The New Marketing Gurus
Cyber bullies. They're the nasties who turn up to browbeat forum members and terrorize chat rooms. They are continually cantankerous souls who could use some lessons in manners and etiquette.
Everybody gets upset now and again, so what's the difference between a good guy getting mad and an Internet bully going nuts? As outlined on the what is cyber bullying page, the big difference is intent. But the adage, "actions speak louder than words" is a fitting answer, too.
The vast majority of people are not motivated by intent to harm, although they can exhibit those qualities temporarily. Everybody has good days and everybody has bad days. Humans are not immune to flaring tempers, combative behavior or rudeness every once in a while. Most regret their errors and take responsibility for them.
Conversely, cyber bullies know these human frailties and capitalize on them to terrorize others. Whether their strategies are ridicule and humiliation, or smear and defamation, these are not people who care about other people's feelings or well being despite any friendly pretenses.
Likewise, they do not care about truth or right or wrong, no matter how much they preach about freedom of speech. No, cyber bullies are people out for their own self interest. They act out of fear, insecurity and/or greed. In their eyes, the more destruction they can wage the better, and to them, the slightest provocation is just cause for attack.
Most people think of children's safety issues when they consider cyber bullies. But cyber bully techniques are evolving into a type of marketing strategy and employed as a way to unfairly oust competition.
In the case of the Site Build It Scam campaign, one band of bully bloggers orchestrated an attack upon SBI! and SiteSell in order to develop an income stream. They used bullying tactics to elicit inflamed responses (flame baiting), then corrupted each response into ridicule out of the twisted guise they were acting for the good of the Internet community. In this case study, white was made black, while black made themselves white. The motive? Self preservation, and bigger and better profits.
When the original SiteSell Review was written (a review written without actual knowledge or research), a few SBI!ers found it and responded disapprovingly. SBI!ers use Site Build It!, so know its effectiveness from personal experience. Instead of engaging in an open and honorable debate of the issues, the reviewer retaliated out of fear. Her mentors seized the opportunity for revenue production and coached her into launching a full-on smear campaign, stealing customers while pretending to be a victim.
In this case, the damage won't stop with the smear campaign on Site Build It!, though. This group of cyber bullies taught others how to do what they did with Site Build It! Scam and spread the word liberally across cyber space. Other people earnestly accepted the teachings out of an intense desire to make money online. They are too desperate to earn than to care about flagrant ethical questions or their own personal integrity. They learned how to use inflammation and defamation to their benefit and get the search engines to do their bidding. The Internet just dropped a notch or two.
Soon, you or someone you know may fall victim to this marketing technique, as it relies on the exploitation of Google's algorithm, not at all on fact or truth.
Because of this and similar uses of search engines to damage lives and unfairly harm upstanding businesses, some law makers are calling for Internet regulation. Such regulation is unnecessary when people insist upon being ethical and maintain their own accountability.