TechTaxi points out that it’s at least theoretically possible to, by polluting the Web, pollute somebody’s web-wide information gathering. (Hat tip to Daniel Tunkelang.) They further assert this is a relatively near-term threat.
The theory can’t be denied. What’s more, bad actors have other motives to pollute the Web. For example, if they plant favorable automated comments about their own products or unfavorable about the competition’s, Voice of the Customer/Market applications will naturally be confused. And if automated reputation-checkers get more prominent, there will be a major incentive to game them, just as there has been for Google’s PageRank. So VOTC/VOTM market research tools could polluted as a side effect.
Similarly, if somebody wants to test your e-commerce site by throwing a ton of searches at it, your search logs will lose value.
But disinformation of competitors for the sake of disinformation? Or, as the article suggestions, vandalism/extortion? Off the top of my head, I’m not thinking of a serious near-term threat scenario.