based on the unrealistic avatars they are using. Clearly, if you are not trying to lose weight, or the picture is not of you in the first place, you don't care that the proportions make you look heavier.

In addition to the avatars, there are also many posts by "newbies" and they all have in common that not only are they enthusiastic about the Kimkins diet, but they are also born cheerleaders from the get-go. They just don't sound like "real" people to me. I have spent 4 years on diet boards, and I just don't recognize this type of posts.

Some time back, someone found this ad on GetAFfreelancer:

Description: I'm trying to drum up some action at a weight loss/dieting forum that I am running.

Please only bid on this project if you are knowledgeable with weight/loss dieting because I don't want a lot of nonsensical posts!

1. Sign Up Under 5 Different Names

2. Average about 2 posts per day for each name.

3. The Different Names Should Be Talking To Each Other (yes you get to talk to yourself!)

4. Only Post On Topic. Weight/Loss/Exercise/Diet. (The Forum has different sections, make sure you are posting in the right section.)

5. If You See People Posting Who Are NOT YOU (I may hire more people to post and there may be other "real" posters as well.) Talk To Them Before Talking To Yourself.

6. Never Post Links.

7. Never Copy/Paste From Other Sites.

8. Each Post Should Be At Least One Sentence Long. And Each Day You Should Make At Least Two Long Posts (4 sentences or more.)

9. Make It Look Natural!

10. Make a total of 10 posts per day. At the end of the project each user name should have approximately (but not exactly) 60 posts each. For example one name may be 65 and another 55. You can make 5 posts in one day with one name and 3 on another and 2 on another. It's up to you. But you have to have 5 total names and a total of 300 posts between them. You have to use at least 3 different names per day. And do not go more than 3 days without using a name.

11. English only.

12. I recommend using the same password for all 5 names so you do not forget it. When you win this project I will send you the forum address and then you can sign up your 5 user names - Once you have done so - Please email me with the 5 user names so I can keep track of your work.

This is a 30 day project. So in total there will be 300 posts (10 x 30 = 300) ... But keep in mind when bidding that many of the posts will be short. You should not have to spend more than 15 to 20 minutes a day to complete this project.

If this works well and you do a good job - I will possibly hire you for another month of the same work.

This particular ad was not for Kimkins, but another unrelated diet board. But isn't it likely that Heidi Diaz has done the same? It's easy to put up an ad on craigslist or a Work-At-Home board. Not very expensive either.

While employing sockpuppets is surely unethical, I do not know if it's illegal. Not really important as Heidi Diaz has other more serious legal problems to worry about.

However, I feel sad for the REAL people at Kimkins that are interacting with sockpuppets. I would feel very betrayed if I found out that someone I had a long term relationship with on the internet was a "fictional character". Just as I feel betrayed by Heidi Diaz from her misrepresentation of herself as a successful dieter, even though I had little interaction with her myself.

No comments: