Boing Boing apartment in Comcast Town

Comastownnn
Comcast (a BB sponsor) is holding a contest in which you design your own virtual apartment in "Comcast Town." They invited Boing Boing to judge but, even more fun, they asked us to suggest some Boing Boing furniture that people could use to decorate their pads! Above is the living room I designed. (I'm obviously not eligible to win. Sniff, sniff.) Notice the steampunk computer, carnivorous plant, and Flying Spaghetti Monster statue. I think the illustrator did a terrific job. In fact, I wish it was my real living room! The grand prize winning design gets a real-world room remodel, 40-inch HDTV, a new laptop, and a digital phone. I'm just helping select the ten finalists -- then it's up to The People. Comcast Town (Flash site)

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  1. Check out Hotel iWin — a similar idea but focused on casual game folks and full of more middle-aged women than any other virtual world I’ve ever seen.

  2. Yeah, um, what’s up with that? I thought comcast was devilspawn or something – throttling, etc…

    How is this better than… what was that other world thing that showed up here not too long ago?

    At least they coulda named it something different.. “Comcasttown” goes right aong with the Staples Convention Center, the Pepsico Arena, etc, the Verizon Amphitheater.. there is no character to those names at all.

    And you know, this stuff is all really neat… but it still doesn’t beat REALLY riding your cruiser down the street…

  3. I think I liked it better when BB was selling out to Cheetos. Frito-Lay isn’t exactly throttling your bandwidth, or falling asleep in your house. Although that’d actually be kind of awesome if someone came home and found a random, cheeto-fingered Frito-Lay goon asleep on their sofa.

    But yes, BB, your fight for open information and Net Neutrality will certainly be won with allegiance to Comcast. *facepalm*

  4. Allegiance? We smack Comcast all the time! This won’t stop because they bought ads: as Sirdook conveniently demonstrated, we write what we please about them.

  5. Wow I absolutely hate everything about comcast, and their comcast town crap is just a way for them to advertise more on your site without having to pay you anymore. Trying to give all their horrible publicity some balance. I’m sorry you fell for this trick, but until they release their pointless 250GB cap and actually upgrade the Seattle area to 3.0 I don’t think you should be doing them any favors. Looks like a dumb program too.

  6. how long has comcast been a sponser? how many articles since the sponsorship began? i guess the riaa will be sponsoring the next round of contests that bb will be hosting.. yay!!

  7. Comcast (a BB sponsor) is holding a contest in which you design your own virtual apartment in “Comcast Town.”

    Instead of, you know, investing in upgrading their infrastructure!

    Cancel this “Comcast Town” bullshit and repeal your bandwidth caps instead. Spend money on your core business, for once. …instead of forging RST packets and throttling paying customers.

    (No, Comcast, your core business isn’t wasting everyone’s time. It’s in delivering a commodity called bandwidth.)

  8. I am the N’th disappointed boingboing reader. Is this Battelle’s idea of “conversational marketing?” You are selling out your credibility. I hope it’s immensely profitable. Maybe you can make some lame justification like “every dollar comcast gives to boingboing is a dollar that they didn’t spend lobbying against net neutrality.” Why don’t you take some RIAA sponsorships now?

  9. Maybe you can make some lame justification like “every dollar comcast gives to boingboing is a dollar that they didn’t spend lobbying against net neutrality.” Why don’t you take some RIAA sponsorships now?

    I applaud BoingBoing for taking Comcast’s money, knowing full well that BB ostensibly “hates” Comcast and so does its readership. So the outcome in summation is to bleed Comcast of some resources (which BoingBoing either spends on itself to continue reporting how shitty Comcast is, or donate to the EFF to lobby upholding the end-to-end principle), while all Comcast gets in return is more of the same “you’re bad at what you do!” criticism from BoingBoing.

    If Comcast sponsorship correlated with relaxed criticism by BoingBoing of Comcast, then you can gripe. Let me know when you see that happening.

