Thanks to Constantin at Converseon (my employer) for pointing me to the recent actions by the FTC against the public relations firm, Reverb Communications, for using employees to post fake positive reviews for their video game clients during November 2008 – May 2009.
According to the FTC, “These postings did not disclose the compensated nature of the relationship between the reviewers and the publishers of the gaming applications.”
From the FTC press release:
Under the proposed settlement order, Reverb Communications, Inc. and its sole owner, Tracie Snitker, are required to remove any previously posted endorsements that misrepresent the authors as independent users or ordinary consumers, and that fail to disclose a connection between Reverb and Snitker and the seller of a product or service. The agreement also bars Reverb and Snitker from misrepresenting that the user or endorser is an independent, ordinary consumer, and from making endorsement or user claims about a product or service unless they disclose any relevant connections that they have with the seller of the product or service.
(I’m a little late publishing this, so you may have already heard.)