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News Expose reveals WDC control in online fan community

trojanjustin

Well-Known Member
1. Search Engines and Trusted Sources
As Steve has noted traffic here is way down due to the closure. He would know, but more likely than not most of this site’s traffic comes from non forum members referred to this site through google. Things like park hours, restaurant menu, construction updates and the like. As users keep landing here for the basic information this site provides, perhaps they click through to the forum for deeper insights. Site becomes a trusted information source. May not be the biggest single place where Disney is discussed on the Internet these days, but trust matters. There is quite a bit of upside to carefully steering the conversation on a site that’s seen as an authority over say, YouTube or Instagram or Facebook comments.

2. Cost
Disney is well known for not paying well in Orlando for entry level office jobs, especially in Florida. The cost to Disney to operate such an influence campaign is comprable to say sending mommy bloggers and vloggers on comped Disney Cruises or grand opening or meetups given the scale of the moms panel these days.

Ever wonder what “reputation management” sites do? It’s an army of low paid workers scrubbing/attacking criticism or praising their client(s). These services are readily available and affordable for most organizations. That’s what Disney is doing internally, with the help of free volunteers too.

Heck, you haven’t worked for the company since January 2019 and you’re still pushing for the agendas of individuals within the company, for free!

Look the reality is that there's a host of social media agencies and repetitional management companies that will, for a few thousand bucks a month, do exactly this kind of thing. It's their speciality. They're a dime a dozen in LA and elsewhere now.

Disney may do some of this work in-house, they were at one point, but also quite possible they've outsourced. However, anybody who thinks Disney is not controlling the message to some extent and monitoring these boards is sorely mistaken.
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
Look the reality is that there's a host of social media agencies and repetitional management companies that will, for a few thousand bucks a month, do exactly this kind of thing. It's their speciality. They're a dime a dozen in LA and elsewhere now.

Disney may do some of this work in-house, they were at one point, but also quite possible they've outsourced. However, anybody who thinks Disney is not controlling the message to some extent and monitoring these boards is sorely mistaken.

To be honest, I've been busy with a light home remodel this past spring and have spent my time here almost exclusively on the Disneyland side of the boards, plus some time in Politics just for a few laughs.

But what exactly are we talking about here? Does anyone have an example of how these long-dormant accounts have sprung to life during Covid-19 to "steer conversations" in ways that would send more customers to Disney World this summer? Is there an example of this type of thing?

And again I ask, why would Disney need to pay people to do that? The end result just seems so vague and ethereal, that it's hard for me to believe the people behind the clumsy and corny Disney Parks Blog are also engaged in vast decades-long campaigns to change theme park fans minds about the latest ride, or hotel, or upcharge event.

Aren't we all smart enough to make up our own minds about the latest ride, or hotel, or upcharge event?

Heck, you haven’t worked for the company since January 2019 and you’re still pushing for the agendas of individuals within the company, for free!

Oh.

If I'm no longer getting paid for this, why am I still here? Was someone supposed to tell me something?
 

Sir_Cliff

Well-Known Member
But what exactly are we talking about here? Does anyone have an example of how these long-dormant accounts have sprung to life during Covid-19 to "steer conversations" in ways that would send more customers to Disney World this summer? Is there an example of this type of thing?
I don't think people are necessarily suggesting people are trying to steer conversations in order to encourage more people to visit WDW. Nor that it would have anything to do with the DisneyParks Blog, for that matter.

Again, I have no idea if anything at all is happening beyond some long-dormant members suddenly springing to life due to coronavirus boredom. Looking at all these sudden new members, though, it seems like the interest is more to frame the conversation in terms of Disney screwing up their response and the parks reopening with restrictions as hellscapes.
 
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_caleb

Well-Known Member
Not accusing anyone of anything but the following is the message they would want to get out.
View attachment 473540
You frame the conversation on your terms.

Despite their wreckless behavior by opening way too early, without proper reservation controls to limit rushes on the parks, the conversation is turned into a UNI v Disney fight. Disney could counter by saying UNI is putting being open over public health, but they’re not doing that. They’ve put the onus on Disney and the theme park fan community thinks Disney caved, which isn’t entirely true since July was their target, under the right circumstances.

For now Universal is winning the perception war, but the actual opening could be disastrous for them and validate a cautious approach. You know what they say about dogs who finally catch the car...
Thanks.
I can see the “Universal is beating Disney” message being pushed pretty hard. I can also see Disney being hammered on the reopening from both the “it’s way too soon to open” and the “masks and distancing are ridiculous” sides (obviously this is the same debate happening all over the world right now).

Brand/reputation management? Corporate messaging war? Troy Porter vs. Gary Snyder? Who knows?
 

_caleb

Well-Known Member
I don't think people are necessarily suggesting people are trying to steer conversations in order to encourage more people to visit WDW. Nor that it would have anything to do with the DisneyParks Blog, for that matter.

