I had been researching on this topic for about a month now, but failed to come up with a safe way to expose the online syndicates that systematically sabotage big-budget Bollywood films.
I had unearthed a few startling pieces of information but was not sure how to write about it as the post would point towards a specific company or a person.
The research was also taking a lot of time. At the same time, I had a premonition that Dhoom3 will face such an online attack. Then one day, help came from an unexpected quarter.
I got a message from ‘a Salman Fan,’ which said that an online syndicate is active in full force against Dhoom3.
One day later, a Twitter follower pointed me towards an anonymous post. The faceless and nameless blogger had successfully unearthed an organised smear campaign syndicate that was working overtime to bring down Dhoom3.
Unfortunately, that blog post seemed to have lost the plot and turned out to be a smear campaign against a reigning Bollywood superstar, directly accusing him of using his PR arm to sabotage Dhoom 3 as it is a Aamir Khan film. By falsely accusing another actor of sabotage, they had unfortunately digressed from the actual issue.
The producers of Dhoom3 are busy celebrating the success of Dhoom3 and this, understandably, must have escaped their attention.
So, I decided to bring this to light.
Dear Bollywood filmmakers, this time they might have failed against a behemoth but tomorrow they might just be successful. Their hate campaigns on social networking sites might make your film crash-land within days of its release.
If you need to protect your film, then pay attention to this smear campaign that was directed against Dhoom 3 and Aamir Khan.
The systematic sabotage against Dhoom 3
A Twitter handle @jodsou was created days before the release of Dhoom3.
From the day of the film’s release, this Twitter handle ensured that whenever you try to look for information on Dhoom 3, his tweet which trashes the film, would always emerge on top of the stack. So, if you are looking to figure out the word-of-mouth on Dhoom 3 on Twitter, then there is a 90% chance that you will come across his tweets.
Here is the last tweet from the handle where he abuses Aamir Khan. Strangely, after Christmas there has been no tweet from this handle.
— jo dsouza (@jodsou) December 25, 2013
This Twitter handle was posting tweets manually and doing it every five minutes till December 25.
He is not alone.
Similar derogatory tweets were getting posted and re-posted by a number of tweeting handles. There are at least 50 such handles who were constantly tweeting against Dhoom3.
Here is an example of the same tweet getting posted from two different Twitter handles at different times of the day. There are numerous such examples…
— rocky singh (@RockysuRocky) December 25, 2013
— jo dsouza (@jodsou) December 25, 2013
This means that at any given point of time, this guy and his allies were triggering small waves of negative publicity against the film in the Twitter ocean alone.
Interestingly, all of them didn’t take the pain to tweet every five minutes. They took help from automated Twitter applications which sends out a tweet at a designated interval. For example, @RockysuRocky was using TweetAdder which was sending out a tweet against Dhoom3 every two minutes on the day of the release.
This anonymous blogger, who was unfortunately too busy with blaming another Khan for the hate campaign, also listed out 20 other handles that was constantly tweeting against Aamir Khan and Dhoom 3. The Twitter handles that he accused of running a hate campaign are as follows:
@ratinkhtri, @rohanjha777, @rockysuRocky, @bluebird22454, @RohanClaus, @harsh8878, @KunalAr73104491, @MadhulikaJain1, @NamanBhutraji, @rshettyy, @NitinSh50255375, @KinkyBandi, @Jahangi09340097, @FakroolKhan, ?@JabbirJ, @honeysi94335235, @loganspir, @GellerRodger, @jodsou, @robbybut
Before I end the post, here are the deduction I made on these online mafia syndicates
1. All of these handles are fake handles and owners were careful enough not to give out any detail about themselves. Trying to figure them out is like searching for a pin in a haystack. Drop the idea. Here are some tips on how to find who they are.
2. These tweets were routinely retweeted and favourited by some genuine handles on Twitter. I could relate to at least one Twitter handle because the person appeared to be from the PR industry. A PR following a fake handle and retweeting its tweets seemed out of the ordinary. Please keep an eye on the retweets and you will get a lot of information.
3. The language and the tone of a number of handles appeared the same which means there was one guy who was sitting behind the desk and continuously tweeting against the film using numerous handles. Some he was doing it manually while on other handles, he was doing it via an application.
4. If you are done with the tweets and the retweets then check the follower list of these fake handles. It appears that some genuine handles are following these fake handles. For example, @MadhulikaJain1 is followed by an online marketing expert from Pakistan who runs a very popular blog on internet marketing. There you go.
5. I checked with a marketing head of an online firm and he confirmed after checking with Twitter that some of these handles have been suspended by Twitter. If you have rights to a particular film and you spot a hate campaign, then finding out the IP address of these fake handles is not that hard. After finding the IP address, check the location. If you check 20 such handles, you will get the pattern.
Dear Bollywood. Act now or regret later.
I know that such smear campaigns are not a new thing in Bollywood but the problem is, it is now a very organised syndicate. If you do not act now, some of you will surely have to suffer. Reacting against these anti-marketing techniques ONLY after you fall prey to it is definitely not a clever thing to do.
Besides, I am being such an ass by not getting paid to help you help yourselves.
Disclaimer: All pictures have been procured from public platforms and social networking sites. The pictures have been used purely for illustration. If you own any of the pictures used, please let us know we will pull them down.