Big business is a messy and sometimes means getting your hands dirty. Businesses are under constant attack from competitors, disgruntled employees, hackers, and even the customers can turn against them. The movie industry gives the perfect insight into this. Topically movies cost millions of dollars to produce then millions more to promote. However, even before the movie is released people are already downloading screener versions or creating sites bashing the movie without even having had seen it. The film company has a huge investment to protect. Do they do nothing and hope they such things won’t impact their bottom line or do they combat the problems. How can they fight the evils of the Internet? How can they protect their investment? This is where spam comes in. Spam is the spread of a controlled message. Generally, associated with email, it can also exist on web sites where a message gets repeatedly posted in order to control how a product is perceived. Spam is the necessary evil of the industry.
How Spam is Used
Problem #1: Illegal downloads
The movie industry knows that people will pirate their movie. First thing they do is try to make it hard to pirate the movie. Screeners are labelled with the person’s name who has first access to the movie. If it is copied, they know who is blame for the early leak of the movie. Probably that person will loose their job. So people, who have access to screener versions of films, will be extra careful that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. With video cameras getting better and better it is easy for anyone to record high quality movie in the theater. To stop this type of activity, they have movie theater staff look for movie camera lights in the theater so they know people are just watching and not recording the movies. Still this isn’t enough they know that countries like Russia have really bad security in theaters and it is only a matter of time that the movie will be pirated. So in a bold step the industry realized they could make sure the quality of the recordings by pirates would always be bad. They started making movies in 3d, which when recorded looks dark and grainy. 3d movies also have the added benefit of making the recordings blurry and only really watchable with 3d glasses. Did you ever wonder why so many 3d movies lately, this is probably the reason.
However, even with all these things a pirated version of movie will still end up going online. It like a virus will be spread to thousands. Big money will be lost. To stop the spread the movie industry uses spam. They know a pirated movie will appear on movie download sites. If they can make the pirate version lost in a huge number of bogus versions then the likelihood of people downloading the real version will be reduced. They want to frustrate people so they won’t download the movie. By spamming bogus versions on popular download sites they can achieve this. If they do it as an industry, it becomes very difficult for people to download movies.
Problem #2: Negative reviews
Social media has a huge impact on the success of a movie. Positive social reviews can cause a movie to become a block buster and negative reviews can lead to empty screenings. People will often decide to watch a movie based on whether or not is has good reviews. So the movie companies must work quickly to make sure that all movies get positive reviews. To do this they spam positive reviews across all the popular review sites. Sure there might be a few real negative reviews mixed in but the overall will be positive. I have seen cases where there were literally thousands of bogus positive reviews created for a movie.
Another thing that is can be done is to bury negative reviews within the search engine results by creating positive review sites and spamming the search with such sites. The message must be constantly controlled. The goal to make sure the message remains positive and any negative messages get buried by a flood of spam. Often when preparing a film’s launch they will have a web site or sites built months in advance. Thus they can establish age and ranking so when the movie finally launches it is their site that is at the top of any search.
There is a constant war being waged online and it is the big companies that must employ spam tactics to emerge victorious. So spam is currently the best means for businesses to protect themselves online. Though I gave the example of the film industry more and more businesses use spam to protect the reputations and business online.