Samsung has been fined about $340,000 for unleashing an army of paid commenters to praise its products and criticize competitors in online forums.
The Taiwan Fair Trade Commission investigated allegations against Samsung of creating fake online comments on Taiwanese forums and found they were true, according to The Verge. Two marketing companies who participated also were fined just over $100,000.
The paid writers criticized competitors, neutralized negative news about Samsung and gave glowing reviews of Samsung devices. This kind of guerrilla marketing is considered "astroturfing" and other companies besides Samsung have participated in the subversive marketing.
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However, Samsung told The Verge that it's "committed to engaging in transparent and honest communications with consumers."
While Samsung's sentiments are what consumers expect to hear, its actions are not so transparent and honest. Perhaps after paying the fine, the company will have a stronger commitment to not paying for positive online comments.