GamePro, G4TV and VGChartz have all issued apparently official statements after being caught out artificially elevating their content on social bookmarking site Reddit by using multiple accounts.
After user Deimorz posted this expose in Reddit's forums about GamePro, VGChartz GamrFeed and G4TV content being posted and up-voted by a long list of accounts into the site's gaming section, all three publications have seemingly admitted fault and issued apologies.
We say "seemingly" as it's impossible to tell whether or not the accounts used to post the statements are genuine, but even a cursory check as their activity seems to suggest they're the real deal.
"It’s definitely true that we’ve had some power users recently spamming content on our behalf. We have already stepped in and asked those people not to do this in future," said GamePro.
"The reality of the situation is pretty straightforward – Reddit can be gamed, it was gamed by people on our behalf, and those people got busted."
G4TV's explanation included the revelation that the site had paid a user in games to spam its content onto Reddit, but that it "didn’t know the full extent of how he was achieving success on Reddit."
"We hope you forgive us"
The user in question was "achieving success" with 20 accounts.
"We’re owning up, we were wrong to do this, and we hope you forgive us," G4 added.
VGChartz blog gamrFeed said: "A few months ago we started working with a social networking specialist who was well-versed in Digg, Twitter, Facebook, and of course, Reddit. He knew how to use them well and increase our visibility in these communities. We eventually brought him on as a freelance Social Networking expert.
"What we didn't realize was the extent of his involvement with Reddit. We knew he had a few accounts to submit with, but had no idea it was 20 and he was using them all for upvotes and comments."
The site added: "I apologize on behalf of gamrFeed and the entire VGChartz Network."
Content-spamming in this way is an easy method of gaining extra traffic and is a common practice on aggregator sites such Digg, Reddit, N4G, StumbleUpon and others.
Traffic benefits from getting a piece of content in a homepage position can be large, especially on the bigger aggregators such as Digg.