With lots of positive feedbacks about the inception of the term ORM, there are some negatives too. While positives being more in number and less effective, negatives are less in amount but produces dynamic effect on the society.
Take an example of you stepping in to buy a brand new mobile phone. You have decided which brand to buy.
You just visit your nearby retailer for buying and before buying you try to know about, who’s what and what’s trending with the other brands and a salesperson of the retailer that addresses you.
You tell your concerns and he addresses your issues nicely. In the end, you come up with a brand that you haven’t decided!
What if you come to know that the salesperson working for that retailer was silently working as a salesperson for the brand of mobile phone you just bought! This is exactly what is happening on internet.
Replace your retailer with any big brand name or an online retailer you’d like to. Companies hire other companies or make a separate department in their own to take care about what is said about their brand, what reaches to people, how does people perceive it, and in the end what do people buy.
Not just companies, claims are that political parties might be applying similar strategies for winning elections. This term is called Astroturfing! Astroturfing in its literal sense means grassroots.
In the industry, it may be defined as sponsors of any organization i.e. the people at grassroots, hiring another bunch of people to spread message in their names.
People involved in Astroturfing are termed Astroturfers; who use various software’s to mask their identities. With an increase in ORM, people came up with this idea to benefit the organization they work for.
In the initial study of Astroturfing related to ORM in USA, Oxford professor Philip N. Howard argued that Internet had become an easy place for powerful lobbyist and conservative political movements to activate small bunch of people.
In United States, there is law by which FTC may send cease and desist orders or require a fine of $16000 per day for those who violate “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”.
A study concerning to ORM says that one third of the reviews posted online are fake. In 2010 Filippo Menczer’s group at Indiana University developed software that detects astroturfing on Twitter by recognizing behavioral patterns.
The anonymity of a user is wrongly used to gain benefit by a single person or an organization as a whole. Taking money to get a company in is the cardinal sin of Journalism.
Astroturfing or managing a company’s reputation online, spinning paid opinion as popular sentiment is making hard for people to tell a difference between “popular sentiment” and “manufactured public opinion”.
First there were FBI agents posing as normal humans. Now we have normal humans, which may be associated with any group, which are tagged from inside, doing their business and hampering/ influencing/ playing with other human’s psyche! Where has it got to end?
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