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Those of us who’ve been round online a while will have seen at least one, and probably several occasions where large organisation starts blog/forum/online community, then proceeds to try hamfistedly to control the conversation, whether by deleting adverse comments, stacking the community with “sock puppets” (community members who are employees, or otherwise associated with the entity running the community) and so on.

Well, seems like folks won’t learn.

Cheryl Gledhill, from Moltn: (disclosure, good friend, and great supporter of Web Directions) recently posted on an episode at a new NAB website, myfuturebank, which seems like a case study in how not to do online community building.

Noted social media and network guru (disclosure, friend, and long time speaker at Web Directions) has posted some detailed thoughts on the episode.

This is far from restricted to the online world. agents provocateur have been round as long as there have been mobs to incite, and in the activist world, there’s a term for grass roots community that is really a front for an industry group (incredibly common by the way) “astroturf” communities.

Here’s my suggestion for a name for the phenomenon of fake communities online – fauxmunities. I suspect they’ll be round for some time.

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Dave Greiner Founder, Campaign Monitor