Samsung really needs to chill out when it comes to taking on the competition.
In a story posted by The Verge, Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission fined the Korean tech giant a little over $340,000 for posting fake comments disparaging competitors and praising its own products on review websites and forums. The commission noted that:
“The company paid people to highlight the shortcomings of competing products.” The commission did dig up a lot more nefarious activity related to Samsung’s commenters, though. The list of infractions includes the “disinfection of negative news about Samsung products,” “palindromic Samsung product marketing,” and the positive evaluation of Samsung products.”
The allegations first surfaced in April this year after Taiwanese phone manufacturer HTC claimed it was a victim of defamation through Samsung’s dirty tactics. Samsung claimed it had no knowledge of the fake commenters, saying it was the fault of the marketing companies it had hired. The commission acknowledged this by fining the marketing companies $100,000 a piece.
Two lessons. 1) Don’t claim to not know what your marketing firm is doing, especially since you hired them to do it. 2) Negativity isn’t going to create brand advocates online.