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A Letter to Reddit

The following letter is a response to this Reddit post: http://www.reddit.com/r/blog/comments/elqgs/cheaters_never_win/

Dear Reddit, and unhappy Interneters,

We seem to have sparked a bit of a controversy online in our quest to find a Redditor to help us promote our clients on Reddit. The first thing that we'd like to do is offer a full, unaltered transcript of the email we sent out to a few of these high-karma Reddit users, rather than the abridged version quoted on the main Reddit post:

Hey,

I'm gonna get straight to the point here. I found your username from some story on the front page and it seems like you have a good idea as to what's good content on Reddit and what isn't.

I work with RasiFranks.com, a social media agency that promotes clients on sites just like Reddit. We are ONLY interested in promoting good quality content, no spam bullshit, and nothing that's not entertaining. The problem is that our accounts suck :-( and we don't know how to promote on Reddit, and as a result our submissions go nowhere with no votes other than our own single vote from submitting it.

What I'm asking is if you would be willing to work with us? We would send you something, and if you think it's great social media quality content, you could help us promote it through your account. We would of course be willing to pay for your time and effort to push it if you'd be interested.

Your thoughts? :-)

Thanks, Rob

We wish to point out a few things in that email that seem to have been overlooked. We are NOT interested in spamming or gaming Reddit to promote shitty, uninteresting, boring content.

The fact of the matter is, Reddit is so huge that it's simply impossible for all great content to be discovered and seen by all. No one can deny that they haven't seen some absolutely phenomenal submission that ended up being a diamond in the rough, never to be seen, never to get over an upvote or two.

So that's where we come in; we help our clients: blogs, small/large brands and companies, and online websites of all sorts create absolutely the best entertaining content we can. And to those saying if it was good it would end up on the front page, you're half right. Out of our hundreds upon hundreds of clients we've promoted, only about 1-2 dozen have hit the front page of Reddit before. However, each and every time the clients and the submission received nothing short of an amazing response from "Hivemind" that so many of you are emailing us about claiming to hate us.

So, we just want to stipulate the fact that we're not out to game Reddit or receive upvotes from people disinterested or making thousands of accounts to vote our own submissions up. We merely want someone, any one user who has had experience with Reddit, who has loyal followers and a say on Reddit to help us. All we wanted was to be able to send them this great content and have them submit it, so that it at least has a chance. And if that Redditor says it's crap, then it's crap, and we don't force them to submit it. If it's good, then all we want is to give it that chance, and if it gets a million downvotes then so be it. We aren't creating any accounts to vote up our stuff - that is not how Reddit works - maybe Digg ;) -but not Reddit, and we respect that. This is why we even bother to make sure the content we make is top quality for you guys!

The irony of all of this is how much controversy it's causing. If Reddit truly is "ungamable" or "unspammable" then why was our contacting a few Redditors a big deal? It shouldn't have been, and it shouldn't change anything, because even if we make that front page, it would be taken off. So really, why all the hype?

The emails telling us we're scammers are getting a bit ridiculous guys. We're not in this business to scam anyone, or take anyone's money and run with it. We offer value on all mediums we outreach to and regardless of your ignorance in what's true and what isn't, that's the fact of the matter.

Look, we're not looking to fight with you or anyone, but at least have some self respect for yourselves (in regards to the hundreds of emails telling us to die). Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

Why not take some of the efforts associated with sending us these emails and do some good? Donate to Wikipedia who is in desperate need of funding... go fight the TSA which you all seem to have thought was the worst thing ever and is now a ghost story. What of the huge BP spill? Where's all the press? Don't you see how silly this is? some of you are calling us the scum of the earth?

Here's some perspective for your asses (not all of Reddit, just those who are actually letting something like this affect you emotionally and are actually generating "hatred" for what we do, which doesn't seem like most of you have a good grasp on anyways) - http://csaction.org/TORTURE/TORTURE.html, that's scum of the Earth. Calling what we do scum of the earth makes us think some of you need a reality check.