    1. I think that we get that some of you aren’t comfortable with the sponsor. As is obvious, this sponsorship hasn’t changed your ability or BB’s willingness to criticize Comcast. The subject is closed. If you don’t want to participate in the contest, move on to the next post. If you do, good luck.

  10. My comcast apartment will be about 14 feet by 14 feet and feature a 30 year old 21″ television because that’s all I can afford after dishing out 60 bucks a month to watch bloody Comedy Central.

  11. sirdook@5: Wait, *this* Comcast?

    Hm, last article about comcast was July 2008. I wonder when Comcast became a sponser and I wonder if we’ll see a lack of articles critical of Comcast so long as they’re a sponser.

  12. I don’t see what the big deal is with BB taking Comcast’s cash for ads. I also wonder how many people who are complaining about this send Comcast their money every month.

    As Zuzu pointed out, no one has shown any correlation between Comcast’s sponsorship and BB’s pointed criticism.

  13. Someone complained about the scientology ads that were (inadvertantly) served earlier on, just as they’d complained about the Zwinky style Advert of Horror we have running at Boing Boing Gadgets.

    I have no idea why you all don’t find completely awesome the idea of scientology and ironic anime lolitas coexisting in the marginalia of Boing Boing.

    (But I think we did kill the scientology ad.)

  14. A steampunk computer, carnivorous plants, and Flying Spaghetti Monster statue are the things that would complete my studio. I’m a cartoonist, and that combination would create the perfect environment for my odd visions to flower.
    SplendidMarbles

  15. I feel it is my duty to remind you of the official Boing Boing Gadgets portrait of Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.

    Isn’t it cheating for you to give decorating ideas?

  16. Antinous, I say this with full sympathy toward your position and with the explicit assertion that usually you a pretty level-headed on here, but

    What the f***?

    “As is obvious, this sponsorship hasn’t changed your ability or BB’s willingness to criticize Comcast. The subject is closed”

    Normally there would be a […] between those two sentences indicating that i was connecting two contradictory ideas that are separated by some space in your words, but this time there was no need. You said X, then immediately contradicted it.

    If we have the ability to criticize comcast, then the subject had better not be closed, had it?

    1. cory,

      Having a sponsor is not an invitation for every disgruntled customer to air their grievances every time we do a post. There have been plenty of posts about Comcast where you could complain about them. That does not give you license to continue repeating the same complaints in this and every thread that they sponsor (if any).

  17. we keep going down this tired road: Yes BB has ads. Yes you enjoy BB for free. Yes bills have to be paid. Yes some people accuse BB of impurity. Yes those people are full of self-righteous shit.
    Hey, I’VE got an idea! How about if we publicly question and discuss YOUR integrity over and over?
    How about the hobby prosecutors actually assemble a case and some evidence before bringing it up again?
    The Mod crew here wouldn’t permit ongoing harassment of any poster on dubious at best charges, why the hell should the content providers have to constantly defend themselves? Go read the moderation thread. All of it. If any feel they must continue, then prepare to have me bash you for a while in exchange. Fair is fair.

  18. Am I missing whatever it is that is supposed to make “comcast town” cool or fun (or interesting)?

    Can you do anything other than drag clipart around a cheesy apartment, or watch their (painfully uncool) commercials?

    It’s a lot of money to pour into something that isn’t a game or a community or even interesting…

  19. If we’re not allowed to discuss Boing Boing’s sponsorships in the comments of posts that are about Boing Boing sponsorships, and posts that in no way violate the moderation policy are being deleted, can someone link me to the thread on Boing Boing where discussion of this topic is/was allowed?

  20. What’s linked at the top? The moderation policy? Are you saying discussion of Boing Boing’s sponsorships is only allowed in the comments of the moderation policy itself? I ask because some people have made it sound like a discussion about the sponsorships already took place and those commenting on it now are beating a dead horse. However, if I have to search though 1600 comments to find that discussion, no wonder I’m not the only one who missed it the first time.

