Online chat exposes potential for exploiting Reddit

Are black hat social media marketers abusing Reddit’s blacklist policies to get rival brands barred from the forum? The chat might be bogus, too, but the perils for legitimate brands could be quite real.

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First, Reddit began expelling individual users caught spamming or deliberately “upvoting” their own content. Then came the blacklisting of entire Web domains accused of promoting their own content to appear more popular.

Now a search engine marketer who goes by the Reddit handle Friggersly may have exposed a hole in that system.

The redditor posted an online conversation among black hat social media marketers who are getting rival brands barred from Reddit by exploiting the forum’s stringent policies. The gist: Spammers make shill accounts and intentionally promote the content of competitors, to the point where they raise enough flags, ultimately giving Reddit no choice but to blacklist the target website.

Reddit has exploded in the last three years, with monthly page views climbing into the billions and a reported 67 million unique visitors in July alone. Because the social news site’s traffic and viral share-ability spell gold for websites and advertisers, it explains why some might go to great lengths to gain the upper hand.

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