Hot on the Web

A paid poster who refuses to delete

By Duan Yan (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-06-17 07:08
Large Medium Small

Editor's note: Ma Mingdong is a 25-year-old Beijing blogger and online marketer.

After I graduated from Huadong Jiaotong University in 2008 - my major was marketing - I worked as a sales person in a pharmaceutical company in Hebei province for six months. But I got bored and wanted to do something more exciting.

So, I found a job with an Internet marketing company in April 2009 and came to Beijing, where I've learned the business of "Internet manipulation". It wasn't widely known at that time.

I'm good at writing articles online. I used to visit the popular websites and online forums I write for when I was in school, so I know what kind of articles and titles attract attention.

My manager gave me contacts to a few people in charge of paid posters. We call them shuijun, which means water army. This is because most posts and comments are like water, they have no significance or meaning but they can be overwhelming when they flood in.

Paid posters use fake identities to leave comments and articles online. Basically anyone who knows certain people in the industry can flood the Internet with articles. They are paid about 10 to 30 cents for each post, and more if it includes pictures.

All these paid posters are college kids or jobless people. And there are so many of them. I've told some kids that they can share IDs with each other so they don't need to register themselves. They need someone to teach them how the business works. Otherwise, they are just robots who only know how to copy and paste. I've had thousands of IDs on websites. Some people gave them to me as gifts when they quit this business.

Deleting posts is more advanced and more profitable. I've met a web editor who is surprised to know that he can make money from doing this. Some got fired because of deleting posts, but to some the money is handsome and they are willing to risk their jobs. I'm against deleting posts but paid posting are okay, as long as it's legal.

Some people have put their experiences of injustice online, and I can help them to leave comments and forward to other websites so more people can read about these stories. For some, it's their only hope to get their stories heard.

One of my friends asked me to promote his investment articles online. He is now teaching people how to buy stocks on the finance channel on I'm definitely not going to listen to his investment advice. I don't trust the Internet anymore.

Ma Mingdong was talking to Duan Yan.