    1. disprofession,

      It’s standard for meta-commentary to go to the Moderation thread. It would be impossible to have a conversation otherwise. The discussion of sponsorship has come up many times and been answered many times. It’s not that interesting to regular readers to see the same discussion over and over when it already exists elsewhere for new readers to peruse.

  21. Well, I guess I better go spend the rest of my day reading the 1600 comments on the moderation policy so that I never accidentally post a comment that is similar to any that have been posted in the past, thus experiencing the frustration of having a comment deleted even though it didn’t violate the moderation policy. I suggest updating the policy to include a warning that comments that seem like old news to people who have time to read every comment ever posted on Boing Boing might be deleted so that they don’t bore anyone.

  22. @#37:

    As a “regular reader” I’m more interested in the discussion of the troubling situation of one of my favorite net neutrality championing blogs taking money from and shilling for one of the worst offenders than I am in discussion about some inane advertising ploy.

    Please don’t tell me what is and is not interesting to me.

  23. There is a prison TV room with some funny cartoon bubbles about comcast. you have to search for “jobes” in the comcast town phonebook to see it… it will probably be deleted soon.

  24. @#28 “You need a unicorn in this thread.”

    Dude, I’m right here. Hi. I’m waving my horn at you.

  25. Dude, I’m right here. Hi. I’m waving my horn at you.

    You keep waving that thing around, and we keep telling you: That’s not a horn.

  26. I can’t believe we’ve gone 40 comments without one person remarking on the “Judge BoingBoing” banner.

  27. What’s this snivelling about reading 1600 comments?
    You could have done that in the time it took to complain about it. Let’s see some good faith.

  28. Comcast Town is everything I’ve come to expect from Comcast – slow, buggy and frustrating to work with. Either that, or it only plays adequately with MS products – again, what I’ve come to expect.

  29. Yeah, you can shill for whomever you’d like, and it’s clear that you’ve convinced yourselves that it’s OK to shill for Comcast, since you can still write what you want about them.
    But now, you’re helping a company that has been an enemy of many of the principals that you claim to have stood for.
    Regardless of how you may hoot about how awful Comcast is, from now on, it doesn’t mean shit, since you’re still helping them thrive. Now, your integrity is suspect.
    It’s a slippery slope that you’ve started down, and I for one, after being a BB fan for a long time, have lost a little more respect.

  30. The thing is that sponsorship is a two-way street. Taking someone’s money implies that you’re fine with being associated with them, since the money exchange IS an association. It often happens that a politician will give back campaign contributions from people they don’t want to be seen as endorsing.

    Some folks like the guys at Penny Arcade will only put up ads for things that they like and agree with.
    Some folks will take money from anybody. Is one way better than another? Not necessarily. But taking someone’s money has semantic value, unavoidably. And the person taking the money doesn’t always get to pick what the semantics are.

  31. If the price is right, there’ll be a BB-cobranded RIAA-sponsored “Co-opt the justice department!” embedded flash game by Christmas.

  32. @#32: Bring up the “have to pay the bills” argument all you want – it doesn’t change the fact that this kind of double-dealing is incredibly tacky/crass at best.

    @#27: That was a year ago, as were many of the other Comcast-related posts mentioned in this thread. Trotting them out to justify your actions also smacks of crass double-dealing to try to appease both your sponsors and your readers.

  33. It’s fascinating to me the sort of comments that don’t get deleted here, compared to the sort that do.

  34. Wovixo, I’m not saying that your arguments are wrong (“you’re helping a company that has been an enemy of many of the principals that you claim to have stood for,” is certainly fair) but it seems to be that your position is really one of mistrust.

  35. I thought this post was a joke at first – because, really? The lighthearted “But, even more fun…” tone just sounded so un-BoingBoing considering this is some random Comcast marketing thing. Don’t mean to fan the flames but I felt compelled to call it out.

