questionswhat should woot do about shilling?

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Tattle on them. the more tattles they recieve the more of a problem it will be to the mods (I hope?)

EDIT: also say you tattled in the comments and why you tattled. Invite them to repost without them and to drop by AtC if the have questions :-) Lets start a learning initiative and maybe we'll get some of this stopped. (Yes, I'm feeling optimistic today)

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@nmchapma: I regained some optimism yesterday when a deal was posted for a t-shirt grab bag and I commented that those are not allowed here and the poster/merchant (one in the same) actually responded to me with a thank you for letting them know and self deleted the deal.

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Looks like some action was taken. The deal is now completely gone. I tattled most of the comments individually as shill and tattled the original deal for not including a price since one was available.

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I realize many of us are past this point but I've decided to try and be nice about it first. I like this place and I'd like to see more members become active again. As little as it matters, I'm going to do evrything I can to make this a nice place to visit again. Ron K's post really got to me as it showed me what this place is becoming. I don't like. I don't want to complain anymore so I'm going to make an honest attempt to improve it. Even if Woot! doesn't care, I do. If I fail so be it, theres a more medicre place coming that I hope to take refuge if deals.woot.com doesn't work out.

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What SHOULD be done:

One strike rule. If it happens, delete the deal and send a warning to the main account that it isn't acceptable and if it happens again their site will be blocked (can't be linked to, etc). If it happens again, block the site. Easy, clear and fair.

What probably WILL be done:

{sound of crickets chirping}

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How do you know what is a shill?

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@friedtomatoes: I won't do a long post about how to spot shills, because that would by definition also become a guide on how to avoid being spotted as a shill. The vast majority don't really even attempt to hide it anyway, and are really obvious, brand new accounts with no post history who show up to post something inane like 'this is a great deal' or 'I use this product it really works' or similar.

In case there's any confusion, users who post their own deals but are active in the community (like ocheri) or sites who have a dedicated deal posting account and do not try to hide it (like tangadotcom) are definitively NOT shills.

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@friedtomatoes: @friedtomatoes: You can easily tell

For instance.. Looking at your account:

90% of your up-votes are on newer accounts (White triangles)
Your account was created on August 13, 2013.
You up-voted doubleces (who was also created on August 13, 2013)
You up-voted dpoon1 (who was created on August 11, 2013)
You up-voted missmaz (who was created on August 12, 2013)

You also commented on this:
http://deals.woot.com/deals/details/5e0e691e-b95e-4b2a-977c-a128813aca8e/measuring-cups-spoons-set#11

Which is a lot of shill accounts all praising an item.. So you are linked to several other shills..

Now stop it

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@devexityspace: You think this is bad? You should see the games they play over on Amazon, with their tacky little store fronts. I am trying to think of how to report this to Amazon (and Amazon takes a very dim view of this sort of thing), because it's usually some stupid item like "measuring cups" or a rip off Venturi (you can figure that one out on your own, I'm not helping). The product can usually be distinguished by it being the only product available on the storefront, and by the incredible number of 5 star reviews (all from people who strangely resemble the same tack comment makes you can see in the deal).

I was excoriated by TT for just starting to point this out on one of this little group (a person who hasn't posted since, but has done plenty of voting, TYVM).

Gah. Why am I even BOTHERING with this? Where is my verdamnt kaffee, anyway?

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We have been doing the same thing since the inception of the site. We look for the instances when it happens or hope we get a tattle. We contact the retailer and inform them that the behavior is not allowed. If they continue they are removed from the site.

Please help by tattling or sending and email to dealswoot@woot.com.

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@prettywootprincess: You know I'm fond of you. I gently point out that I've been beaten down for pointing out this very problem, and am aware that even pointing it out is likely to just get me into more trouble. Then again, when have I ever been afraid of trouble?

http://deals.woot.com/questions/comment/eb6f08f6-4c95-49cb-abca-c9be6591fbec

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daringly creepin' on woot histories, what a rebellllllll

INTERNETS!

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(sorry, just like... I nabbed a shill the other day but there's only enough room for one loose cannon cop who doesn't play by the rules AND I TOTALLY CALLED THAT PERSONA ALREADY)

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@lotsofgoats: dangit I guess I have to be the partner who warns you when you're breaking the rules but goes along with it anyway because my moral conviction tells me it's the "right thing to do". Unless you go to far then I put you in your place. But I also have to take care of all the by-the-rule-book legal stuff and paperwork because you never get yours done.

Too much? :-?

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[slams badge on table]

I'M KEEPING MY GUN

[storms out]

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@justagigilo85: Dang! The most shills I'd ever seen on one deal (till now, anyway) was five.

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I've been keeping a list of likely shills on amazon deals for the last couple of months or so. That shilling has become rampant on crappy amazon deals is glaringly obvious to anyone who actually wants to look at it.

