Saturday, February 21, 2009

Social Media Disorder

Many companies have lost their face in an urge to promote their products on the web. Many employees have been involved in so called unethical practices using various techniques to aggressively promote their company product on the web. Some of these practices are described below: -

Flogging. The creation of a blog which appears to be an organic site, but in fact is sponsored by the organization that may be looking to communicate a message or launch of a new product to the web users. These kinds of techniques can be a PR disaster if uncovered. The company is hoodwinking the users into believing something that is not factual.
When Sony tried to boost sales of its PSP portable gaming unit, it started a blog supposedly by two boys who wanted PSPs for Christmas. When it was revealed as a fake, Sony apologised and took it down.

Astroturfing: Using the web to practice generating fake grassroots enthusiasm. The company may pay for good press to bloggers or other website to write about their products that these people may have never used.

Comment spamming. Flooding online article/blogs with positive comments and making the product/message look more popular than it actually is. Web users may fill in the comments field of a blog with enthusiastic notes about a company.

I am not classifying the above form of social media promotion as unethical. They are all deceptive means to get a user’s attention and deliver the message. It remains debatable if the above techniques are wrong doing of a company or just another way of trying to reach customers.

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