Detection of desire — the creepiness of listening to customers

Yesterday I posted on the occasion of my 25th anniversary and made mention that my wife and I never had a formal honeymoon (in the Niagara Falls sense of the word).

Lo and behold, I get a comment in the moderation queue of this blog offering me an opportunity to make up for lost time and get that honeymoon.

I was initially impressed that Northwest Airlines had either really good detection, or a subscriber and local reader of this blog (highly unlikely). After realizing I had no mention of the Northwest brand in the post, I started to suspect just a smart spam blogger, but on backtracking to the original URL:, my intuitive radar went off, indicating that the blog was indeed a splog set up, perhaps by an affiliate of NWA, in an attempt to gain booking commissions.

But further digging showed this was ostensibly a corporate owned and controlled blog (the content is pretty banal, but doesn’t have the usual dada language that is the true hallmark of a splog).

So, what’s the big deal about a little comment spam?

1. Here is a case of a brand monitoring the blogosphere for key word hits not associated with its brand. In other words, Northwest Airlines is scanning for hits on “honeymoon”, as opposed to Northwest Rocks or Northwest Sucks.

2. Northwest is detecting key word hits and has developed either an automated mechanism for posting a spam offer, or has a live human posting offers.

3. This is spam and makes me personally think less of Northwest.

4. This is spam but makes me wonder if the shoe was on the other foot, and I were a marketer responding to the word “laptop” what would be the right and proper way to arrive on a stranger’s blog with an offer in hand?

5. Can SMM be used to detect expressions of desire: (“I need a vacation” – “I need a new car”) and then reward those expressions with an offer?

6. Is the detection and reaction to expressions of desire the kiss of death for SMM?

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “Detection of desire — the creepiness of listening to customers”

  1. David,

    Your wearing me down on this one – I’m maybe 80% there, which is pretty good because I started out thinking it was one of the wildest goose chases I had heard when you first brought it up.

    The call today… you know the one where we got more “101” advice on navel gazing? I think a light bulb came on after you left – maybe “engagement” is bigger than a breadbox. I guess I knew that all along, but somehow ever made the leap from what one might do in a community to what one might do if just poping into a random conversation somewhere else.

    Sure, it’s one thing to say, “hey!, I can ‘t help with that…” But maybe, your right, maybe it’s an opportunity to say, ” A ’53 DeSoto ? Why I just happen to have one of those for sale…”


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