We would be more than happy to have a philosophical discussion on the ethics of our business with anyone who is genuinely interested - email us at contact@rasifranks.com. Let's be productive about this and really talk it over if it's bothering you or if there are misconceptions.

Otherwise, you can go on hating us and our services.. go on "loller skating" our site and sending us anon threats. You're all just part of this game...our game. ;-) Enjoy below some of the brightest of the bright of Redditors...

Sincerely,
RasiFranks Media




RasiFranks

Submission 1
Name:
Phone:
Email:
Site URL: http://www.rasifranks.com/
Found us: Reddit
Message: You filth.

Submission 2
Name: Red Ditor
Phone: 99999999999
Email: gofuckyourself@gmail.com
Site URL: reddit.com
Found us: Go fuck yourself
Message: Stay the fuck away from reddit unless you feel like tempting a visit from anon.

Submission 3
Name: Nate D
Phone:
Email:
Site URL: http://
Found us:
Message: you people are scum on earth. shut down now, or you will be shut down soon.

Submission 4
Name: Billy Mayshere
Phone:
Email:
Site URL: http://
Found us: Reddit
Message: Nice try on penetrating Reddit. There's now a front page post about your failure. Congrats. We don't tolerate cheaters.

P.S. If you want to know the secret of getting a big splash, as someone with many front page hits I can tell you it's pretty simple, submit good content.

Submission 5
Name:
Phone:
Email:
Site URL: http://
Found us:
Message: You guys suck. Keep your ad content off of reddit.com, and go dig through the maggoty trash in the alley.

Submission 6
Name: loller skates
Phone: 666-420-1989
Email: right@left.com
Site URL: http://
Found us: on lavalife
Message: asdf is pretty common

Submission 7
Name:
Phone:
Email:
Site URL:
Found us: Forbes
Message: Dear Sir or Madam: I would like to politely offer you to mangle on my genitalia you scum of the Earth. You are scammers and deserve to be in jail.

Submission 8
Name: David I
Phone:
Email:
Site URL: http://reddit.com
Found us: reddit.com
Message: Now that you're not just scumbags but *famous* scumbags thanks to Reddit, would you like some help redesigning your site to join the 21st century? I have a feeling you're going to be getting some extra "hits" in the next few days.

Time to start a real business, dude.

Submission 9
Name: get off reddit
Phone:
Email: stupidtshirt@gmail.com
Site URL: http://
Found us: reddit announcement scolding your shitty marketing tactics
Message: you are cancerous to reddit and i hate you

Submission 10
Name:
Phone:
Email:
Site URL: http://
Found us:
Message: Don't feel bad. Better people than you have failed in your line of work.

Submission 11
Name: You Fail
Phone: 555-666-0000
Email: you@fail.hard
Site URL: http://www.reddit.com/comments/elqgs/cheaters_never_win/
Found us: Linked from Reddit
Message: They say opposites attract. I hope you meet someone who is good-looking, intelligent, and cultured.

Submission 12
Name:
Phone: 5555555555
Email:
Site URL: http://www.rasifranks.com
Found us: Reddit
Message: I am appalled and at the same time amused. I can't help but think of one word to describe your business: Scummy.

As a media professional, this is truly the lowest of the low with no fear of repercussions from an organized online community. In any case, I support your endeavors as a scummy organizations. In fact, I will help promote you to my colleagues in my industry as a worthwhile joke to marketers, PR reps and media workers.

Yes, I know you're not the only organizations that do this, but so far, you're one of the few organizations that have been stupid enough to get caught with your hands in the karma cookie jar.

In any case, if you do succeed in "gaming" the social media sites, please, write a book and it may even sell like Sarah Palin's book...with the same level of notoriety.

Good luck and happy gaming.

