If a smartphone company is doing its job well, it’s going to lead to that company’s fan base having some very vocal opinions about its products. While we may decry over-the-top fanboyism, what company wouldn’t want passionate users, singing its praises online and throwing criticism after criticism at the competition. Well, it’s one thing when that sort of situation happens naturally, but another altogether when those voices are bought and paid for. That’s the scandal Samsung’s facing, as it’s hit with a big fine in Taiwan over unfair promotional activity.
Samsung’s accused of orchestrating a campaign to post positive opinions about Samsung devices, while at the same time specifically attacking HTC models. Once Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission got wind of this, it slapped Samsung with $340,000 fine.
Granted, Samsung’s got the money to spare, but that doesn’t make its actions any more respectable. HTC’s got to be asking itself just what impact Samsung’s astroturfing shadiness has had on its income taking a nose dive. We can’t imagine it’s very substantial – surely, Samsung reaches more users through more traditional advertising channels – but try telling that to HTC.
Update: Samsung states that it deeply regrets the incident and promises a full investigation into how this happened.