I know this is an old thread but this is relevant. Mandriva and Freespire got caught artificially inflating their stats on Distrowatch.
I would be more subtle. I have links to Pardus in my signatures even in non-Linux related forums. I try to casually mention it from time to time to start a conversation with anyone who seems interested.
Mandriva joins the list of DistroWatch page hit ranking cheaters
It's always disappointing when we have to report about a distribution or project that has attempted to influence the DistroWatch page hit ranking figures in an unfair manner. Last week it was the turn of Mandriva Linux to do just that. On Monday, 15 January, a webmaster responsible for start.mandriva.com added an invisible iframe to the bottom of that page which loaded the Mandriva Linux page on DistroWatch, resulting in over 17,000 illegal "page hits" on our Mandriva page. Normally, this page receives around 800 - 1,000 page hits per day, so such a massive increase of page hits immediately alerted us to the possibility of unfair play.
It's worth pointing out that this kind of page loading is the most damaging and malicious of them all. Not only it brought zero number of new visitors to DistroWatch, it caused a substantial load increase to both the DistroWatch web server and to those readers who visited the Mandriva web site.
After commenting on the issue in the last week's DistroWatch Weekly forum, the only reaction we received was a comment by a person signed in as "romain" and apparently representing Mandriva Corporation. This is what he had to say on the subject: "If this may stop any rumour of supposed evilness from the corporate (or Mandriva) side, the iframe code was added yesterday by an intern that obviously thought it was worth it to fool the ranking that way and that it mattered. I'm not sure that was the best idea. I cannot pass all my interns through an ethics filter before putting them to work. No need to say this guy got some bashing here. We're still keeping him, there's some work for him left, in a less critical environment."
The malicious iframe code was removed from start.mandriva.com shortly after I posted the comment in last week's DistroWatch Weekly forum. Subsequently the Mandriva page hit count for January 15th was reset to 0 as a punishment for the cheating attempt.
Several readers have emailed us to let us know that Linspire has launched what can only be classified as an attempt to tamper with our page hit ranking statistics by trying to artificially inflate the page hit ranking figures for its new community distribution - Freespire. Upon investigation, it turned out that both linspire.com and nvu.com had been deceivingly redirecting visitors to the Freespire page on DistroWatch and that the default home page of Firefox in the latest build of Freespire had also been set to the same page. As a result, Linspire has become the largest referrer of DistroWatch.com this month and the company has been responsible for a considerable number of extra hits on the Freespire page at DistroWatch.
Although the redirections continued for several days, the Freespire page hit counter was unaffected. As always, excessive and deliberately misleading links to DistroWatch by distributions are considered illegal and a script was promptly set up to prevent the counter from incrementing in cases where the visitors were referred by linspire.com or nvu.com.
For more information (and a rather heated debate) please see also this thread on the Freespire forum.