The power of a social news site comes principally from its community, so when users feel like their service is being manipulated, they take it very personally.
Two weeks ago a rag tag team of anonymous Redditors discovered a group of SEO consultants and viral marketers submitting content on behalf of Village Voice Media.
As they wrote at the time,
“It matters because Reddit isn’t a dumping ground to be gamed for profit. If these companies want their sites featured, they can buy an ad, they can appeal to the community the way other users do, but scamming the system, trying to brute-force Reddit using coordinated voting schemes and networks not only goes against reddiquette but isalso in violation of the Reddit User Agreement.
The rapid rise in popularity of Reddit has been a boon to people looking for a community that doesn’t revolve around spam, garbage, re-hashed content, and that is worth protecting.
I don’t know of any other online community that has meetups, that has secret santa exchanges, that so openly helps the community as Reddit.”
Well today Village Voice media admitted they had been caught and begged to be let back into the good graces, and traffic funnel, of Reddit.
Like any journalistic endeavor, we want want as many eyeballs as possible on the stories our award-winning scribespublish. To that end, we hire folks (“social media experts,” we hate that term too) to get eyeballs on our stories so we can focus on telling the stories that matter to our readers.
Then we noticed this was happening.
To say we almost went off the rails is putting it lightly. Like Steven Seagal in Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, we rushed to correct those problems in an effort to stay engaged with the reddit community in an honest way.
We talked with new reddit GM Erik Martin on the phone yesterday to try to patch up our relationship with the best community online.
Alexis Ohanian, who was recently brought back on as an advisor at Reddit, tweeted out, “How valuable is @reddit hivemind? @VillageVoice Sr WebEditor apologies (well, he doesn’t actually apologize) 4 cheating”