Again, I have no idea if anything at all is happening beyond some long-dormant members suddenly springing to life due to coronavirus boredom. Looking at all these sudden new members, though, it seems like the interest is more to frame the conversation in terms of Disney screwing up their response and the parks reopening with restrictions as hellscapes.
Right. Just like the Lutz/MiceChat/Snyder drama implied, any influence campaign is 1) not pro-Disney, but trying to stir up frustration, and 2) not conducted or sanctioned by Disney’s official PR teams.
 

tirian

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Well, that's a good point. And I'm sure there are plenty of CM's on these boards who cheerlead or criticize their employer either blatantly as a CM or anonymously pretending to not be a CM.

I mean, my God, Disney theme parks are the largest single site employer in both states they are in; California and Florida. So you can't have 100,000 employees and not expect at least a few thousand to go online and cheerlead or criticize. Especially the younger ones. Especially after they've had a few drinks. 🥳

But I just can't wrap my head around a purposeful and planned system in which TDO pays CM's to "steer conversations" online for the bizarrely inefficient purpose of trying to woo customers and give YouTubers blogging from their basement new content for more clicks.

If TDO and TDA want to woo a hundred or so smarmy lifestyle YouTubers (a minor hassle in modern marketing), just send them a box of t-shirts and toys and hotel vouchers and cut out the middle man. If TDO and TDA want to woo 30 Million or so customers back to the re-opened parks (a major headache in modern marketing now), a splashy TV special and snazzy commercials paired with discounts and ticketing gimmicks and super-sanitized health theater would seem the way to do it.

But planting subversive suggestions on an old legacy message board Original Legendary Message Board in an attempt to "steer conversations" and influence others? It just seems like a monumental waste of time and resources for such a tiny, tiny benefit that is almost impossible to track and quantify.

What am I missing here???
Officially steer it? No.

Support fans and low-level CMs who strangely feel compelled to protect the conglomerate from any criticism? Oh yeah.

Remember when the LA Times was banned from Disney PR events because it dared to criticize Iger?

Back when Disney raised ticket, hotel, food, and merch prices despite cutting live entertainment, night parades, and fireworks shows, fans leapt to Disney’s defense and said they preferred it that way because parades and shows were too crowded. What other company can rely on fans to defend price gouging?

And we still have people defending FP+ even though the company itself told shareholders it was specifically developed to redistribute crowd patterns and keep people in existing queues to avoid building new attractions. (Obviously, that plan didn’t work—and now we have New FL, Star Wars, Epcot changes, etc.)

But I suspect most of the current activity simply comes from people who are stuck at home with nothing else to do. I also understand if someone with no prior company or industry knowledge drops into these forums and wants to defend a company they admire.
 
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_caleb

Well-Known Member
Even if all posts from new/mothballed accounts are just due to people having more time on their hands, I'm still curious about the whole dynamic of people being planted here to post with an agenda. The drama unfolded last August where someone (credible or not) accused people of posting with certain motives. When confronted, those members did not exactly give convincing responses. It bothers me because it makes the forums feel like we're not carrying on a conversation in good faith. At some point, it makes me feel quite strange to continue reading/interacting with what might be propaganda from mid-level reputation management actors. I find it fascinating that everyone here basically just carried on as though that hadn't happened, though I'm not exactly sure what else we could have done.
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
I find it fascinating that everyone here basically just carried on as though that hadn't happened

My belief for why that was/is:

1) The article centers its narrative around the history of MiceChat/Al Lutz. Both of which are past their prime, and are unfamiliar to many Disney fans today

2) The article / story did not get picked up by other news outlets, so it was easy to dismiss as gossip (even if there was any truth to it)

2) Most Disney fan online discussion does not go much deeper than "how can I save money on a Mickey bar?" Deeper discussions are often criticized as unimportant (that such a thing happens in fan base circles is a whole other discussion)

4) Disney fans generally don't care about the how and why that leads to a finished product. They just want the product.
 

Mouse Trap

Well-Known Member
Random question: Why have so many chosen to believe anything Mr. Gary Snyder says, despite the fact he only has two articles credited to his name on Medium -- which is very easy to get an article up on.
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Random question: Why have so many chosen to believe anything Mr. Gary Snyder says, despite the fact he only has two articles credited to his name on Medium -- which is very easy to get an article up on.

Not to go over everything already said in 70+ pages and two threads (now one deleted) since last August but the SHORT version is:

- Other people willing to offer evidence/views on what was stated
- General knowledge of how some companies, including Disney, behave online

Also there are many people with undeserved egos in the Disney fan community and they all seem to know/hate each other.
 

