Try to mask the fact that you're surreptitiously "seeding" online communities on behalf of an advertiser and you will most likely get caught.Ã‚Â It bears repeating, so I'll repeat it in boldface... Try to mask the fact that you're surreptitiously "seeding" online communities on behalf of an advertiser and you will most likely get caught.Ã‚Â
Most people can tell when they're talking to a PR flack in an online community.Ã‚Â There are a whole host of language and behavioral cues that people pick up on.Ã‚Â Much of the time its the poster's insistence on corporate-speak or the apparent inability to stray from a few select "talking points" that tips folks off.Ã‚Â However, the PR geeks are getting better at matching their tone and manner to the prevailing voice within a given community.Ã‚Â Still, we manage to pick up on the cues.
In some communities, shilling is justification for a thorough flaming or worse.Ã‚Â In other communities, shilling happens so often that it doesn't get anybody upset anymore - people simply attribute a crummy value to a shill thread and it sinks like a rock.Ã‚Â If I were a sociology or psychology major in college right now, I would be studying how people recognize shilling online - the subject is fascinating to me.
Among the not-so-subtle clues that a discussion thread is a corporate plant - affiliate links.Ã‚Â Let's just say a certain fast food restaurant pushing a viral video managed to match tone and manner fairly well when posting a link to the video.Ã‚Â They might not have been caught, except that their unfailing need to track everything made it completely obvious that the link they posted was part of a campaign.Ã‚Â Now their thread is getting so many negative votes it might as well have not been posted in the first place.Ã‚Â No one will see it.
Why more companies don't go full disclosure is beyond me...