Board policy about shills and suspensions
This may get removed for being guilty of telling the truth and so be it. If it does, those who have had the opportunity to read this might have benefited and if it does not, it will illustrate that no one is actually worried to let the truth out and allow a free flow of ideas, information and opinions.
Yes it has been revealed that the Mods have uncovered this agency(himself )blatantly posting using several different handles and those alternate handles were correctly banned.
Why was this agency not at least publicly reprimanded, by Merb, with a short suspension as a show of support for & credibility to it members, who are the real revenue generators, without whom this nor any board would not exist?
<paragraph about techniques and methods removed M4>
Clearly there are offending shills all over and sometimes they (Mods) actually catch a couple here and there but this pales as to how many there are. We hobbyists are in this hobby for variety, otherwise we would be monogamous with a single partner. Yes, some hobbyists have preferred agencies that we choose to deal with but almost all of us honestly play the variety game from time to time.
If a hobbyist makes reviews and only from a single agency but also makes comments about other people's encounters or other non hobby topics, this is an attempt to hide the fact that they only review the one agency and they are basically a shill. Check their posting histories carefully & you'll discover this. One such shill has chosen to comment in this thread. This should be the responsibility of this board itself to keep it clean of shills and not the responsibility of itís members. Do you go into a store and while shopping you are on the lookout for a shoplifter?
Another instance that occurs quite frequently is agencies that, all of the sudden, pop out of nowhere and one day they have a website made up and 5 or so ladies on staff, like EmotionMontreal has done. Do you really think that they have just appeared out of nowhere, had a site created and been able to find 5 or so ladies? Or is it maybe that they are really another agency that already exists with a new disguise? If this is the case, does Merb know? How is it that several agencies that do not advertise anywhere, appear with some stupidly insulting post, "Does anyone know or has anyone heard about ...."? Come on, get real guys, this is a shill for an agency and Merb should ban this action immediately but are they more interested in just having posts accumulated or keeping the board clean? By keeping the board clean of these bs posts, they are not able to show their paying advertisers the same volume of posts and consequently a reduced price will be demanded. One also must wonder why it is that the paying advertisers don't insist that their money be respected and demand that action be taken to clean the board of non paying advertising shills or are they complicit in this as well?
EmotionMontreal offered a bs special in the middle of the night, when virtually no one was awake, to take advantage of such a special, They did this to make sure that whoever was awake (I was and I laughed) would not really hurt them $$wise but they would ensure that when people arose from a night's sleep their posts would surely be at the top of the list of "Today's Posts" or "New Posts". This is an old trick done by shills for agencies & agencies themselves to make sure that they are at the top of the lists for as long as possible.
The premise of the post from Revolted69 is inaccurate.
The agency was publically reprimanded, at least three times. Revolted also says that MERB does nothing to catch shills. Clearly, this is also incorrect, as that is what we did in this case.
I removed one paragraph talking about techniques and methods. If he did care about catching shills, he would not expose these. I am sure he will call this censorship, because he clearly has an agenda, and his handle speaks for itself. Enough said.
This topic is about Emotion Montreal, not the management of the board. I will delete any other off-topic posts made here.
Last edited by Mod 4; 05-30-2005 at 12:17 AM.
thanks for the info Revolt69 which is very interesting point
but but.. according to what you said and simply checking your history I see this is the 1st and the only post you wrote since joining in Nov. 2004.
I don't want to be rude.... but can someone tell who Revolt69 is?
This dude doesn't sound like a newbie, he seems like an "insider" to the business who knows what he is talking about...
Last edited by MG_mtl; 04-20-2005 at 04:19 PM.
Ok, ok, I didn't say he didn't know what he was talking about.
just that his only post happens to be at this topic.. that's all.
I hope I didn't offend you or anything like that revolt69
Veteran of Misadventures
I appreciate that you let the rest of revolted69's post stand because I happen to believe there is a lot of truth to it.
With respect to revolted 69's suggestion that Emotion Montreal and XXXtase are linked and the existence of Emotion Montreal is nothing but a marketing ploy, let me share with the MERB community the following info. I have been carefully monitoring Emotion Montreal's activities online in the last 2 weeks. When I have seen the "Emotion Montreal" handle in the users online chart, I have clicked on it. When you do this, it enables you to see what thread the user is viewing online. And guess what? In the last 2 weeks, when this fraud is supposedly getting a so-called "new agency" off the ground, guess what he has been doing online?
Viewing threads on the agency XXXtase. Consistently.
Now I ask you, why would someone who is getting a supposedly new agency off the ground be spending most of his online time on MERB viewing the threads of another agency? I'll let you all figure this one out.
