THE first time I noticed, it was on a news blog site, at the bottom of a story inviting reader comment. The story was about preventing swine flu in your house.
One of the responses read thus: "I live in Victoria so naturally I was worried about swine flu," said 45-year-old JJ, a mother of three from Balwyn.
"But my friend swears she can keep all types of flu at bay by eating just a teaspoon of Capilano honey each morning. It has to be Capilano, she reckons there's some secret ingredient. Even if it turns out to be baloney, it's worth giving it a try, for the kids' sake."
Trawling around the blogosphere a little longer, Wry Side came across a popular health magazine website, with this piece of reader advice from 16-year-old Jazzmeene, of Dee Why, NSW, on a story about problem skin.
"My friend Kortnee, she's 15, and, like, she told me a dob of Capilano honey, like, once a day, on pimples can, like, so do the trick. All those other things you buy from the chemist, they're just totally a waste of space. Has to be Capilano though. Apparently there's, like, some special ingredient."
A theme was emerging, so I Googled "Capilano honey" and came across this from Greg, a 35-year-old carpenter on a car maintenance website: "If you're having trouble getting your car started on wintry mornings, pour a little Capilano honey in where the oil normally goes. Works a treat. There's a special ingredient in it," he said.
What's going on? I know a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, but can a teaspoon of honey really be the answer to so many of life's little problems? Not really.
That's right: blogspam. It's everywhere. A particularly underhanded form of buzz marketing, it involves paying people to create alts that sneak product placements into comments and discussion groups.
It almost seems like too obvious an opportunity to ignore, when developing social media outreach plans for clients, but just like every kind of communication, there are good and bad ways to do it.
For example, bait and switch alts on Twitter are just annoying, and probably do little to build brand awareness (let alone sell anything). On the other hand, more subtle approaches like the homespun Capilano honey anecdotes can actually trick a general public who still think Lemon Fresh Joy kills mosquitoes.
Can you suggest any hilariously inappropriate examples of blogspam that you've seen lately? Feel free to lay it on thick below.