I love it when stupidity is punished!
Lifestyle Lift, which provides quick facelift procedures, was found guilty of publishing positive reviews and comments to trick consumers into believing that satisfied customers were posting their own stories.
The settlement marks a first strike against the growing practice of ‘astroturfing’ in the US, where employees pose as independent consumers to post positive reviews and commentary to websites and internet message boards about their own company.
Attorney General Cuomo, who presided over the case, said: “This company’s attempt to generate business by duping consumers was cynical, manipulative, and illegal. My office has and will continue to be on the forefront in protecting consumers against emerging fraud and deception, including ‘astroturfing,’ on the internet.”
Astroturfers, beware. This is becoming serious enough to have real penalties in place.
And why, exactly, did Lifestyle Lift think that astroturfing was a good idea?
An investigation found that Lifestyle Lift’s president believed that negative internet postings had significantly hurt the company’s reputation and thought the success of the company hinged on controlling messages posted online.
Yeah, because when people think negatively of you, lying and deception is almost always the best solution to turn negative feelings into positive ones.