MisterPenguin

Fully Pfizered!
Premium Member
With regard to reactivated old accounts:

Just how many dormant accounts are there? I don't know, let's say over the past decade there are 500 of them.​
Now, let's say that off those 500, 5% of them are of the OPEN NOW! mindset. With time on their hands trolling the internet and being inflamed with like-minded extremists, they pop in on their old WDWMagic account to see what's happening with Disney. Of those possible 25 OPEN-NOW-ists, let's say 10 of them post their ridiculous arguments that ignore that we're in a pandemic and what our basic reasonable and scientific response should be.​
Well, it's going to seem like a coordinated effort when we get the continuous nutcase-argument-of-the week popping up on reactivated accounts.​
They only other explanation is that some group was creating WDWMagic accounts once a month for the past decade just so they can sow this type of discord in a time of civil unrest.​
In other words, you don't need a conspiracy to explain what is merely an emergent pattern of behavior.​


Now, let's take the case of people who defend cost hikes:

First of all: really? Just how often do people say, "Yes! It costs more to go to Disney! I'm so happy!!!" What's happening here is people not being upset as much as others about increasing cost, or, people who understand the rationale (regardless of whether they *like it*). Those very angry at a cost hike view those people as Disney cheerleaders, when that's not what's happening at all.​
More than likely, these people are either resigned to how the economics of businesses work, or, they have a lot of disposable income, and so, they aren't that affected by a cost hike.​
So, we see, again, you don't need a conspiracy of Disney hiring people to create fake accounts on WDWMagic continuously over the course of a decade just so they can reactivate those accounts to defend a cost hike (which isn't so much a defense as much as not being as angry).​


I'm not saying conspiracies can't exist. I'm saying there are more likely explanations. And if you're going to claim a conspiracy exists, you need more evidence than "it seems that way to me."

Remember: for every pixie duster that exists and is therefore 'evidence' that they are hired by Disney to be a Disney cheerleader, then that means for every hater on these boards who are constantly raging against Disney, that must mean they are being hired by Disney's rivals to tear Disney down. Right?
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
But I suspect most of the current activity simply comes from people who are stuck at home with nothing else to do. I also understand if someone with no prior company or industry knowledge drops into these forums and wants to defend a company they admire.

I would completely agree with that. And I fully expect that's about all there is to it.

Schools are cancelled. 40 Million people have lost their job. The entire West Coast and most of the Northeast still won't let their citizens go out in public to parks, movies, bars, or any normal entertainment. What else are people going to do?
 

Joesixtoe

Well-Known Member
Officially steer it? No.

Support fans and low-level CMs who strangely feel compelled to protect the conglomerate from any criticism? Oh yeah.

Remember when the LA Times was banned from Disney PR events because it dared to criticize Iger?

Back when Disney raised ticket, hotel, food, and merch prices despite cutting live entertainment, night parades, and fireworks shows, fans leapt to Disney’s defense and said they preferred it that way because parades and shows were too crowded. What other company can rely on fans to defend price gouging?

And we still have people defending FP+ even though the company itself told shareholders it was specifically developed to redistribute crowd patterns and keep people in existing queues to avoid building new attractions. (Obviously, that plan didn’t work—and now we have New FL, Star Wars, Epcot changes, etc.)

But I suspect most of the current activity simply comes from people who are stuck at home with nothing else to do. I also understand if someone with no prior company or industry knowledge drops into these forums and wants to defend a company they admire.
I defend fastpass+ because I can ride almost any ride anytime I go. I go roughly twice a month with my wife. If maxpass came into play with its $15?? a person, that would be $30 per time.. $60 a month. I understand the appeal of maxpass and I'd have to deal with it if ever implemented, for me though fastpass+ works for my budget.
 

LongballMG

Well-Known Member
Less of the "old legacy message board" and how about "original legendary message board" - because lets face it - pretty much every site, blog, YouTuber has been through these forums at some point in their Disney fandom career ;)

Those of us who have been here for nearly 20 years can attest that almost everyone who is a "name" came through our glorious site and boards.

In Steve we trust!
 

tirian

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I defend fastpass+ because I can ride almost any ride anytime I go. I go roughly twice a month with my wife. If maxpass came into play with its $15?? a person, that would be $30 per time.. $60 a month. I understand the appeal of maxpass and I'd have to deal with it if ever implemented, for me though fastpass+ works for my budget.
For one or two people, it’s great. The new system at Tokyo would’ve been better though. The problem isn’t digital FP itself; it’s how Disney manipulates crowd control by inflating queues at restaurants and attractions. Parks with moderate crowd levels can feel extremely busy.

EDIT: I don’t want to derail this thread. You can read more about NextGen here.

 

the.dreamfinder

Well-Known Member
I defend fastpass+ because I can ride almost any ride anytime I go. I go roughly twice a month with my wife. If maxpass came into play with its $15?? a person, that would be $30 per time.. $60 a month. I understand the appeal of maxpass and I'd have to deal with it if ever implemented, for me though fastpass+ works for my budget.
You don’t understand how negatively FP has effected the Disney theme park experience, from immersion to unneeded guest stress to parks with insufficient capacity.
 

CanadianGordon

Well-Known Member
The only reason that I don't post as often myself is because I am trying to limit the amount of time I spend sitting on my *** in front of my computer. I have a tendency to put off important things until it's almost too late and I'm trying to prepare myself for going back to school in the Fall. Can't exactly spend hours in front of my computer debating Disney theories any more.
It is interesting the differences in the two companies for reopening , and yet no one is talking about the trash fire that was Seaworld....
 

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