We've done this before (remember the hidden persuaders debate?). You all know that creating fake identities on boards and chatting up your product will bite you in the ass sooner or later. But it all depends on the community you are trying to pimp your stuff on. Metafilter is self-policing community (that I've always hoped Adland could emulate), where members thought a question posted to Ask Metafilter just didn't look right....
Mr. Karnofsky, writing as geremiah, posted a question to Ask MetaFilter, a question-and-answer page that is part of MetaFilter, a community blog.
“All the Web sites I’ve seen just have huge lists of charities with some basic financial data/ratings,” Mr. Karnofsky, as geremiah, wrote. “I’d ideally like to hear from someone who has put some time into examining/comparing charities and can recommend someone who’s good. Any ideas?”
Roughly a half-hour later, after three other people had posted comments, Mr. Karnofsky, writing as himself under the name holden0 but without disclosing his relationship with GiveWell, answered his own question and recommended GiveWell’s Web site.
“This was a horrible lapse in judgment,” Mr. Karnofsky wrote in a Dec. 31 post on GiveWell’s site. Reached by phone on Monday, he said he was not authorized to comment.
If all press, including bad press, is good press well then Givewell has it made, since now you can even find an entire Metafilter Wiki Page about Givewell.