Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bullion Baron being impersonated by APF

It was bought to my attention by an anonymous commenter on my blog (thanks again for the heads up!) that I had recently been impersonated by the devious owner/s of the AustralianPropertyForum.com (APF) in an attempt to draw traffic to their website.

I have long been wary of this site and it's morally questionable way of drawing hits by impersonating online identities of other people and sites, but I was completely unaware that I had also been targeted by the imposter.

The anonymous source pointed out the impersonation here:

Aussie housing stock is not too expensive on Property Observer

However with the help of Google I identified many more occasions that I have been impersonated over the last several months, including in the comments of each of these articles:

Rates, prices cap home building: HIA on WA Today
What you need to know about the property markets in 2011 on Property Update
Stamp duty here to stay on Business Day

There are countless other examples. In some cases my other identity used online (hobo-jo) has been impersonated. I rarely post comments (or even read) main stream media news sites, so you can be pretty sure that any commentary using my handles on these sites is unlikely to be authentic.

I have also been impersonated on several forums with user account created using my title (and sometimes site graphics) on the following sites:

Home One Forum
Web World Property Forum
Melbourne Chat Forum
Poms in Oz Forum

As you can see from the above articles and forums, they all have links pointing back to the APF website.


I have put up this blog post for two reasons:

A) To advise readers that comments made with my handle (Bullion Baron or hobo-jo) on forums and news websites aren't always going to be my own.

B) To warn anyone prepared to listen from signing up on the Australian Property Forums. I'm not the only identity/website that they have impersonated in an attempt to draw traffic to the site. This sort of activity should raise a red flag as to the genuine nature of the forum.


There was a dubious beginning to the site and I may go into detail about this at a later stage, but suffice to say you should think about whether signing up on a forum like that (which has used morally (legally?) questionable tactics to bring in traffic) is a wise move... if you do sign up (or already a member) I would recommend you keep your password for that site different to any others (especially different to the email address used to signup).


BB.

14 comments:

  1. BB , just making sure it is actually you on MacroBusiness.

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  2. Yep, I'm regularly posting on MacroBusiness. I link back to this site when I do, so if you come across any that are linking/referring to APF it would be a good indication that it's not me.

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  3. Yep, he's certainly got worn out fingers that bloke.

    He posts as me more often than I do. Weird.

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  4. Yes I noticed sometime ago that he has setup "blogs" on the site imitating Bubblepedia, Simple and Sustainable, Credit Crunch and other forums and then deceptively links back to these blogs while posting as if from the genuine sites. Dodgy character with far too much time on their hands!

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  5. LOL - I misread the blog title as "Bullion Baron is being impersonated by the AFP" and was thinking - WTF?

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  6. "There was a dubious beginning to the site and I may go into detail about this at a later stage"

    Do it! I'm intrigued by what makes these guys tick and curious to know the origins.

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  7. Well I guess you should take it as a compliment, albeit a slightly disturbing one.

    You have to wonder about what motivates a person to do that. Do they believe they are somehow influencing people's behaviour with a comment on a website? As if posting anything under someone else identity was going to have a tangible impact on anything... I just don't get the motivation.

    I enjoy reading your analyses. Keep up the good work.

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  8. Thanks antipody. Can only guess as to their motivation, I suspect it could be spite that house prices are falling as my best guess puts the character running the site as a disturbed housing bull who is known to hold property in Sydney.

    Anon, will do a write up on the origins of the site (what little I know) at some stage, but it's not a priority at the moment so you will need to keep an eye out!

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  9. FYI I noticed this post got linked on Macrobusiness earlier today - this disturbing behaviour is still ongoing!

    Then there was this via Bubblepedia:
    http://www.facebook.com/realestate4ransom/posts/123425581083179

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  10. It's a shame this seedy character or small group have so much free time on their hands.

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  11. "There was a dubious beginning to the site and I may go into detail about this at a later stage"

    Please do!

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  12. I'm guessing there was some more Bubblepedia/APF warring, as you've been linked in their newsfeed yet again! If you ever decide to do your APF expose, here is a very interesting comment from Bubblepedia highlighting even more dodgy goings on (stuff on APF gets removed quite quickly).

    ---

    There's probably some funding via Google Ad or page clicks/refreshes. I believe having your links on multiple websites also helps to get a site boosted up the Google search listings.

    For example, one can look at the most recent posts from the previous incarnation of the board. Despite officially closing on October 2010, there are posts by the site administrators for June and July 2011 that are simply full of links.

    http://z3.invisionfree.com/Australian_Property/index.php?showtopic=504

    Aside from attempting to manipulate search ranking lists, what would other purpose would posting multiple links on an abandoned forum serve?

    What I find more disturbing and worrying are examples of old thread titles being altered in order to attract traffic. Eg.

    http://australianpropertyforum.com/topic/8144662/1/
    The thread title is: "Whirlpool Forums TPG"
    The actual article is: "Last Rise for a while, the Reserve Bank says"

    http://australianpropertyforum.com/topic/8137496/1/
    The thread title is: "Whirlpool Appliance Blog"
    The actual article is: "Buyers reject new homes as poor value"

    The titles are incongruent with the content of the articles, and it has obviously been altered. It smacks of desperation, and appears indicative of an administration that has no respect for it's own userbase.

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  13. I notice those threads now have normal titles again? Interesting those recent links on the old site, clearly being used to up their google ranking.

    Will have to compile along with other stuff I have. I will find time to put a new detailed post up at some stage, but precious metals action keeping me busy at the moment.

    Can't priorotise this, but do promise to make time for it eventually :)

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  14. There is a thread in the offtopic section of Bubblepedia where the trolls have revealed the existence of their GHPC Troll Group. It's quite fascinating stuff.

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