In 2010, a blog post was published on one of Socialoholic’s content websites titled top intelligence agencies in the world. The goal of the blog post was to initiate a marketing effort to honor the sacrifices made by the agency by trying to brand them as the #1 intelligence agency in the world. We genuinely believe that the rankings were done professionally with proper journalistic values after collecting & analyzing data, reading the literature & conducting a quantitative research.
The content was then pushed on the social news websites by our team such as Digg & StumbleUpon. We performed Guerrilla Marketing tactics to create a unique, thought-provoking buzz. Since this was in the early days of the social networks with Facebook just emerging, and Whatsapp almost non existent, we honestly didn’t expect it spread like wild fire, but we are insanely proud that it did.
It was picked up by all local news channels, print media such as The News, Express Tribune, international media (The Atlantic). There were hour-long shows hosted on local entertainment channels, including on Aag by Geo. It was picked up by ex-DG ISI, Lt. Gen Asad Durrani who took the message further, and also published it in a book The Spy Chronicles that he co-authored which was published in 2018.
On-site, the article was read over 1,234,475 times while the major impact happened off-site which we can not measure accurately. Our estimates suggest that the message was heard by over 85 million people. We have made these estimations by only including data from the known sources where we know it was published/broadcasted and by taking in account their estimated readership and audience at the time it was published or broadcasted. This doesn’t take in account, the discussions done in independent forums which we estimate further add about 10 million readers.
We published the content using a generic “Smashing Lists” website. The content was not published under a pseudonym but by the original name of the writer. The theme, over-all design, domain name didn’t imitate any popular publication. We created a genuine experience and maintained distance with fake-news and InfoWar tactics.
Just 2 days ago, Vice Media unearthed a report of a shadowy Indian company that used 265 fake websites operated in 65 countries that mimicked news outlets by using similar names of popular publications like Times of Los Angeles, New York Morning Telegraph & Times of Pyongyang etc. The goal of these efforts is to confuse the user into thinking that the news that he’s reading is being published by a genuine trusted news agency. As per Vice, the larger goal of the campaign was to influence European lawmakers in favor of Indian interests in Kashmir.
We are proud of our efforts for publishing professionally researched content, using authentic distribution channels, and creating an over-all safe and genuine experience for the readers. This is the least we can do in the times when others resort to fake news to set the narrative for the readers.
Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with any organization or agency. This was an independent marketing effort for which we independently generated advertising revenue. We thank the writer of the post for her efforts.