On Friday’s show, Rachel Maddow did a segment on some shady anti-health care reform activism going on in some free-to-play Facebook games and other places on the web:
Transcript available here (of the full show: do a find for “Mafia Wars” and you’ll be at the right segment).
Choice quotes for you TL;DR’ers:
Advertisers will give you virtual money to spend in mafia wars or other games in exchange for stuff like trying their products or clicking through their endless intrusive surveys.
One blunt way to look at this is that gamers are being bribed with things that they want in the online world in order to provide stuff that‘s valuable in the real world to advertisers—or to people who want to stop health reform? Yes. The Web site Business Insider is now reporting that bribing people with virtual currency, like the fake gaming mafia money, it‘s being used by the health insurance industry as a way to generate letters of opposition to health reform.
Online ads promising free virtual currency, redirect gamers to a Web site called GetHealthReformRight.org. To get the mafia money, people fill out a survey that automatically sends an e-mail to their member of Congress, which reads in part, quote, “I‘m concerned a new government plan could cost me to lose the employer coverage I have today.”
Who‘s behind GetHealthReformRight.org? Well, it‘s a coalition of 10 insurance industry groups, including the Association of Health Insurance Advisers, America‘s Health Insurance Plans, American Benefits Council, BlueCross BlueShield Association—you get the idea.
This tactic just seems sort of laughably desperate to me, but then again Mafia Wars and other Facebook games have a ton of players. What do you all think?