(Note, Facebook ultimately deleted Jim and Marianne Wright’s Crossroad Junction Page for Multiple Community Guideline Violations which included much of what is included in this article.)
How do Internet Trolls Operate?
As I recently provided an article about Jim Wright and his internet sites of Crossroad Junction, Nathan’s Voice, Fulcrum Ministries and now Fulcrum Express I thought this might be a good opportunity to show people some of the methods that are used by online entities to try to create the illusion or the impression of a very loud voice. This gives their messages a sense of credibility for those who view them but aren’t aware of what they are doing and how they are doing it. By understanding this you’ll be less likely to be fooled by those who use what are sometimes referred to as what many see as unethical and are sometimes referred to as “Black Hat” internet techniques.
I’m using Jim Wright, Nathan’s Voice, Fulcrum Ministries, Crossroad Junction and Fulcrum Express as an example as they are currently on my mind from my research into the organizations but this is useful information for anyone to have so that they can answer questions when they are presented with internet information that they want to check to see who is actually putting it out there.
This is a Prime Example of How an Internet Troll Operates
I mentioned one such method on my first article with is located in the link immediately below. Click on it if you would like to see that article and the many questions that my initial examination of these sites raised in my mind.
A shorter article with bullet point that you can read in less than one minute is also available HERE.
It is not a difficult thing for organizations or individuals to make their website look very professional and then use that appearance to give the impression of credibility. Jim Wright’s Fulcrum Ministries organization does this by using Nathan’s Voice to make accusations and then having the other organizations reply to them. By claiming that Nathan’s Voice is taking such and such an action it creates an illusion of independence created that makes it look like these are all unrelated organizations and other people are involved.
Nathan’s Voice doesn’t disclose any other people and the only voices on its website that I’ve seen to this point is Jim Wright and Fulcrum Ministries. It’s not difficult to see the inter-relatedness of these organizations if you take a little time to look at them, but what many internet trolls rely on is that most of the people who see their “News Releases” will not look closely and will accept the claims and assume that there is independence present.
In addition to this I’d like to point out 2 things that make the activities of these “organizations” look very suspicious to me and why you should add these considerations to the previous things I had to say in my earlier blog. By looking at this you’ll learn how to spot these types of activities here and in other places.
- These Blogs are networked together all on the same host and yet they appeal to each other to try to create an appearance of independence.
- The FaceBook connection to Crossroad Junction appears to have used some type of method to create or possibly even buy “Likes” to create the illusion of size and popularity.
These Blogs are networked together all on the same host and yet they appeal to each other to try to create an appearance of independence and separation.
So it’s obvious first that the illusion is created by this method as I noted in my first blog post, but then what is not so obvious is how these organizations use a method known as Networked Blogs which is often used to try to “trick” internet search engines to believe that these sites are referencing each other and therefore should move higher on the search results of many major internet search engines.
Networked Blogs are described in very general terms here:
In short, a blog network is a group of blogs that are connected to each other in a network that are owned by the same organization or person. The purpose of these blogs often in part are are to cross-promote and self-promote each other and by doing this they create the illusion of independence and increase each blog site’s profile while promoting at the same time the purpose of the person or organization who is running all of them. Some also use this technique to increase their ranking in Search Engine results and move their links up the page.
It appears to me to be so and here is the evidence. You can check this yourself by using:
If you use the different “whois” and related tools there you can see the interrelatedness of all these entities and that there is no separation in terms of the administrator of these sites. All of this is public information by the way. There’s no secrets when it comes to checking these things, but most people aren’t familiar with how to do it
When you check the different sites that Jim Wright posts on and uses these different voices presented you’ll find the administrator in different instances to be entities such as Fulcrumprime, Organic Sower and then the entities themselves referenced earlier. The administrator of these different sites used online help services with Google Groups and Word Press in public threads which show the equivalencies at work here. The links below demonstrate the many different identifications and usernames (not all of them by any means.)
Crossroadjunction.com = organicsower (fulcrumprime previously)
Proof = http://crossroadjunction.com/author/organicsower/
FulcrumMinistries.org = fulcrumadmin
Proof = post #1 http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/headlines-theme-more-questions?replies=3#post-598179
fulcrumadmin = organicsower
Proof = post #3 http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/headlines-theme-more-questions?replies=3#post-598179
There is no administrative separation or independence between these sites and they are effectively the same person or organization. With no separation in terms of access to these blogs it is clearly the same person or the primary administrator who is running all these blogs and making statements on both blogs but then attempting to create the impression of separation and independence. With no internal separation this is what is sometimes referred to as a “Sockpuppet” or a person speaking to themselves online.
There is no way to deny that these entities are not one and the same. The use of the networked blogs then appear to very strongly suggest that the purpose at the very least includes the illusion of independence and the use of networked blogs for Search Engine Optimization. Other reasons can exist as well, but this is a “Black Hat” technique that is very questionable and considered by many to be unethical.
The FaceBook connection to Crossroad Junction appears to have used some type of method to create or possibly even buy “Likes” to create the illusion of size and popularity.
This is actually very easy to see and it demonstrates the patterns at work that are spoken about in this article from Wired: (click on it)
This is a screen shot of Crossroad Junction’s Facebook Page showing the “Likes” taken, May 24, 2013.
Look at this information and it will be very clear that there is something unusual going on here.
1. There are over 2,000 likes. When I first saw this page about April 23, 2013 there were nowhere near that many likes. And yet, the chart in the bottom left hand corner shows the increase in New Likes per week and “People Talking About this” as an incredible amount right about April 28.
2. The steadiness of the incline is a dead giveaway that a form of a script run program is at work or some other form of a click farm or like buying service. It’s almost a perfectly straight line up. Random adds just don’t happen like this. Further if you’ll look at the Page Insights on the left, it clearly shows that the majority of “likes” are from Manila in the Philippines and the age group is the mostly 18 – 24 year olds. That is incredible don’t you think for a blog and Facebook page in the US? There is clearly something unusual at work here and it looks very much like a service that buys “likes” on Facebook. If it isn’t an actually buying service then it’s clearly some other form of “scheme” to increase likes. In either scenario it is highly unethical and certainly not something, in my opinion, that a Christian Ministry should be engaged in.
What is more, this is very likely a violation of Facebook Terms of Service as shown here:
The short answer is “NO!”
For more detail on this issue that shows step by step how to see that there is some sort of bought algorithm, script or networking plan in effect see my more detailed blog on this issue HERE.
So these are the questions I finish with that I think in addition to my prior article should be asked of Jim Wright, Fulcrum Ministries, Nathan’s Voice, Crossroad Junction, Organic Sower, fulcrumadmin etc. and should also be red flags when you look at other sites or entities that are crying for your attention.
1. Why is it necessary to use such apparently unethical methods such as Networked Blogs and separated entities and some form of script to add likes to your Blogs connection to Facebook? It’s clear that this action was taken on the heels of the most recent accusation by Nathan’s Voice. If you’re telling the truth, why resort to such methods to make your voice louder?
2. If you’re willing to use methods such as this to create the appearance of an audience and amplify your voice, what would keep you from utilizing similar methods when you appeal to witnesses, elders and networked churches? Integrity doesn’t just turn on and turn off. This is likely indicative of a pattern isn’t it?
I hope you find this blog helpful in showing some of the ways that you can use internet tools to see when a person or organization is using methods that create an illusion of influence and the size of their voice. The methods themselves are good to know whether you are interested in these specific entities or not.