  36. Here’s something nice that Comcast does: I started to download the World of Warcraft client and was getting a nice 3MB/sec sustained rate for the first 100MB or so from Blizzard’s healthy servers. But as soon a Comcast realized I was going to blow a bunch of time on an MMO, then throttled me back to 200KB/sec. That’s service.

  37. Hunterz, there have been Comcast critical posts recently, should you care to look. It’s often brought up in discussions of data usage caps, net neutrality, and particularly customer service.

    At BBG, we’ve also identified Comcast’s (and similar companies’) potential to gain overwhelming control over entertainment when people finally want computers under their televisions, only to find that the cable company has already provided one. It’s not really a criticism per se, but certainly something we find unnerving.

    What do you think is a more reasonable approach to accepting money from advertisers — in this case to judge a competition and add a presence in their social networking thinger? It is the advertising association that rankles, or the “conversational marketing” element?

  38. Rob, for me at least you nailed it with the “conversational marketing” moniker. That’s what creeped me out about it. It’s cheapening the voice of writers whose opinions I’ve come to trust a great deal.

  39. Joel is paying like $150 a month for that 2 MB/sec, BTW. He’s completely finlandized.

  40. I actually tried to design a room, but the site keeps logging me out when I go to make it, then saying there’s no such username when I try to log back in.

    I give up. And I had a cool Doctor Who-themed room designed, too. D:

  41. I need to downgrade. It’s stupid to pay extra for the couple of times a month I actually find a server that can sustain those connections. (In theory it goes to 50MB/sec but I’ve never, ever seen that much, even from Comcast’s benchmarking servers.)

  42. I don’t think so wovixo:

    “A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position.[1] To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by substituting a superficially similar proposition (the “straw man”), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.[1] [2]

    Presenting and refuting a weakened form of an opponent’s argument can be a part of a valid argument. For example, one can argue that the opposing position implies that at least one of two other statements – both being presumably easier to refute than the original position – must be true. If one refutes both of these weaker propositions, the refutation is valid and does not fit the above definition of a “straw man” argument.”

    I think it is very simple: you insult them by questioning their honour, I demand to see your honour. Well, where is it?

  43. @#64: He perhaps should have said “ad hominem” instead of straw man. Either way, your post #47 was pure flamebait.

    Which reminds me, I really wish I could just hide all of Takuan’s posts. Adjunct moderator or not, I really don’t like how he feels the need to chime in every 5th post of every single article on the site even if I happen to agree with the posts. It makes me not want to read the comments on any of the articles.

  44. As far as I’m concerned, you can question our honor all day long. I’d appreciate it, if you’re are going to do it on our own site, if you’d would be polite about it. (Not to say people aren’t being polite, just saying.)

    We’re a business and we’re trying to figure out how to negotiate this really shitty time for being a media company (even if we’re a tiny one in the grand scheme of things). In a perfect world we could do what Penny Arcade does, vetting each advertiser personally, but we don’t have that luxury at the moment. (And it’s more simple to do that for games than almost anything else.)

    I don’t think much of Comcast’s decisions over the last few years, but I’ll happily take their advertising dollars to shovel into the Boing Boing furnace. Fortunately I’m under no imperative to defend them just because they’re an advertiser, although I’m aware of the potential conflicts of interest. Unless we find a way to operate Boing Boing without advertising revenue, we’ll just have to keep slogging through. It’d be nice if we could do so without being accused of chicanery, but it comes with the territory.

  45. As far as I’m concerned, you can question our honor all day long.

    I knew that earlier post about dueling would come in handy.

  46. I grieve with you Hunters, I grieve with you.

    In the meantime, I’ll meet anyone in the parking lot who’s got the dung-filled duelling bladders.

