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[News] AstroTurfers Ruin Products/Company Reviews

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Yelp Controversy Highlights Trouble With Consumer Reviews

,----[ Quote ]
| This consumer review thing may need to be rethought. Like just about 
| everything else that came out of the Web 2.0 movement, customer reviews of 
| businesses are huge targets for abuse.  


Microsoft is guilty too.


Whisper campaigns exposed: pay per lie on YouTube

,----[ Quote ]
| One of Australia's most popular YouTube users has admitted being paid to
| spruik Ten's new show Lie To Me surreptitiously in the latest example of
| marketers invading the popular video sharing site.


Is Yelp Manipulating User Reviews?

,----[ Quote ]
| Is Yelp.com manipulating user reviews to coerce small businesses to advertise
| with the site? That's what some business owners in the San Francisco area are
| claiming, and they've taken those complaints to both the East Bay Express
| and the student-run newspaper the Daily Californian. Yelp denies these
| allegations and says its sales staff does not have the power to either move
| or delete reviews.


Wanted: £160k-a-year Twittercrat

,----[ Quote ]
| Can a magic sprinkling of Web 2.0 buzzwords revive the fortunes of a deeply
| unpopular government?
| That's what the Cabinet Office hopes with the appointment of a civil service
| post with the title of "Director of Digital Engagement". The lucky bureaucrat
| will play the part of cybernetic overlord - "to embed digital engagement in
| the day to day working of Government". However, he/she won't have executive
| powers over existing departments.


Google’s Cutts Apologizes For Paid Post Snafu

,----[ Quote ]
| Google Japan hired a Japanese company called Cyberbuzz, who paid bloggers as
| much as $100 to write about a new search widget. This was a clear violation
| of Google’s rules, which Google has aggressively and publicly enforced over
| the past couple of years, much to many directory operators’ chagrins.


Outdated Whois Information Might Lead to False Light Tort--Meyerkord v.

,----[ Quote ]
| Unfortunately for Sony--and Meyerkord--the campaign did not go well. Bloggers
| and others got suspicious of the overly colloquial site, unmasked the
| astroturfing and decided to "out" the people involved. They pulled up the
| Whois records, saw the outdated information that Meyerkord was the
| registrant, and mistakenly assumed he was involved in the campaign.


Belkin boss 'extremely sorry' for cash-for-good-reviews plan

,----[ Quote ]
| According to an open letter from Belkin big cheese Mark Reynoso,
| the "unethical practice" was conducted by "one of our employees", who offered
| cash in exchange for good reviews.


Caught AstroTurfing: Bad Belkin Bayard Business..

,----[ Quote ]
| It seems a Belkin employee was caught red-handed looking for people to write
| positive reviews of one of their products. Our own Paul Ferris discusses his
| observations and some of the bigger social issues that 'AstroTurfing'
| exposes.



EU cracks down on fake blogger astroturfing

,----[ Quote ]
| But back to the web, and with sneaky marketing campaigns likely to be more
| effective than upfront marketing campaigns, what is stopping companies from
| simply risking it and continuing existing practices?


Corn Farmers Against Google?

,----[ Quote ]
| Only if they're planting in AstroTurf
| [...]
| How do you know the organization, and the op-ed, weren't created by LawMedia
| Group at the behest of some well-funded clients? If they did their jobs
| right, you don't know.
| Some of them have left digital fingerprints here and there, though, says
| Declan McCullagh, in a blockbuster of a report exposing the intellectual
| whoredom offered for various important issues. Shortly after Microsoft hired
| LawMedia, for example, legislators, national agencies, and news outlets
| received pointed complaints from coalitions of farmers, rural voters, and
| geeky Latinos about how Google's advertising deal with Yahoo would wreck
| everything.
| [...]
| Don't call them a PR firm or a lobbying firm though, Law Media – which has a
| ton of lawyers working for them too—is a "public affairs firm" specializing
| in producing "remarkable coalitions" for anything one might need a coalition
| for.


Microsoft Pays $200 for Mentioning Its Tools

,----[ Quote ]
| If you're a professor and you mention Microsoft programming tools in a
| scholarly presentation -- in fact, even if you just use the tools --
| Microsoft will send you a check for $200.  


Microsoft pays star writers to recite slogan

,----[ Quote ]
| The stodgy old media industry has a rule that newspaper reporters, and TV
| news hosts, shouldn't trade on their public trust to endorse products.


