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#1 Edited by mrfluke (5271 posts) -

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=579945

http://www.reddit.com/r/HailCorporate/comments/1fv43y/account_created_the_day_after_xbox_one_reveal/

this is really borderline pathetic now, so the rage has been so bad that MS employees are pretty much going on reddit and downvoting posts and upvoting positive posts and artificially making positive posts, as according to this neo gaf user, apparently microsoft brought in a reputation management crew.

Here's a piece of what said user wrote on the neogaf post that goes into detail.

While we were waiting, various marketing employees said hello to us/shook our hands - it was a pretty friendly place. Just nearby were two guys chatting at one of their PCs, and they caught my attention because they were on Reddit! I thought that was pretty cool, and presumed they were having a late lunch break and were just goofing around online. I kind-of started to eavesdrop (I honestly couldn't help it, they were talking about Reddit!) and realized they were actually talking business. One of the exchanges went like this:

"I got a few more on pics and some of the smaller subs"

"Honestly just don't bother I think, stay focused on gaming. We really should be spending 90% of our time there." [Note: I presume they were referring to /r/pics and /r/gaming]

His coworker went back to his own computer, and he continued Redditing while we waited. He must've really been hyped up on caffeine or something, because his typing was like a machine gun and he was switching tabs like crazy (or maybe that's just because Microsoft hires the 'hacker' type of guys?) Anyway I noticed he was mass-downvoting a ton of posts and comments, and he kept switching to other tabs to make posts and comments of his own.

I couldn't make out exactly what he was posting, but I presumed he was doing RM (reputation management) and asked my boss about it later. According to my boss, MS have just brought in a huge sweep of SMM managers to handle reputation management for the Xbox One. If you're unfamiliar with reputation management (

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reputation_management

), it is basically what it sounds like.

Social media managers doing RM focus on providing positive posts, likes and shares to promote the brand on social media sites and forums - usually posing as the 'happy customer' archetype through a multitude of accounts. In the last year or so, Reddit has become more and more important to an overall RM strategy.

It also often involves 'debunking' people who make negative or critical comments about the brand online. I've done this myself for numerous clients before (even on Reddit once, sorry!). It is fairly standard procedure, although usually not so much for huge companies like Microsoft. I don't know why such a huge company needs to devote energy to this, because their brand is already extraordinarly well-known. But in any case, they seem to be putting a BIG focus on it for the Xbox One. Not only in-house; they're also dishing out the big bucks for some pretty high-profile marketing firms to do the work for them. Reddit will absolutely be a part of that strategy, and the couple of guys I saw were probably just the tip of the iceberg.

truly pathetic, apparently even neogaf had an invasion of xbox shills and have been banning people.

dunno if GB rates that high to get that type of attention.

#2 Edited by Blu3V3nom07 (4236 posts) -

Hrm. Interesting. Like, what does a positive-ass post look like? They'd be one-posters anyway. I don't think GB is big enough to get noticed. PA Report, GameSpot, IGN maybe.

#3 Posted by Demoskinos (15019 posts) -

Not sure how much of this I buy....

#4 Posted by BigJeffrey (5081 posts) -

SONY BOUGHT THIS POST

#5 Edited by mrfluke (5271 posts) -

@demoskinos: apparently reading through that neogaf thread a bit, seems the shills invaded neogaf and the mods went on a banning spree.

i think its legit, it would be kind of funny if they ever invade here

#6 Posted by Kidavenger (3582 posts) -

You'd think Reddit would have some sort of IP tracking that gets tagged to posts to prevent people from abusing multiple accounts, that's fairly standard for most forum software now I think.

#7 Edited by SomeJerk (3305 posts) -

Many of them are stupid enough to register for forums with their social marketing company email addresses. Spotted this on one Swedish tech forum I frequent when their astroturfing Win8&RT defense campaigns began last year, nothing but the most stupid defenses over how Metro is everything an avid computer user and gamer could ever need to do anything with a machine.

(That redditors words sound fishy and hard to trust, would employees actually do that within freaking earshot? The shills are a real thing though. Neogaf has no sony shills, it's just that Sony so far look like the most gamer-friendly ones of the bunch. It might change.)

#8 Edited by Benny (1953 posts) -

It's absolutely legit, they've been doing this for fucking forever, I say this all the time but the Hotspot crew joked about it wayyy back in 2005/6 when they got these kinds of posts on the Gamespot forums. Nothing new.

#9 Posted by MildMolasses (3225 posts) -

Well if reddit says so....

#10 Edited by troll93 (391 posts) -

I don't read Reddit........

#11 Posted by spraynardtatum (3252 posts) -

I confronted someone on IGN about working for Microsoft multiple times without any form of response. He would just go on posting more praise for the Xbone and ignore my questions. They went by Arguru and they only had about 150 comments on their profile. All of them in defense of the Xbone. I basically just replied on every comment they had for people to look at their comment history.

#12 Posted by subyman (647 posts) -

You'd think Reddit would have some sort of IP tracking that gets tagged to posts to prevent people from abusing multiple accounts, that's fairly standard for most forum software now I think.

I'm sure companies devoted to RM have VPNs or proxies they use.

#14 Edited by mrfluke (5271 posts) -
@subyman said:

@kidavenger said:

You'd think Reddit would have some sort of IP tracking that gets tagged to posts to prevent people from abusing multiple accounts, that's fairly standard for most forum software now I think.