  47. I actually found Wovixo’s position among the most thoughtful, the angry bits notwithstanding.

    This is what struck me:

    “You’ve convinced yourselves that it’s OK to shill for Comcast, since you can still write what you want about them.”

    Some people satisfy themselves by imagining we’re simply bought and paid for, but this recognizes the blunt fact of our editorial independence. It moves on to the real problem, which is, “why participate at all?”

    Joel’s made it clear why: the only faith you need to place in us is that we’re not sat around thinking up schemes to exploit you. We’re making a living from writing in an ad-supported format.

    There’s a basic level of active promotional association that’s harmless because of its triviality. Here, for example, we have a SIMS-like game you can mess around with with online, free of charge, with some cute custom pixel art.

    I feel comfortable making a living on ad money from a company we’ve criticised, (or from something merely tasteless, like the terribly-drawn anime girly jiggling in the sidebar at BBG), it’s because it’s easy to enjoy it for what it is rather than what it’s trying to sell.

    And since you accept that we don’t let it affect what we write, stop worrying about a slippery slope we’re not sliding down. Trust that we know you aren’t going to mindlessly buy every last thing that hits the sidebar, and enjoy the good stuff.

  48. you…you mean….all this timee…..allll my ,money??? I didn’t HAVE TO BUY all that crap!!!??

  49. You know, that jiggle anime girl ad on BBG is actually supposed to be a GoDaddy parody from what I can gather. I thought it was sort of clever.

  50. @#72:

    I understand your position, having to balance the cost of running the site versus trying to maintain some kind of editorial integrity, but what makes me suspicious is that some of the ads can often appear to be content. Like the Cheetos thing. That was really confusing, and now when I see this Comcast post, I have to wonder; is this an ad or not?
    Ads in the side or in a big banner on top are one thing, but when I can’t tell an ad from a post, it makes me suspect ALL posts.
    I used to really consider BB, especially the gadget posts, a useful guide to stuff I might like, but now, not so much.
    I hate Comcast, I hate what they stand for, and I thought BB did too. So why help them?

  51. Clearly BoingBoing deserves to be showered* with free money from the U.S. Government rather than have to make tough choices in operating a sustainable business.

    Too bad they’re not politically connected enough to garner the “too big to fail” privileged status.

    (*Showered from Bernanke’s helicopter, no doubt.)

  52. OK, let’s talk about the “Comcast town” concept. How is this not a third rate second life knockoff? What’s the actual appeal? I mean, yeah, the objects are sort of interesting, but do you really expect this to go anywhere?

    If so, why?

  53. It sucks that the only people you can find to sponsor your genuinely fantastic site do so with the specific intent to create a chilling effect on your negative reporting about them. Whether or not that’s the result… still kinda creepy!

  54. So what if this really were a thinly veiled Comcast ad instead of a “real” Boing Boing post? Are we so afraid of being manipulated by advertising that we can’t determine for ourselves whether something is worthy of our interest or not? Weed through it and move on, if you’re so inclined. I’m surprised people who roam the net, where advertising and “real” content mix and merge, aren’t better at doing this sort of thing by now.

    And anyway, what’s so bad about an interesting ad? I personally don’t like Comcast much, but I stop and stare at the TV hypnotically every time one of their fun new toylike ads comes on.

  55. In a perfect world we could do what Penny Arcade does, vetting each advertiser personally, but we don’t have that luxury at the moment.

    This crystallizes for me why the arguments being advanced by staff are so disturbing — it conflates two entirely different types of sponsorship. Banner ads are one thing; I’m well aware that vetting them all would be silly and impractical. But this is a stealth ad made in every way to look like a normal post. It goes without saying that for this post to exist BB administrators had to make the decision to set up a relationship with Comcast that goes well beyond that of regular advertisers: a relationship that they allow to intrude into the editorial voice of the site with minimal disclosure. That behavior damages our ability to trust that any given post is not bought and paid for. Comcast already has some editorial control of the site; why should we believe that you are willing and free to criticize them as if they didn’t?