Emotion Montreal should have been banned. Mod4, 3 strikes and you are not out? What is that? To me its an invitation to further fraud of this nature. I realize that if people are giving a Board money it is hard to say "get the hell out of here", but really at some point enough is enough. The only positive coming out of Emotion Montreal's appearance on this Board was that it enabled me to expose a long time shill that everyone privately thought was a shill, except the mindless sheep that get prayed on by these shills.
I also want to give credit to a few posters, notably Special K, MG_Mtl, Maxima, and yes Le Cock Sportif (who exposed XXXtase's shilling before the Mods did) for not accepting the nonsense that is continually foisted on us by those who have no credibility. We need more posters to stop accepting everything that gets posted simply because it has been posted. Take a look at what is going on and don't reward shills and frauds or they will multiply at an alarming rate whether the Mods are trying to catch them or not.
Luckily, we have two very capable moderators and some very astute members who catch shills very easily. Sometimes, such as this case, the shilling efforts are very obvious, so a lot of us could see it as well. However, it gets difficult when the agendas being driven are done in much more subtle ways.
Having read Mod 4's response to Revolted69's post, it got me to start thinking:
First, as Mod 4 pointed out, does Revolted69 really want to catch shills? He's been registered since Nov. 04, and never once chimed in when other members caught the shills. Further, if he really wanted shills to be caught on this board, why did he go to such length to identify the method used to catch shills? Would that really discourage shilling if we shared with them one of the ways to catch shills?
Based on the information he put forth, this person obviously has a lot of info about all aspects of the industry.
I can tell you that he has been around much longer than his registered date would suggest. He's been monitoring other agencies' acitivites and other posters' posting history. Look again at his post. He went on to suggest that we look at the posting history of a member here, showing that he has been analyzing carefully members, agencies, and board management.
Many of us here registered so that we could learn from one another or share what little info we have when we can. This person seems to have a lot of info, yet not once did he post anything under THIS HANDLE up until now. Why now?
Further, as his handle would suggest, he may be revolting against board management here. Look at the registered date. Those who have a good memory know that it came after a major broohaha when some members' handles were banned for certain activities. His handle came into being not long after that.
Also, he prefaced his post by saying that it may get deleted,it indicates clearly that he was well aware that he might be posting something that would be shunned upon.
Just some food for thought.
Last edited by donnyb; 04-22-2005 at 01:20 AM.
With all due respect, SA, i think that you may have been a bit harsh in your comments regarding other board members' attempts at identifying board violators. Yes, it is possible that some may have taken the matter too much at heart and/or been wrong(?) about their suspicions/accusations, but, don't forget, their efforts were made in good faith and intended for the good of MERB. Let us not become too accusational against each other, guys, as it is counterproductive.
Veteran of Misadventures
Unfortunately, you, like most posters, just don't get it. What we have seen happen recently is that fraud gets rewarded. Basically every fly by night operation now has every incentive to slither out from under the rocks and engage in a fraud & shill campaign so as to draw attention to themselves. It's been proven to be successful, and it's successful because of posters who have the same attitude as you. And hopefully when this happens all of you will be punished for your sins, and punished where it hurts the most and the only place you understand it, in your wallet. I hope all of you go out and try every single 2 bit, fly by night agency that opens up and starts posting shill posts on this Board. I hope all of you are rudely parted from your money, because you deserve to be rudely parted from your money. Very soon, you will be drowning in bullshit and it will be just like the pre-Internet hobbying days all over again.
Fortunately, I have built up a reliable backchannel network over the years and will not have the same happen to me.
This Board's policy on agency shilling is like baseball's policy on steroids pre- Jose Canseco book. Publicly baseball frowned upon it; privately, there was no effective penalty, ever, because Bud Selig understood that home runs = increased attendance. In the case of the Boards, not just this Board, shilling = more posts = more business. It's really very simple, but most here do not understand and they never will.
Alright, guys, let's ease up on the personal attacks a bit. Obviously, it seems as if all the posters here will stick to their guns, and nothing will change their views. Let's just leave it at that and move on.
Let's try to sum up the main discussions in this thread, and continue on from here.
What was evident in all of this discussion was the fact that there was a shill effort by an agency that was easily detected way early on in the game. It was dealt with by the by mods. Many of us now see that clearly, and it's up to us if we want to deal with this agency in the future. Some may, and some may not.
Then Revolted69 chimed in with certain accusations, trying to rock the boat along the way by stirring debates among members on this board. Luckily, Mod 4 and several posters caught on to that as well. While a couple of people might have given some credence to his post, others--myself included, saw right through his agenda.
However, the one thing that I wanted to bring up here is that we sometimes take things for granted. In this case, it's our hard-working moderators. Being a moderator is an extremely difficult job. You can't please everybody, and more often than not, someone will be upset with your decisions, no matter in whose favor it may go. Furthermore, the job is a very time consuming, and yet, one does not get paid for it. As Mod 4 pointed out, he spends about 2 to 3 hours a day moderating.