Submission 13
Name: the man
Phone: 1111111111
Email: ebaumsworld@ebaumsworld.com
Site URL: http://www.ebaumsworld.com
Found us: i was herping while I derped
Message: they don't call it the hivemind for nothing. it can tend to be like a hive of bees that work together. That's not something you want to whack with a stick if you can help it. Doesn't matter if you feel like you're in the right. I would back off from the hive for awhile and let things cool down. That's my best advice. Putting up cocky messages that will piss even more people off is going to really really really screw you over. I have seen what the anons are capable of. they will fuck shit up. most of the time, the hive does the right thing in the right way. But sometimes, sometimes, they feel like they are doing the right thing and they do it in the wrong way. that's when you want to get out of the way.

Take all of this as advice. i have been in with the hive for 2 years now and have seen what they are capable of. heed my warning. a lot of them are very bored. they can find you. they can ruin you. don't tempt them to do it.

Our comment on the above submission ^

Here's one we liked, because it was actually thought out and well-written. While we completely understand the magnitude of the possible repercussions, we refuse to believe how silly some people can get over this. If anyone out there truly thinks their favorite social media site isn't "gamed", then ignorance is bliss. The fact of the matter is this is something being done on every social media site by almost ever power user. Hell, we won't disclose names to protect our promoters, but even top 20 link Karma Reddit users have promoted with us - and these are guys with dozens and dozens of other front page submissions, among our own. Again, we don't want to spam Reddit, we wish to spread more funny, entertaining, all around awesome content, that just HAPPENS to be made by us for our clients. No harm, no foul. If people are offended by this, which really, there is no reason to be, then so be it.

Submission 14
Name: Red Dit
Phone: Notonyourlife
Email: Youmustbejoking@gmail.com
Site URL: http://
Found us: Reddit
Message: Ahahahaha.

Your story about trying to game Reddit made the front page of Reddit today! Now all your customers will know just how much money they've utterly wasted!

Submission 15
Name: Steff Mailman
Phone:
Email: sales@reddit.com
Site URL: http://blog.reddit.com/2010/04/you-can-now-target-and-rerun-sponsored.html
Found us: Hehe
Message: Why don't you guys just BUY ad space on Reddit as a fast and effective apology for this letter?

rasifranks.com/reddit.html

Seriously, don't crown yourselves without paying first.

Submission 16
Name: T S
Phone: 9999999999
Email: tasadaki@gmail.com
Site URL: reddit.com
Found us: Reddit
Message: Seriously, the hivemind can be a bunch of ignorant fools themselves. I see where you're coming from- you're looking for tips to promote great content on Reddit. But these people won't see that. They only see you as a scammer that wants their money. Honestly, I understand where you're coming from and I feel bad for the Reddit community in that they just jump on the bandwagon in hating your company when honestly, you haven't done anything wrong.

Honestly, Reddit is being as ignorant as Fox News in their handling of this. They hear cheating and they blow it out of proportion. In reality, there isn't any cheating going on, just sheer ignorance on Reddit's part.

On behalf of the Reddit community, I apologize for the ignorance of the hivemind.

Another comment on the above submission ^

Thanks for writing us. We do agree that the handling of the situation has been rather childish on the behalf of many Redditors and we are almost ashamed to say that the staff here is all HUGE fans of Reddit.

What's interesting to see in our emails is the only well written and/or thought out ones are those seeing this from an objective perspective - that perspective being that this is not a big deal, nothing new, and furthermore, simply not something that should be frowned upon if thought about critically.

The rest of the emails are some variant of "LOLERSKATES FAGS YOU WILL BE DEAD ANON WILL PRESERVE INTERNET HOLINESS ROFLCOPTER EVIL PEDOBEAR OMGWTFBBQ".

If you have something to say, positive or negative, we like it, so feel free to keep it coming.


