Blog Posts

NY AG’s Office Takes on Fake Yelp Reviewers

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Filed under: Prank Busters

From John and Deborah:

Fake online reviews crackdown in New York sees 19 companies fined
by Dominic Rushe
The Guardian
September 24, 2013

Attorney general set up a fake yoghurt shop in Brooklyn to ensnare fake online review companies, fined a total of $350,000

Pink yoghurt

New York’s attorney general set up a fake yoghurt shop in Brooklyn in a sting operation to trap fake online review companies.

Eric Schneiderman announced agreements with 19 firms Monday that commissioned fake reviews and several reputation-enhancement companies that helped place reviews on sites like Citysearch, Google, Yahoo and Yelp. They were fined a total of $350,000. (more…)

Astroturfing at the Supermarché

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Filed under: Hype, Spin

Supercherie au Supermarché
August 24, 2009

“Hoax at the supermarket” – A French newspaper headline describing an “astroturfed” photo opportunity involving two government ministers.

supermarche1-200The Times”™s Steven Erlanger reported recently on a photo opportunity gone awry for France”™s education minister, Luc Chatel, and commerce secretary, Hervé Novelli:

Journalists accompanying Mr. Chatel and Hervé Novelli, the secretary of state for commerce, on a trip to an Intermarché supermarket in Villeneuve-le-Roi, southeast of Paris, became suspicious when the aisles were suddenly filled with well-dressed, articulate women eager to praise a government freeze on the price of some school supplies before the new school year began. “¦

The radio station France Inter raised questions, and the newspaper Libération had a detailed article on Wednesday headlined, “Supercherie au Supermarché,” or “Hoax at the Supermarket.” It described how some of the women left the store together in a car after the minister left, without buying anything and leaving their school supplies in shopping baskets.

According to Erlanger, the supermarket, Intermarché, released an apology following the visit, explaining that the supermarket”™s management “took the initiative to invite a certain number of workers for the ministers”™ visit,” and stating that the ministers were not involved in the astroturfing.