Samsung has been fined just over $340,000 by Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission for paying people to write good reviews on its products while also writing bad reviews of competing products. This was in violation of the FTC’s fair trade rules. It’s said that Samsung organized an internet campaign and paid people to praise Samsung products while jeering other competitors.
It’s reported that HTC was the main target for Samsung, but the FTC documents actually don’t mention any company names specifically. However, seeing as how this took place in Taiwan, we wouldn’t be surprised if HTC (a Taiwanese company) was a victim in the ploy.
This investigation actually opened up back in April when the campaign started, and the FTC says that Samsung used a “large number of hired writers and designated employees” to post negative reviews of competing products to several different Taiwanese message boards using a third-party marketing company.
This is the second time this year that Samsung has been caught paying shills to write negative reviews about competing products and praising Samsung’s own devices, but it certainly shouldn’t come as a surprise. This is a tactic that many companies perform, and while it’s certainly unethical and even illegal in a lot of countries, companies are getting away with it in some form or another.
Oddly enough, it’s uncertain why Samsung seems so desperate that it’s paying people to write bad comments on competing devices; the company is one of the largest phone makers in the world, and it’s easily outselling HTC in the smartphone market, so Samsung is basically just adding insult to injury with paid negative reviews, but we suppose there’s no mercy when trying to become the biggest smartphone maker around.
The company recently announced that it sold 40 million Galaxy S4 units in a matter of just five months, making it one of the fastest-selling smartphones ever, but apparently that just isn’t enough, as the company has to go out of its way and even get fined just so that it may sell slightly more units.