How many different prices do you really think the same "oven mat" can be sold for by the same company in a 15 day period and still generate swooning reviews by the same four or five brand new posters who have no other activity on woot?

It's pretty disheartening to watch it, day after day.

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@prettywootprincess: If this is such a big problem, would it be possible to limit posting and comments on deals.woot to those that have made a purchase on a woot site? I know it wouldn't make the problem completely go away, but it would probably reduce it quite a bit.

@shrdlu: I'm on my 5th cup, and it's not helping.

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@prettywootprincess: Maybe it should be a selection under Tattle.
@okham: limiting comments to people who've bought something would either decrease shills or increse sales, both of which would benefit woot.

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At the risk of esculation, has anyone thought of trolling them back? If people are posting shill reviews and votes, why not post shill reviws as well, but along the lines of the wolf t-shirt and the banana slicer. We have gotten some very funny things going in the past, I see no reason why we can't keep them going.

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@shrdlu: I for one wish that Amazon would stop listing these store fronts like they actually belong to Amazon. However though, most of the stores have paid Amazon to handle their shipping so it appears to give some validation to their fly by night operation. Heck of a business model, buy a pile of crap for cheap, pay Amazon to ship it and set up a temporary store front and collect the money from the poor saps. Wash, rinse and repeat with different items and different store fronts.

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@okham: I've seen several shills with one "Woot" just to avoid any such policy. See here for an example of several shills on an "Amazon Storefront" style deal that went popular because nobody reads the comments.

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@wisenekt: I'm all for it. If the merchant won't listen or continually denies the accounts are shill just keep posting the thread that the "deal is dead" or "they are canceling orders". Maybe after a few threads are ruined they'll start listening.

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I would like to propose a new rule for Deals.

@prettywootprincess, I know how long it takes to move things through a bureaucracy, and I don't expect an immediate response, but I'd like to think it was under consideration.

There's rules we can point to, and quote, concerning eBay postings. We often remind new vendors that they need an account name that points out their relationship to the store. These are two good rules that have come about over time.

We need to have vendors who are posting from storefronts on Amazon provide that information up front. Their account name should match their storefront, and they should provide the name of their store front in their deals. We, the community, should tattle on each and every "Amazon" deal we see which leads to a storefront. There are certainly good storefront dealers on Amazon, and most of those should be happy to comply.

[1 of 2]

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[2 of 2] @prettywootprincess (for the notification only)

We should start posting comments on those deals from the storefront sellers that seem to be inhabiting the Deals side, of late, pointing out that NO ONE has 100% 5 star reviews unless the reviews and reviewers are fake. I am serving notice on those who seem to be a small group of people with (perhaps) multiple accounts, and who are posting fake comments on these deals, and (in some cases, the same words) fake reviews on Amazon as well. I've been buying from Amazon since the early days, and from Woot, almost as long. I'm fond of both places. Clean up your act.

That is all.

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@shrdlu: If you're suggesting an auto-tattle on any amazon marketplace deal, then that doesn't really seem like a helpful thing. If you're going to tattle on amazon marketplace deals that have obvious red flags, I don't see how that's any different from tattling any other shady looking dealer. I disagree on the amazon reviews bit, I've seen plenty of marketplace dealers with positive feedback at a high 90% with too many reviews for them to be a bunch of shills.

I do agree with the other bits, though. Keeping sellers honest needs to be a priority. I just don't think that clogging the pipes is the way to go about it.

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@lotsofgoats: I agree we should not clog Woots pipes, but putting a stopper in sales from of a few of the shill filled threads would probably get rid of a few. If they'll post fake positive reviews, I'll post fake negative ones. Who are casual consumers going to believe?

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http://deals.woot.com/deals/details/8df6e4c7-eb3c-4bff-8f0c-006d56e7255a/first-aid-kits-for-home-vehicle-car-camper-and-work-basic-kit-includes-the-ess#13

@prettywootprincess: I'm putting other deals ridden with these shills here. I have 29 that I am CERTAIN of so far. none are more than 3 months old. This is a shill empire. It's all amazon store fronts. I'm just hitting the tip of the iceberg

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@shrdlu: We have the same rule for amazon and ebay with regards to the username needing to be the same as their store front. eBay posters need a score of 1k or more. Amazon has yet to be determined.

There are thing to be considered.
1. Are stores shipped and sold from amazon better then those who are not.
2. If you are not shipped and sold from amazon should they be allowed to post.
3. What is an acceptable score for amazon.

Open to suggestions and this is what is coming in the next phase of FAQ information.

I have @hizzo87 researching a guideline but again please suggest a rule.

Also I have temporarily blocked amazon.com to clean up any past posts.