    We’re a business and we’re trying to figure out how to negotiate this really shitty time for being a media company

    Would this be acceptable behavior from, for example, the NYT? I’m sure they could make plenty of money if they opened the integrity of their newsroom to the highest bidder.

  56. “sirdook” and everyone else beat me to it. Yes, Comcast.
    I will stick to the real world even though I am burdened by mundane principles for it costs me less time and money.

  57. Would this be acceptable behavior from, for example, the NYT? I’m sure they could make plenty of money if they opened the integrity of their newsroom to the highest bidder.

    Clearly it is acceptable, and has been since at least World War 2.

    Oh wait, you thought the NYT reported news objectively? LOL!

  58. “Minimal disclosure”

    Complaint fail. Trying a little too hard to be venomous, perhaps?

    You’re just upset because we have a pixel art Montauk Monster, whereas you do not.

  59. HemiDemi – That behavior damages our ability to trust that any given post is not bought and paid for.

    Your ability to trust that any given post is not bought and paid for sounds more than a little damaged.

    Have you considered starting your own blog about this travesty if internet purity?

  60. Oh gad! Shitstorm in my eyes! Its everywhere!!

    Seriously, I was as irked as most of you when I saw this, but then I read all those comments. Now I’m giggling like a little girl.

    P.S. ffffuuuuuu comcast. $60 a month for some throttled-ass bandwidth? Yes I’m paying for it and complaining simultaneously, but what options do I have? DSL? poohpooh

  61. The two arguments so far:

    1) Uh, you’re not as indie as my frame of you is! WHY?!?

    2) Corporations have money which they use to help bb bloggers not starve. Selling out wins.

    So, what can be gleaned from both arguments? Well, I’m able to make both sound effing stupid, but, more importantly, the debate is solid. Can we trust that those who say ‘a’ will not say ‘~a’ and remain idealistic, or can we grow up and realize that money comes from somewhere, even big, bad corporations?

    My solutions are as such:

    For argument 1:
    Well, start shelling out money to Xeni, et al. At least the money won’t be dirty, in your eyes. Hope your PayPal account is still active.

    For argument 2:
    Yes, people need money to live. Yes, corporations have money. Hooray, for BB, Inc. Keep on getting business’s moneys!

    I like both arguments, but I take issue with argument 2 and its solution (I admit, I’m slightly more idealistic than realistic). If we, as readers, can trust those that say ‘a’ and ‘~a’, then it has to be a damn good reason, like new scientific findings contradicting previous theories. While I understand your position, ever consider giving money to these bloggers (see solution to argument 1)?

    Granted, I’ve really got no dog in this fight (T.V. is for those who don’t use Hulu for Family Guy/whatever and DSL is more stable a connection than cable), but it seems that if the argument as a whole were to resolve, bb would have to go all “JOIN NOW! MEMBERSHIP YOUR FACE, MOFO!” on us. Since that also goes against the general feel of bb, I’d personally rather deal with corporate nonsense and skip over what I consider crap posts and move on to the next. Hell, I do that already. If something doesn’t interest me, I move on. In fact, I only was interested in the discussion of this post, not the post itself.

    Granted, my entire argument might be a load of crap. Who cares? Everyone on the internet is wrong!

  62. Let’s be honest. Boingboing totally knew this backlash would happen. It is as obvious as: “Hey, guys! I we have a new sponsor with AIG! Check our our investment competition over at…”

    That said, it looks like Habbo Hotel. But where are all the Afro Blockers?

  63. Comcast is smart enough to extrapolate a line: they make heavy investments in their infrastructure based on predictions on net usage years in advance. What I’m assuming is that the last large infrastructure investment they made (multibillions; more than can be recouped by a few years of collecting bills across their entire subscriber base) was expected to last much longer than it actually will, due to the rise of several disruptive technologies. Apparently youtube “streams as much data in three months as the world’s radio, cable and broadcast television channels stream in one year, 75 petabytes” (wiki, “Net neutrality”). Not to mention Bittorent, which is hardly the “secret club” it used to be. Furthermore not to mention the file sizes of torrents doubling and tripling due to increasing proliferation of HD (ironically because the cable companies themselves ramped up their transfer rates to make this feasible).