Submission 17
Name:
Phone:
Email:
Site URL: http://www.google.com
Found us: Take a wild guess.
Message: I'm not about to join in the chorus of nonsense that you have posted on your 'letter'. The reason Reddit is so outraged is that you are attempting to tamper with their results. The whole idea is the community is entirely transparent, and submissions are judged on their merit solely by the visitors of the site. If this means some great submissions are left unfound, so be it. The purpose of Reddit is not to promote sites, it is to promote stories and discussion. Attempting to corrupt the transparency of this process by artificially injecting value is the highest insult to Redditors, as it is a threat to the core values upon which the site gained its popularity. Use Digg as a case study: if money was allowed to have any say in the popularity of submissions, Reddit would be just as much of a ghost town as Digg is these days.

Unfortunately, I know your type. You're completely ignorant of everything I have just said. All you want to know is how you can buy views for your clients. THIS is why you are being called the scum of the earth, and being compared to the torture you linked. Because you're just as stubborn, your goals are just as impure, and if it came down to it you would probably do the same thing, just to perpetuate your own beliefs.

Submission 18
Name: Fuck You
Phone:
Email:
Site URL: http://
Found us:
Message:

Submission 19
Name: Not Fallingforit
Phone: 408-555-1212
Email: no@fucking.way
Site URL: http://
Found us: reddit
Message: I was trying to keep an open mind regarding this whole brouhaha.

Posting individuals' contact info has just sealed my opinion.

The hivemind is right, you are a douche.

Submission 20
Name: L OL
Phone:
Email: L_OL@LoL.com
Site URL: http://
Found us: Reddit
Message: To be honest, when I first read the story on Reddit I thought you were trying to fuck us over for your profit. After reading your rebuttal, I see where you're coming from. Reddit can overreact to the point of ignorance sometimes. It's a hivemind thing. I understand that you just want Reddit to be home for awesome new content, but I don't agree that you should be paid for spreading it. Profit shouldn't be a factor. The only thing that should matter when submitting should be is the quality, uniqueness, and relevance of that post. The fact that you get paid to do this, as well as willing to pay other users, is something I can't agree with. I can only encourage you to work with the Reddit admins to find a way to post some of your content with your own account in a safe, non-spamming way so that you can get your submissions viewed and Reddit's servers can stay up. Paying other people to do it is gaming our site.

Submission 20...continued
Name: L OL
Phone:
Email:
Site URL: http://
Found us:
Message: I forgot to say this in my last e-mail. Sorry for that. Trying to make deals with people who have huge karma isn't the way to get your content out there. There's no such thing as a 'power-user' in Reddit. No one looks at usernames when upvoting. The only usernames that people recognize are the novelty accounts. Those accounts are only for comments, not linked submissions, so it's highly unlikely to generate traffic from them.

Submission 21
Name: Laughing Atyoo
Phone:
Email: bigemptybox@gmail.com
Site URL: http://
Found us: Reddit
Message: http://www.rasifranks.com/reddit.html
You guys must be pretty low on clients and pretty high on time to pen such a lengthy response to your failed attempt to break into social (isn't that what you do?? Aren't you supposed to be good at this stuff???)

You even post and respond to the various emails you were sent. Lol, for real?? You are actually reading all of these? :D Guess it beats tapping your pencil watching the hands of the clock on your office (or are you a home-based business?) wall move.

Pretty pathetic, but at least you're building your resume for when you hit the pavement when this endeavor folds.

Keep your chin up.

Submission 22
Name:
Phone:
Email: redditor584028@gmail.com
Site URL:
Found us:
Message: Offering to pay high karma / high profile redditors to get 'good quality content' on the front page of reddit is the definition of 'gaming' reddit, sorry, I'm not buying your response in playing the victim here. Good quality content doesn't need to be 'pushed' to get noticed, it happens naturally and organically, especially on reddit. From your own Description of Services: "RasiFranks provides users with access to a varied scope of resources, including various traffic generation tools...". I believe the service you're providing is unethical at best.

Submission 23
Name: Rasi Franks
Phone:
Email: contact@rasifranks.com
Site URL: http://
Found us:
Message: fuck off loser.

