So I was tooling around the internet tonight, and somehow ended up over at Mashable.
As you know, if you hang out on Mashable at all, that it’s pretty well populated with ads. Still, one (presumably) new ad sort of stood out to me.
According to this widget/ad on the site, worldwide, there exist over 1,463 Mashable Meetups with nearly 15,000 registered attendees.
With that many meetups (and the recent surge in popularity for Mashable) that it might be no big deal for me to waltz into the closest one to me and try to cash in on my status as one of the first associate editors of the site to promote, well, me and my current work at SiliconANGLE.
So I clicked on the link “Find one near Carrollton,” the suburb of Dallas where I live.
The pickings for Dallas area Mashable Meetups were pretty slim – not surprising since Mashable has always passed on Dallas as a tech center to hold events at (despite that it was one of the strongest hotspots for tech in the past and current booms in America).
I clicked on the most populous meetup location in the area, the one in Arlington. It seemed strange since it’s a bit out of the way for most of the tech community in the area (though it is centrally located to both Dallas and Fort Worth).
Interestingly enough, it was organized by someone with a foreign sounding name, most of the attendees had foreign sounding names. Again, that’s not totally unexplainable, since Dallas is a diverse city with many different cultures counted amongst it’s populace.
What was puzzling was that the RSVP link was listed as http://www.mycolonic.com/. A click onto the link confirmed that it was, indeed, a website devoted to colonics, in that SEM jamming, spammy sort of way.
As best as I can tell, through a random sampling of other cities, there were a great deal other meetups created either for the sole purposes of creating link-juice for SEO spammers or for bumping up the numbers for Mashable, to make it look like a large number of folks are interested in sitting in a group and discussing Mashable posts in their own cities.
Either way, something is fishy. Meetup.com has a serious problem with spam, or Mashable is hiring folks to create false meetups in random locations so as to appear popular.