    See how that throws a kink in their plans? It’s obviously not in their best interest to piss off customers, but they have to predict the worse case scenario, that their networks are going to become oversaturated before they can even think of raising the money for the next overhaul, especially in a medium that is reaching it’s physical limits (the cable itself, i mean). This is also where net neutrality comes into play. Not everything is so cut and dry, nor can you always assume it’s some boneheaded idea of an upper management doofus trying to inflate profits.

    And you know, many of the things we get to enjoy for free or low cost are sponsored by companies who have the funds to provide these things. Concerts, museums, orchestras, parks, etc, many of these things are funded by companies whose every aspect (or even many aspects) doesn’t align well with those of the participators, but it’s a compromise they accept. It’s up to you how indignant you want to be.

  64. No, the “Recent Comments” part of the profile has just changed and probably is just set wrong. If you’ve commented in the last few days and it’s not showing up, fire me an email (rob at bb) and we’ll check out your account.

  65. I just reread the post. This *is* shilling for Comcast. It goes beyond an ad, giving Comcast space in the “trusted” content section. I too see that as a violation.

    Why do I care? Because, bandwidth caps aside, Comcast is a despicable organization, with nightmarish customer service, a deliberately obfuscated and absurd “pricing structure”, and and annoying drive to buy up better companies. Companies like Comcast are a blight on our nation – don’t tell me internet wouldn’t be doing fine without them – and I have to say I’m pretty resentful that BoingBoing is trying to push their little “contest” on us as well. This is the kind of stuff where corporations want to insinuate themselves into your life, and it’s something I would expect BoingBoing to fight, not endorse.

    You have to ask yourselves – if Comcast wasn’t a sponsor, would you have put their little marketing game on the front page? If you admit that the answer is no, then you can’t say their ads don’t change your content. People have a right to be upset that an advertiser is changing the content of their favorite blog, and they have a right to want to avoid astroturfing as part of their regular news round.

  66. Agree with last comment. This post should be identified as a paid listing or “advertorial”. Makes it easier to skip over this type of stuff in the future.

  67. Hi all, Sorry for being MIA. I was away from my computer all yesterday afternoon and into the night. Rob and Joel have already said many of the things in my head, better than I probably could have said them.

    This conversation is actually very helpful. Thanks for the constructive comments. I thought I was being transparent by referring to Comcast as a sponsor. And for the record, I don’t agree with everything Comcast does. I do subscribe to their cable service. And I did have fun making the BB apartment. However, we hear what you’re saying.

  68. imag – i see no ‘trusted’ tag for this post. Might that tag be an artifact of your world wide browser (not your web browser, your reality browser), and not actually the boingers responsibility?

    Flipcloud – I can read, therefore I saw that the THIRD THROUGH SIXTH WORDS of the post identified this as having a commercial tie-in. But then again, my degree of education exceeds my degree of entitlement.

  69. Thanks for that update David. It helps. It’s certainly transparent enough of a post and for that, I applaud. It could have just as easily been posted without any disclaimer.

    Also, thanks for understanding our concern instead of the immediate dismissal that was put forth at the beginning of the discussion.

  70. Those Comcast Town commercials are creepy as hell. Everyone in a Soma-induced haze, chanting corporate love in emotionless monotones, aimlessly wandering through a day-glo consumer fever-dream.

  71. Admit it. You’d all think this was cool if the name “comcast” was just removed from the initial post.

    But just saying “comcast” makes everyone ready to breathe flames, regardless of the coolness of content.

    *facepalms*

    I am once again let down by the BB readership.