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@prettywootprincess: Yay!

Just going through the last 6 months of my amazon history, it looks like most of the third parties that I've dealt with are in the thousands somewhere. I do have a few from sellers with reviews in the hundreds. The lowest I can find has 79 reviews at 4.9 stars. (HEY OTHER PEOPLE ADD DATA HERE SO I'M NOT ANECDOTAL even though anecdotes totally worked that one time I used them)

I do feel like ebay sellers are pumping out way more volume than amazon storefronts, so maybe something lower than 1000?

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It's definitely Amazon storefronts. All of these from above are posting in amazon storefronts that have one item or don't exist anymore. They all post in each others threads with basically the same info. Notice that everyone that "already bought this product for a higher price" says they did so one month ago. always.

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@prettywootprincess: Hugs and kisses, kiddo. I was not expecting an immediate response, and am overjoyed to see this.

Here's some thumbnails I use when deciding whether to purchase from an Amazon storefront.

1. Do they have multiple items for sale, or just one or two?
2. Are all their reviews 5 star? (No on, NO ONE, gets an average of five stars. There's always someone who is happy, and still gives four, with an explanation).
3. Is the account recent? I'd like to see Amazon storefront vendors needing to have at least 13 months worth of history on Amazon (so that the reviews go back for more than one year).
4. Are there a lot of fake comments on the deal, or the item on Amazon? I'm not going to say what a fake comment looks like, but I know it when I see it.

I wouldn't hold them to Amazon shipping. The vendor has to pay extra for that. HOWEVER, if they aren't using it, they should say so IN THE DEAL DESCRIPTION. Period.

{Like Ahhnold, Ah'll be bek.}

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@nmchapma: Here's some more:

http://deals.woot.com/deals/users/maureen725/votedfor

...and... jennifer's not a maybe, she's a fer shur, dude. It makes me sad, too. I had hoped otherwise. :-(

You also missed http://deals.woot.com/deals/users/friedtomatoes (who mostly votes and comments, and is VERY careful to also vote up regular deals).

@lotsofgoats: 79% isn't a great rating, but at least it's honest. I prefer storefronts with 95% or better, and a positive trend over the years they've been in business. I've used "Golda's Kitchen" over the years, and been VERY happy with them.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/browse.html?ie=UTF8&marketplaceID=ATVPDKIKX0DER&me=A13HTXU7N5QMMA (sorry for ugly link)

Reviews: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aag/main?ie=UTF8&asin=&isAmazonFulfilled=&isCBA=&marketplaceID=ATVPDKIKX0DER&orderID=&seller=A13HTXU7N5QMMA

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@shrdlu: I can't believe I left off friedtomatos...I used his deals and comments to find a lot of the ones above.

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@prettywootprincess: I am finding out that unfortunately all these accounts may also be posting deals. It's very likely that contacting the posters is doing next to nothing to stop this. Every one of these accounts is posting for amazon store fronts. Some of the items are indeed okay deal deals but they still use each other to promote the products. This looks like the leakings of a much larger problem over at amazon. I'm guessing this is a single company with a lot of storefronts or a group that runs a business promoting these store fronts.

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@nmchapma: I too have thought for some time that there is a single entity behind the socks and shills. By and large, most of them post deals and they generally all are then happy users for each other's products.

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@prettywootprincess: I'm pretty sure that @nmchapma is a shill for the anti-shill league.

nmchapma, that is a crazy list. Props to you.

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@nmchapma: Feel free to keep posting them. :)

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@okham: That seed shill pissed me off.

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Great job on "collecting" shills. I hope it turns out to be a most productive hobby. Thank you .

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@nmchapma: You should go directly to the top of the leader board for your efforts!

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Good to know you're doing something with these. I really hope I don't search for one of these in two months and find them still around pulling the same crap. Thanks for getting rid of them and for taking this problem (and me) seriously. I'm not as crazy as @prettywootprincess thinks I am :-)

Oh and hurry and write these down before @thunderthighs deletes my posts again :-P

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@ewaldjw: the answer to your question is call @nmchapma

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@nmchapma: Your continued jabs at moderators are known as "Mod Baiting" and are not appreciated.

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@thunderthighs: under normal circumstances I would say I was joking (I was, sorry you took it offensively) and apologize. NOT TODAY. In only a few hours I accomplished what these "moderators" have failed to do for months. Just today @prettywootprincess wanted suggestions to deal with it and told me obvious shills were not shills. I realize the job you all do ain't easy but you've had nothing but time to fix these problems and now you drag your ass in here and slap me on the wrist for comments I made in jest (its true, believe it or not) because you don't appreciate it. BULLNESS. I'm proud of what I accomplished today and if wanna throw a little flak towards those who disn't do it in celebration, I WILL.