MSN Is Spamming The Blogosphere

,----[ Quote ]
| Mr. Youth LLC is a marketing firm and lists MSN as a customer.  Their
| website is here: http://www.mryouth.com/  Their phone number is
| (212) 779-8700.
| I've talked to a couple of other bloggers who said they are receiving
| similar comments on their blogs.  This pisses me off because MSN/Mr.
| Youth should 1) be more upfront about their true identity, and 2)
| provide a real e-mail address so that I can request they take my
| blog off their marketing campaign.


Microsoft really loves Bloggers !!!

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft regularly flies customers and industry experts to its
| campus in Washington to listen to the feedback given by those
| people.The company invites dozens of key customers and partners
| to the event,where they spend brainstorming as a group.But as of
| late, Microsoft has changed it's strategy and the company is
| making extensive use of blogs to get direct customer feedback.
| Within a year,more than 1000 Microsoft employee blogs featured
| developers and product managers talking directly to customers every
| day, instead of once a year.Microsoft employees read dozens of
| blogs every day to see how customers react to Microsoft products
| and services. In fact,Microsoft employees have taken a bigger leap
| and even contribute to other's blogs in the expanding space of
| Blogosphere.


Microsoft Traps and Hunts for Bloggers in India !!

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft has announced the "Microsoft BlogStars" contest, to Hunts
| for Developer Bloggers in India. After feeling the power and increase of
| the Bloggers community in India, Microsoft tries to trap and hunt Bloggers
| in India to buildup the blogging community, for writing blog posts
| supporting towards Microsoft Technologies.


Seattle Area Bloggers Needed for Microsoft User Research Study

,----[ Quote ]
| For your participation, we'll give you your choice of retail
| software and hardware from our extensive list. Current titles
| include the latest Xbox, Xbox 360, and PC games, keyboards,
| Microsoft Office, Windows, productivity software and much more.


Bloggers meet Mr. Bill (Gates)

,----[ Quote ]
| That meeting is to help Web developers understand how to "unlock new
| revenue opportunities" through technology and content, which could
| include podcasts and blogs. The Microsoft sessions wraps up with a
| one-hour q-and-a up with Bill Gates.


Bribing Bloggers

,----[ Quote ]
| This is the most frustrating thing about the practice of giving
| bloggers free stuff: it pisses in the well, reducing the credibility
| of all blogs. I'm upset that people trust me less because of the
| behavior of other bloggers. Don't even get me started about PayPerPost.
| [...]
| Do not, under any circumstances, consider upgrading an XP system to
| Vista... even if it's fairly new and even if it's Vista Supremo
| Premium Ultra-Capable.


Microsoft's Laptop Giveaway Becoming PR Disaster?

,----[ Quote ]
| This thing is starting to feel like a PR disaster. Bloggers are
| starting to smell blood and this thing very well may begin to
| turn into yet another episode of bloggers gone wild.


Bribing Bloggers

,----[ Quote ]
| It's a bribe. Period. You say nice things about us, you get nice
| things from us. Heck, just say neutral things about us-we'll give
| you a killer new laptop and we know that you'll be inclined to say
| better things about us.


Getting a Vaio [with Vista, from Microsoft, even in March 2007]

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft Belgium rang me yesterday (I don?t think they realised it
| was a public holiday here!).
| [...]
| The phone call yesterday was to confirm my address - the laptop (a
| Sony Vaio - dunno which model or spec yet) is en route with Vista
| Ultimate and Office Ultimate pre-installed.


INQhack survives Vistability test in Volesville

,----[ Quote ]
| The Vole (Microsoft) supposedly invited The INQ over for tea because
| we are notorious "Microsoft doubters" - and we were accompanied by
| other supposed Vole doubters such as the folk from lifehacker and
| a very nice man from Slashdot, as well as some Microsoft MvPs.


Microsoft desperately wants my love -- and yours

,----[ Quote ]
| I spent December seventh, eighth, and ninth in Seattle as Microsoft's
| guest. Microsoft flew me there from Florida at its expense, put me up
| in a nice hotel, provided decent food, and comped me and four other
| invitees to this "special conference" with presentations about the
| marvels of Vista and other recent or upcoming Microsoft products. They
| didn't quite play the old Beatles song "Love Me Do" in the background,
| but it was the event's unstated theme.

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