Beware The Astroturfing

Astroturfing” is a term that refers to generate fake grass roots effort by actually paying people to pose as everyday citizens. The term was coined by Lloyd Bentsen, the same gentleman who told Dan Quayle, “You sir, are no Jack Kennedy.”

In the Internet business, astroturfing mostly refers to posting fake comments, “I LOVE Brand X! – Joe Schmoe.” I’ve dealt with a few marketers who wanted to try it and I consistently tell them not too. There are many reasons, but the main one is, you will get caught. While your marketer is working for a paycheck, many forum moderators are doing it for the love, and thus will spend more hours trying to catch you than you can trying to evade.

Now there is another new reason. It’s against the law and you can be fined thanks to New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. $300,000 for a few false comments is not chump change. I think the fines and anything else that discourages the practice is good for consumers and Internet businesses.

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