Submission 24
Name:
Phone:
Email:
Site URL: http://www.JV.com
Found us: I just did.
Message: It's obvious from the marketing jargon on your website that you're scum.

Submission 25
Name: Reality Check
Phone:
Email: contact@rasifranks.com
Site URL:
Found us: Reddit
Message: "We are ONLY interested in promoting good quality content, no spam bullshit, and nothing that's not entertaining"
The problem with this statement is that you, rasifranks, are making the judgement as to what good quality and bad quality is. That is what the Reddit community is for.

There are two points of interest to me. 1. You claim to know what good quality is. If this is true, it should be upvoted fairly just like every single other front page post on Reddit. While certainly everyone who has submitted to Reddit occasionally has a piece deserving of the frontpage get lost, you get over it, it's no big deal.

The fact that you aren't being successful just shows you don't know how to market your 'good' content to Reddit's audience.

2. As a business, your claim is that you are masters of social media like Reddit. "You talk, and we make the world listen" On this front, you have failed. That's it. You as a business fail at your objective. You admit "we don't know how to promote on Reddit", so why should any one interested in being promoted on Reddit turnover $240 dollars for a front page article? That is a scam pure and simple. You promise one thing, and you fail at it.

Finally, your premise goes against the Reddiquette, our code so to speak. "A link should get points for being good, not because the submitter is part of a voting clique." While not everyone abides by the Redditquette, it is still the backbone of our community, and believing yourself to be perfectly honorable in your intentions in light of this code is either naivety or downright dishonesty, neither which are traits of a good company.

While the hivemind certainly has it's own share of bullshit and circlejerking, it gives it the ability to see right through your own bullshit marketing spin.

Submission 26
Name: RasiFucks
Phone:
Email: contact@rasifranks.com
Site URL: http://
Found us: Reddit
Message: Go fuck your mum and sis

Submission 27
Name: Read Your Privacy Policy
Phone: 555-555-5555
Email: support@rasifranks.com
Site URL: /http://www.rasifranks.com
Found us: http://www.rasifranks.com
Message: Hey shit for brains, you're posting private information in your Reddit letter (phone numbers, e-mail address, names, etc.) I'd hate to see someone lawyer up and take you down for good.

From your privacy policy: "We generally do not rent or share personal or non-personal information collected with non-affiliated third parties without your consent. We may, however, share such information with trusted third party contractors who provide services for us. These third party contractors are prohibited from using the information we provide for purposes other than performing services for us. We may also share the information collected with unaffiliated third parties. For example, we may disclose that "a past campaign received a certain number of views. However, we ensure that this information cannot be used to contact or identify any person individually."

Yet another comment on the above submission ^

You're correct in saying we may have been showing some personal information, and have changed this to only showing the obvious fake ones in an attempt to spam us. But thanks for your concern. :)


Submission 28
Name: John Rambo
Phone: 1231231234
Email: rambo@firstblood.kill
Site URL: http://becomewar.org
Found us: I was blowing shit up and found this site in the wreckage
Message: At least you guys finally will get some traffic to your site, right? You got traffic in the 3rd, least desirable way, however - by pissing in the collective face of one of the most genial and fun sites on the interwebs. Now don't get me wrong, I work in SEM myself - I don't think your goals are wrong in promoting your clients. But even if high karma users were to promote your stuff, I don't think it would matter. Reddit is a platform for discussion first, for the most part. Think of it this way, the most popular subReddit is pics. People look at funny, disgusting, angering or sad pics and then talk about them and make shitty jokes. The second most popular is probably funny and then videos is probably 3rd or close to it. My point is simple: unlike a lot of other shitty sites on the web, Reddit is a community - like a big forum without the shitty, self-promoting signatures and profile links. You want on the front page? It's a good goal. Then make something funny - so damned funny that it can't be ignored. That's one hell of an alternative to looking like SMM's whipping boy on such a huge site as Reddit, that's for sure.

More to Come We're Sure...