Astroturfing : marketing tactics for your site
If you're looking into various marketing tactics for your site, you've probably come across the concept of astroturfing by now.
If not, here's a quick explanation of the term taken from Wikipedia:
“…the practice of masking the sponsors of a message…”
In Internet terms, this generally boils down to asking someone to write reviews of your company – someone that you pay, that is. While this might seem like a good idea at first, it's actually a really bad one. Here's why.
Why Astroturfing Doesn't Work
Fake reviews of any company will sound terrible if you don't hire a person who speaks a native language to write those reviews. For example: if you hire someone in the United States to write reviews of a British cheap hosting site, you can bet that those reviews will sound all wrong. Why? Because you can't fake lingo unless you're Hemingway.
But, that's not the only reason why Astroturfing doesn't work. The other reason is that any fake review will sound fake. Unless the person reviewing a product has actually used it, been through the process, and understood the real ups and downs of that site, company, or device, a review just won't sound natural. Why does it matter? Your fake reviews will get kicked off of every site you try to put them on, that's why.
“I have a better plan for you.”
Astroturfing: Do This Instead.
So, if fake reviews of your company won't work or help you build your reputation, what will? You can use marketing tactics like SEO, keywords, database entries, and ads. You can also try to work on your reputation, so that real clients can send in real reviews of your company. If you ask each of your clients to review an experience working with your company, you will eventually gain a whole bunch of new reviews.
You then use these reviews (with permission) on your site to show other prospective clients that your company is great. You can also ask select customers to post reviews on review sites, and this information can then be read legitimately.
Astroturfing: The Right Route to Take
Is this the simple route? No. Will it work? Yes. Why? Because the reviews posted will ring authentic, and that's a priceless way to attract more clients. Astroturfing has become immensely popular, but it never pays off in the long run. Plus, sites like Yelp are cracking down on these fake reviews, so you may really find yourself in some hot water.
Internet marketing can be both a sketchy and tricky field. The best way to go about it, though, is by trying to build up a company's reputation through legitimate measures. I know, it's not as simple to actually work to get those great reviews, but the feedback you will get from clients will be priceless – both when it comes to building your brand, and when it comes to knowing what your clients really want.
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