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BLOG: Samsung paying students for 'fake Web reviews' -- did it attack Apple, too?

Jonny Evans | April 18, 2013
Samsung is alleged to have hired students to slam phones made by HTC. Fair trade officials in Taiwan have launched an investigation into the company.

Some stories just write themselves -- and when it comes to the Apple [AAPL] versus Samsung debate a recent FTC investigation in Taiwan suggests that those ever active pro-Android thread commentators may have an extra reason to extol their Galaxy above iPhone -- there's a chance they're getting paid to post.

Samsung investigated for false advertising against HTC

[ABOVEHow far does Samsung go? "I was pretty shocked at the appearance of the Galaxy S phone and the extent to which it appeared to copy Apple's products. We went from having something easy to market because it was so distinctive and so famous to having something that was difficult to market," Philip Schiller, Apple's SVP of worldwide marketing, said during the Apple v. Samsung trial.]

Samsung talks 'fundamental principles'

Please don't misunderstand me -- this is only conjecture based on Samsung's admission that it paid people to criticise rival firm, HTC through comments slamming that company and its services posted online.

Samsung is alleged to have hired students to slam phones made by HTC.  Fair trade officials in Taiwan have launched an investigation into the company.

As you'd expect following the years in which Samsung has denied emulating Apple's products in its devices even while losing numerous cases claiming it did just that, Samsung is attempting to distance itself from its own actions, describing these as an "unfortunate incident" that go against its own "fundamental principles," according to the BBC.

The company's actions were suggested by a series of published documents that showed the company had been recruiting students to praise Samsung and slam HTC online.

Samsung now claims it has "ceased all marketing activities that involve the posting of anonymous comments," according to the report. Plus, in a move that's bound to leave a few people in Cupertino laughing, Samsung also said: "All future marketing work would be more in line with its company philosophy of transparency and honesty."

So, that's OK, then...but is it? Is it really OK?

Where does it end?

Think about it.

We already know Samsung has moved to a position of smartphone dominance even in comparison to other members of the Android manufacturing community. The company invests huge piles of cash in chasing that dream, its marketing spend is far and away above that of anyone else in the industry. Now we learn that in at least one case that marketing spend has extended to paying people to say bad things about one of its competitors.

If it's prepared to mount such a campaign against HTC, then why would it not have also launched such activity against other competitors? Has it been engaged in such activity in its campaign against Apple?

 

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