If you live on social media networks, or if you write a blog, or manage a Facebook page, you’ve certainly seen a rise in efforts to game the networks for profit.  Way back on September 11, 2006, I predicted right here on this blog that people would begin to use Avatars — their online identity — to make money by selling their craven image to the highest bidder:

What’s to stop active — or better yet, INactive — blog commenters from getting hired by companies to change their Avatar to promote a website or a phone number or some other advertising blitz? Can you imagine being a new beer company and going out and finding the top 1,000 blog commenters and having them all change their Avatars to the logo for your beer?

Why it’s sheer viral genius! You could buy hundreds of thousands of page views on the cheap that could reach for years back into the history of Avatar-enabled blog pages on thousands of blogs — and the beauty part is this: No one would be the wiser.

The Search Engines already indexed and tagged the old content as safe and sufficient and your Avatar Ads would be silently served up when a search return is clicked through to the blog. The Blogmaster would never know — especially if you were not posting recent comments.

WordPress.com backend billing problems temporarily forced the 14-blog strong Boles Blogs Network from the warmth and sanctity of WP.com and into the lonesome cold of independent WordPress Multisite hosting on my personal Pair Networks VPS.  After a week in the wilderness, we received word that our domain mapping renewals problem was fixed and we leapt back to WordPress.com.  This article will tell you why we decided to move back.