Rather than write a post here in response to an article I read in Mobile Crunch about an unscrupulous PR firm caught posting positive reviews, I responded on Mobile Crunch. Then I realized that this topic I grapple with often in this business and in life in general AND it only says Facebook User. Huh? So if I use Facebook Connect to respond on peoples blogs, it only shows my name if the person reading is signed into Facebook.Yeesh.
Here’s the article’s URL : http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2009/08/22/cheating-the-app-store-pr-firm-has-interns-post-positive-reviews-for-clients/#comments
And here are my comments. . .
Funny, I was JUST talking to my client about TRANSPARENCY yesterday.
This is PR, people, the bad side of it. This aspect of PR is what helped convince me to leave it as my first career years ago. (I was in healthcare PR before the FDA came down HARD on the pharma companies).
Yet today, I embrace the possibilities of connecting with customers, clients, et al. through Social Media to have actual conversations. As a Community Strategist I listen, share, and connect versus just broadcasting messages like in the OLDEN days.
But, there will ALWAYS be those looking for loopholes (what did YOUR tax returns look like? ) and we just need to consider the source and learn to be a bit more, ok, a LOT more, cynical about the motivation behind providing certain info than we ever used to be.
Why MORE cynical? It’s a lot easier to look authentic these days. We all should consider the importance of the HOT word of the year: TRANSPARENCY now that it is SO easy to research the validity of info by tracking back on the internet.
REVERB got caught, but there are so many marketers (and companies themselves!) still out there that will keep doing this in every industry including music, food, beverage, cars, hotels, gadgets and on and on.
Yes, it’s disconcerting to know that people feel that they need to deceive to sell . . . especially if they know that others are also doing it. So . . .they do it, too, it works for them, until they get caught. And then they’ll figure out another way.
That’s why we should ALL look at reviews and such, whether online or offline: TV, Radio, Newspaper, Magazine, etc., with a grain of salt and then take the plunge and BELIEVE or not based on how authentic we consider the source.
I don’t always expound on issues like this, but this one hit a nerve and I will probably blog about it SOMEDAY soon.
Until then, feel free to follow me at pinedaferet on Twitter where I discuss social media, culture, biz dev with digressions into other interesting stuff.
Here are further followup comments I made to specific fellow posters:
Dominic, The practice IS rife . . .across the board throughout any industry that can have a product/service reviewed. The “authorities” have their work cut out for them.
As for Chris’ comment that “helping it get more positive reviews isn’t much different from giving people free product samples” . . .Yes, it is different. If you receive a free product sample, you do not HAVE to give a review unless you sign something that says you agree to that or it is implicit in the arrangement somehow.
It would be unethical if you DON’T reveal that it’s your relative’s app, just as reporters reveal that they used to work at the company their article is referring to, or their father works there now or some such.
Dave Fleet, you are an ethical businessman, but there are those and will always be those who are unethical and will encourage you to follow along because everyone else is doing it. I agree with you, Dave. Not only is it wrong. If you get caught it could be the end of your career, your business, your client’s business . . .
Ben, Customer reviews don’t DEFINE success of a sale, they AFFECT the success GREATLY depending on the product. Plenty of restaurants have closed down due to the FINAL NAIL in the coffin of a bad review in a major paper.
Paradoxically, there are places that get horrible reviews and are mysteriously still alive and kicking because they fill some crazy niche or need in the market.
So what do you when you want to respond to a post like that, and you want to also post to your own blog . . .
also what do you think about transparency? If you don’t know yet, no matter, I will be writing about it often enough . . .
, buying reviews
August 24, 2009 at 10:36 pm Comments (0)