Simply put, it takes a special kind of person to be able to do it well, as one needs to exercise a high level of self restraint while demonstrating impartiality.
I don't know the process involved in selecting the moderators, but I truly believe it's a very good one as we have two very capable moderators who were chosen.
It's human nature to want to be recognized for our hard work and contribution. So I just want to say that every now and then, it's wise to send a nice note to the moderators for their efforts. I think that would make them feel that their efforts are not wasted.
Since there hasn't been much public recognition of their efforts (Actually, I think that they have been publicly criticized more so than commended.), I would like to publicly say: Moderators, you're doing a swell job. I hope you guys stick around awhile so that this board could continue to improve. Thanks!!!
Last edited by donnyb; 04-23-2005 at 12:11 AM.
Originally Posted by Train
i agree with your above comments, Train.
Although i hadn't closely followed the EmotionMTL "file" on MERB, i had noticed last week that they had put out an ad in Le Journal de MTL and so i assumed that they were just another one of those "new kids on the block" so to speak, with at least a minimal degree of legitimacy and transparency.
My approach to such newbies is somewhat similar to someone who would complain of an ailment. I try not to pre-judge and instead i assume that the individual is telling the truth from the start, until it can be shown otherwise. I do not advocate taking too much of a suspicious attitude from the get-go against anyone new, thinking that maybe that person could be untruthful, because i think this has the potential of fostering bad relations with our partners in the industry. However, if the record eventually shows untruthfulness on the part of a new agency, then this must be denounced.
My 2 cents.
I was thinking the exact same thing the other day when reading M4's post in this thread. It is a thankless and unrewarding job and I'm glad some are willing to invest a few hours every day to do it. I'm sure they are doing the best possible job they can considering the means they have. Any critisism should be towards the owners of the baords, not the mods (unless they are one and the same). Also we, as members, are part of the problem if we continue rewarding the shills and the agencies that use those tactics by calling those agencies and giving them our $$$.
Originally Posted by Maxima
My 2 cents
Do you know more then we do here ? If you do, just spill the beans.
Originally Posted by Le Cock Sportif
BTW if they were getting something for this, then I'm sure they would have no shame in saying it publicly...
Originally Posted by Maxima
Originally Posted by Donnyb
There is only one thing we can say in response to this: THANK YOU
Originally Posted by MG_mtl
Since the software upgrade, M4 and I have had much better tools then in the past for shill busting, some recently discovered. Thanks to Fred for the tools, and M4 for asking the right questions.
Originally Posted by MG_mtl
We are not "one and the same". Fred is the owner of the board, gets financially rewarded by advertisements and the supported members program. We, the mods, are separate persons.
Have you ever heard about the word altruism? Doing something for others, in the interest of a community? Well... maybe not Feel free to ask Fred or whoever you can think of. We are not being paid in any way for this "job".
Originally Posted by Le Cock Sportif
Now back on topic...
It's obvious some agency owners are trying to play that game, and they unfortunately succeed to some extent, until they get caught. We strive to identify those shilling attempts as quickly as possible, and we welcome all the help we can get in doing so. Some of you have time to do cross-checking of writing styles, grouping the topics of interest of suspicious members, etc. Coupled with our ability to look for "technical evidence", I think this is great teamwork.
Originally Posted by EagerBeaver
Originally Posted by EagerBeaver
I don't need to remind you the rules about respect and name calling, do I?
Originally Posted by Smack Appeal
When you go at the store, you "buy" things and you don't really care if the store is being robbed or not. I agree, it's not the clientele responsibility. However, I think those boards (Merb and others as well) can not be compared to stores, but more to community services, something we all depend on and which is in our best interest to keep "clean".
Originally Posted by Revolted69
By the way, altough some readers take everything for granted, I don't think it's ever going to be possible to trust all reviews, not because of shills, assuming we could track them all down, but because of YMMV and different tastes. The reader always has an obligation to consider who is posting, and what their interests are, (both preferences and suspect interests) and draw their own conclusions. Although it's our responsibility to eradicate as many shills as possible, the members do have a responsibility to read and decide if they believe or not.
As we are playing with new tools at our disposals to identify shills, M4 and/or I may send PMs to some of you with simple questions to help us. Your help will be highly appreciated, and will result in faster identification of those to put on a black list.
Originally Posted by Maxima
Again, Thank you all
[Post Edited] Self promotion of agencys and of ladies,goes back to the Canbest days. There many good agencys that self promote on this board, its up to us to make a good choice. Most people can seperate the BS.
From the board's rules and posting guidelines:
2) Forbidden Activities:
iii) Personal attacks on others, flames, fights, name-calling, etc...
Frank, I removed your "funny" comments about other members of this board. First offense. The next offense will result in a suspension.
Last edited by Mod 2; 04-24-2005 at 12:43 AM.
Reason: Moderation Action - Posting guidelines