Saturday, November 15, 2008

Are Predatory Towing Companies Using Internet "Shills?" Photo

If you become VERY specialized, and you view certain highly-specific phenomenon on a daily basis, you start to notice interesting patterns nobody else sees...

Suddenly I'm seeing one of those patterns. I am convinced there are pro-predatory towing interests who are routinely using paid viral marketing "shills" to post comments like this one, right here:

"What problem ? Park illegally on private property that is posted and your car is private property impouded. (sic) What is the problem ? The towing companies have a contract with the property owner and that is the way it is. They do not just tow from where ever they want. They must have a contract with the property owner.Don't park your car like a freakin jerk and it won't get towed. Duh ?"

What gets my attention is the phrase "private property towing." I've seen this phrase tossed around as a kind of "push back" to individuals using the consciousness-raising phrase "predatory and abusive towing." In the comment streams of the various articles I turn up...all of which concern some aspect of predatory and abusive towing, or towing regulation...I keep coming across comments incredibly similar to the one above. Similar remarks keep getting posted on comment streams.

I've been noticing this for months...but also NOT noticing it. Unconsciously, I just figured in every towing discussion, there might be local predatory towers (or just plain negative, carping commentators) who jump into the discussion.

But now I'm realizing these comments are TOO SIMILAR and TOO WIDELY DISPERSED. It was the towing article about the situation in Tampa that woke me up. There's ONE COMMENT posted. One. Plus posting this comment requires a rather tedious registration process with the Tampa paper.

Either somebody has a lot of time on their hands at the towing dispatch office...or some entity earning money from predatory towing activities is actually COMPENSATING certain individuals to keep pouring comments into the internet, heaping abuse on the victims of predatory towing so they will think complaining, rising up, organizing, contributing their information to a blog like this one is just...stupid.

So I'm calling this out. I'm convinced shills are being employed, as they are employed with magic tricks or the classic "shell game" to fool the crowd and cheat victims.

When I see this happening, I plan to post my own comments and maybe link back to this particular blog post.

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