  72. MDH, I wasn’t attacking anyone.. although apparently that’s how you read the tone of my comment.
    What motivated my suggestion is thinking of how other types of media address this issue (online and off): on Google’s search results pages they clearly identify where the sponsored results are with the words ‘sponsored listings’, likewise in the nytimes they will put “advertisement” at the top of a page whose layout resembles the rest of the paper so that it is not confused for editorial content. Visual cues alluding to the hybrid nature of a post would be helpful to me. I like my church and state separate. And this was done with a simple disclaimer on this site for the Cheetos stuff, and it was helpful to me then.

    On a side note, what is your degree of entitlement? Sounds like you are a red belt.

  73. Comcast is smart enough to extrapolate a line: they make heavy investments in their infrastructure based on predictions on net usage years in advance. What I’m assuming is that the last large infrastructure investment they made (multibillions; more than can be recouped by a few years of collecting bills across their entire subscriber base) was expected to last much longer than it actually will, due to the rise of several disruptive technologies.

    In other words, Comcast assumed a linear growth model, when anyone even remotely familiar with the Internet would tell you to expect exponential growth.

    I know that telecoms feel “once bitten, twice shy” ever since Worldcom, but ironically their accounting fraud would have become stone cold reality if they could have somehow held on for a few more years. Demand for bandwidth really is progressing at a geometric rate.

    And business is in the business of meeting demand with supply (or being out-competed by those that will).

    that their networks are going to become oversaturated before they can even think of raising the money for the next overhaul, especially in a medium that is reaching it’s physical limits (the cable itself, i mean). Not everything is so cut and dry, nor can you always assume it’s some boneheaded idea of an upper management doofus trying to inflate profits.

    Actually, it’s exactly some CEO doofus trying to inflate profits, as evidenced by the existence of 100Mbps symmetric fiber optic to the home provided by private companies in other nations such as Korea.

    The problem is not a technical limitation. It’s an institutional limitation.

    c.f. Assuring Scarcity by Bob Frankston

  74. Admit it. You’d all think this was cool if the name “comcast” was just removed from the initial post.

    No, I’d think it seems like a lame crappy knock-off of Habbo Hotel.

    (We need more first-movers and less fast-followers.)

  75. @100 Talia: Absolutely. The issue in question isn’t the quality; which is reportedly bad. It’s the alleged conflict of interest which alarms some loyal readership.

  76. The point of advertising is not selling ad space it is selling your audience. When a trusted website sell ad space and by extension its readership to a major corporation that it is against many of the principals that that the web site expressed that should raise a few flags.

    When you are openly working with them and giving them preferential treatment and free advertising masked as content then yes people have a right to be pissed. These are the people who made any of this advertising and your livelyhood possible.

    Don’t take the wounded stance, someone in Boing Boing new this would have happened. I would respect you guys if you outright said “Look we looked at page hits compared to comments and we kinda figured any backlash we got in diminished hits would really matter in the long run. Screw you all we have kids to feed.” I would understand that other than the we can say whatever we want and this isn’t a big deal line.

  77. All, We’re working on figuring out how we might have handled this better or differently in the future. Once we have what we think is a more concrete and explicit set of guidelines around advertising, sponsorships, and promotions on the site, I promise we’ll share them with you for feedback. We’re doing the best we can to figure stuff out while trying to run a business. And we’re learning as we go. Thanks.

  78. Having a sponsor is not an invitation for every disgruntled customer to air their grievances every time we do a post. There have been plenty of posts about Comcast where you could complain about them. That does not give you license to continue repeating the same complaints in this and every thread that they sponsor (if any).

    Ah, the attitude doesn’t take long to set it. Does it?

    Count me as another reader who only clicked on this story because it was so unseemly. Being mega-skanks might even become a good business model for this site (angry clicks are still clicks, right?). At aleast until we stop bothering with BoingBoing at all or start using AdBlock.

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