Samsung Busted for Paying People to Criticize HTC Products

Discussion in 'Android News' started by cereal killer, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. cereal killer
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    cereal killer DF Administrator Staff Member

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    Lets say you are the largest and most successful manufacturer of Android Smartphones in the world. You pay hundreds of millions in advertising dollars to get your product burned into the psyche of anyone that picked up a magazine, browsed the world wide webs or looked at a billboard. How far would you go to achieve your vision of 'world wide domination'? Would you use some other nefarious means to make sure no other competitor could sneak up from behind and steal your market share? Maybe you'd pay people to go online and write bad reviews of your competitors product and praise yours. --Sound of screeching tires and breaking glass-- Hold on! Back up! Where did that come from?!

    What if we told you Samsung was just busted for doing that very thing? Early yesterday, Samsung was fined $340,300 by Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission for paying people to post messages online that attacked HTC products while praising Samsung's. Taiwan's FTC site lists nearly 4,000 examples of these types of *ahem*....reviews. Many of these "reviews" are originating on the Chinese message forum Mobile 01. Those of you unfamiliar with this site, Mobile 01 allows people to express their love of Samsung or dislike of HTC, but the kicker is that Samsung explicitly paid people to make these types of posts. This strategy is known as astro-turfing because it imitates a grass-roots campaign, but it is obviously entirely fake and rigged.

    Sun Lih-chyun, a spokesman for the Taiwan FTC, said that Samsung's practice of astro-turfing was the first case of its kind in the country. Sun Lih-chyun goes on to say:

    A spokesman for Samsung responded to the allegations and said "We are disappointed that the Taiwan FTC has decided that we have violated the Fair Trade Act based on online marketing activities. Samsung Electronics Taiwan is carefully reviewing the decision and will take all necessary steps to protect our reputation as a company which values its customers."

    I dunno folks, but things like this leave us scratching our heads and asking "why?" Sound off in the comments and let us know your feelings on Samsung's practice of astro-turfing.

    Source: ABC News
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  2. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    This world keeps getting dirtier and dirtier... If it's not Apple's frivolous patent lawsuits, it's now astro-turfing, both of which essentially attack the competition for something that's really not there. It will be interesting to see the fallout from this one.
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  3. johnomaz
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    johnomaz Well-Known Member

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    THey all do it, Samsung just got caught. Sammy sure is turning into the new Apple.
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  4. xsylus
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    xsylus Active Member

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    While "mud-slinging" is never pretty, paying someone else to do it is really low. :disappointed:
  5. mountainbikermark
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    mountainbikermark DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    FINALLY something they can't be accused of stealing from Apple.

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  6. pc747
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    pc747 DF Administrator Staff Member Rescue Squad

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    ^ Samsung

    As far as "outrage" sadly most people will not care. Apple was the trend and now it is apple and samsung. Htc needs to build a device that is better. They are on the right track but they need to get back to removable batteries and memory cards.
  7. mountainbikermark
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    mountainbikermark DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    How much did you get paid to write that? :D

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  8. kodiak799
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    kodiak799 Well-Known Member

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    And that fine is a complete slap on the wrist relative to the incremental sales Sammie probably got as a result.

    I wonder if the US FTC can and will follow-up with a fine of its own. We can probably assume the practice was not restricted to that Chinese website.
  9. acousticshade
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    acousticshade New Member

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    Lol, was thinking the same thing. HTC did build a device that was better. The one was either 1st or 2nd on numerous phone lists for the better part of the year. Only now are they getting passed up by the G2, n3 and moto x.

    I'm actually one of those guys that care about stuff like this. Between Apple and Samsung, HTC got hosed and the rest of us probably paid the price for lost r&d & better devices. I was having difficulty deciding between the n3 and g2 and this pretty much sealed the deal. Samsung will not be getting my hard earned money, at least for the short term.
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  10. acousticshade
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    acousticshade New Member

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    No doubt. I always wonder when I see obvious fanboy garbage on specific products if it's simply some bonehead or if someone was paid to write it. For those of us who like to research the things we buy, both are annoying. Thinking we should change the term 'fanboy' to 'fanloser'.
  11. xeene
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    xeene Well-Known Member

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    Still waiting on my check...
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  12. MissionImprobable
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    MissionImprobable Well-Known Member

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    Apple gave out loads of free devices to "unbiased" reviewers, Sammy pays cash where they can, nothing surprising here. That's why you have to keep things in perspective when reading reviews and hands-on experiences.
  13. mountainbikermark
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    mountainbikermark DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    I've always taught my kids to read between the lines of reviews more than the lines themselves. Reviews have certain languages, just like politicians, that a little discernment can show what they're really saying.
    One time my oldest daughter was looking for a phone and reading reviews. She said she didn't want a particular model because some reviews said it wasn't durable. I got her to read down further into user comments and without fail they'd meant that the phone didn't hold up well to being thrown against a wall, dropped from a moving vehicle when left on top, after a swim in the porcelain throne, etc according to their comments.
    I've shown them how to read "bs speak" as well for glowing reviews.

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  14. Natey2
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    Natey2 Active Member

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    If Apple paid me enough, I'd even find something good to say about the iPhone. I might even post it from an Android device. Lol!
  15. kodiak799
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    kodiak799 Well-Known Member

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    Apple maybe doesn't pay some of them directly, but they CAN dump a boatload of Apple products on them beyond the one they are reviewing. Sammie can, as well, but not quite to the same degree. That's a pretty unfair deal to the likes of HTC and Moto.
  16. mountainbikermark
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    mountainbikermark DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    I'll do it for free.
    Thanks to the iPhone Windows Mobile isn't the best thing going now. It's Android.
    Thanks to ios, Android isn't resting on Gingerbread as its greatest update.
    Thanks to iPhone I can appreciate the freedom to widget my phone even more than I could on my Omnia.
    Thanks to Apple suing Samsung , and winning, Samsung countered with the Galaxy and Note series.
    Thanks to iPhone, this forum exists as a haven from the arrogance of iSheep . Though aSheep can be just as arrogant at times , thanks to iPhone we learned to squash fanboyism at its introduction.
    I could go on.

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  17. bkdodger
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    bkdodger DF Super Moderator Staff Member

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  18. acousticshade
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    acousticshade New Member

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    They are usually easy to spot. They tend to use words like all or always or never or bash on a typical strength of a particular product. I usually laugh when I read 10 comments on how great a screen is and then read one that totally bashes it.
  19. acousticshade
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    acousticshade New Member

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    Dodger, I don't doubt that a lot of manufacturers do this, but 2 examples does not equate to all. Also, it is illegal, so hopefully a good conscience, fear of public backlash or fear of a fine keep at least a few manufacturers honest. Nevertheless, I'd love more links of astroturfing to add to my wall of shame.
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  20. Jackseric
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    Jackseric New Member

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    I truly hope that nobody on this forum is naive enough to believe that all manufacturers don't do this on one level or another. It's smart marketing on their part. Sucks for the dopey consumer that puts too much faith in the wild west of internet product reviews, but it's a fact of life.