I know that companies pay for advertising. That’s a well known fact. So, I know that everything that is put out there by a brand isn’t necessarily honest or authentic. I also know that companies pay to get favorable write ups placed on blogs or social media. I know that firsthand because I’ve received requests from marketing companies hoping to get what are essentially fake reviews or press releases published as if they were mine. (I always turn those down.)
It looks like the whole process is getting just a little bit easier. According to TNW, a company by the name of Collective Bias, just got funding to bring astroturfing to everyone. Supposedly, Collective Bias will be using it’s 1,400 bloggers to target their collective reach of 50,000,000 people. I only bring this up to warn people that this is happening. In no way should anyone employ this for their business. If you get caught, I have two words for you: PR Nightmare. You could be smeared all across those blogs and social networks you were hoping to get positive PR on.
This also affects us all because when we do research on businesses we want to work with, we have to be even more cautious than we are already when vetting sources. If you don’t know the person giving glowing praise of a potential partner or service, you better verify that review against as many sources as possible to ensure you aren’t getting tricked by a service like Collective Bias into using or partnering with a substandard product or company.