I'm sure companies devoted to RM have VPNs or proxies they use.

yea thats very likely what they are doing,

#15 Posted by Milkman (17035 posts) -

Tons of companies do this stuff. It's nothing new

#16 Edited by Chaser324 (6651 posts) -

This seems like a pretty legit thing. Social media marketing is huge, and I'm sure Microsoft wants to do anything it can prior to E3 to try to sway a little bit of mindshare back in their favor (or even just get a few people to not be vehemently opposed).

Moderator
#17 Edited by alanm26v5 (459 posts) -

I want to know where I can get one of these jobs. Then again I can only take r/gaming in small doses, especially when there's something someone's angry about.

Online
#18 Posted by Jimbo (9872 posts) -

You can always tell though because they refer to it as 'Xbox One console' instead of Xbone.

#19 Posted by Village_Guy (2638 posts) -

Reddit. Your number one source for legitimate news and/or facts about everything (especially things that have angered people on the Internet already)!

#20 Posted by Blu3V3nom07 (4236 posts) -

I saw those comments, and I can't tell if he's a shill.. He sounds just as douchey as others on YouTube and IGN. Hmm..

But ah, fuck it. He probably is. Who cares?

#21 Edited by Lind_L_Taylor (3966 posts) -

Spooky. However, at this point anyone speaking fondness about the Xbone is just polishing a turd & there is no way they could convince me otherwise.

Maybe they can pay these marketing companies to buy the Xbone to trump up the sales figures after its release? Pay them to play the games for a year & post photos up on the web to show what a great time they're having...hahaha. Somebody enjoying themselves that much on an anti-consumer machine would strike me as just weird & sort of not understanding the big picture.

#22 Edited by Itwastuesday (975 posts) -

This stuff happens all the time, so remember to look at everything on the internet with skepticism (still).

Online
#23 Posted by Animasta (14713 posts) -

man why can't people just like pay me, I would totally have supremely positive things to say about microsoft.

#24 Edited by rentfn (1282 posts) -

Reddit was spot on about the Boston Bombers so they should be always and forever trusted...

#25 Edited by ZombiePie (5710 posts) -

I abstain from commenting on this matter other than this.

Moderator
#26 Edited by Pie (7109 posts) -

I confronted someone on IGN about working for Microsoft multiple times without any form of response. He would just go on posting more praise for the Xbone and ignore my questions. They went by Arguru and they only had about 150 comments on their profile. All of them in defense of the Xbone. I basically just replied on every comment they had for people to look at their comment history.

Good use of time.

#27 Posted by connerthekewlkid (1844 posts) -

This is fishy, and Neogaf bans for fanboyism anyways so i think its the internet overeating gain and jumping to conclusions.

#28 Posted by Pezen (1635 posts) -

There was a big article somewhere about this sort of thing being employed by the Chinese government a while ago (I remember they interviewed someone who worked with it). Basically dudes sitting around being both sides of an argument on websites in order to steer the argument in their own favor by playing several parts all by themselves. And I am sure there are similar tactics being employed by internet savvy companies as well.

#29 Edited by Blu3V3nom07 (4236 posts) -

Well I'll say this. They're paid too be snide jerks.

I would like a Jade Empire 2, though.. (From another outed-user comments I saw. There seems to be at least four.) It would make my Fable IV experience even more complete, which I still want..

Would BioWare even have people to do it?

#30 Posted by mrfluke (5271 posts) -

@rentfn: i agree with you, but that was also reddit doing a witch hunt in a sense.

this is different as this guy was apparently at microsoft and overheard this type of stuff and sort of saw this stuff happen.

and for what its worth apparently neogaf had a bit of an invasion of MS shills and the mods were on a banning spree banning new 1 post accounts or accounts with nothing but shilling for microsoft.

#31 Posted by connerthekewlkid (1844 posts) -

@mrfluke said:

@rentfn: i agree with you, but that was also reddit doing a witch hunt in a sense.

this is different as this guy was apparently at microsoft and overheard this type of stuff and sort of saw this stuff happen.

and for what its worth apparently neogaf had a bit of an invasion of MS shills and the mods were on a banning spree banning new 1 post accounts or accounts with nothing but shilling for microsoft.

Sadly there's alot of Sony stealth marketers that have got real comfy on that site.

#32 Posted by Kidavenger (3582 posts) -

@mrfluke said:
@subyman said:

@kidavenger said:

You'd think Reddit would have some sort of IP tracking that gets tagged to posts to prevent people from abusing multiple accounts, that's fairly standard for most forum software now I think.

I'm sure companies devoted to RM have VPNs or proxies they use.

yea thats very likely what they are doing,

No doubt, but that isn't going to mask someone that is alt+tabbing to make a bunch of posts as described in the OP, even if they had some automated software to randomize their IP, the forum admin would probably notice a single account rapidly posting from random IPs.

IDK, seems like a lot of effort for something that ultimately won't matter, it's not like people blindly believe obvious bullshit posted on forums.

#33 Posted by Dagbiker (6978 posts) -

They probably set up a http://www.google.com/alerts for certan words, and every day/hour or what ever they see what website is getting a lot of negitive comments.

google alerts basicly search the internet every day and send you the results, as opposed to you doing the search yourself.

#34 Posted by PHenry1991 (137 posts) -

Sony's probably doing the same, it's just less noticeable somehow. Or we tend not to notice it with the negativity surrounding the xbone. Microsoft should know better. Having guys show up and say "DRM is great," and the like (I don't know what they're saying) is just stupid. I like about half of what Microsoft is selling, and hate the other half. Installs good. 24 hour check-in bad. They need to get their shit together. But who knows, we could be saying the same about Sony or, god forbid, Nintendo next week.

#35 Posted by mrfluke (5271 posts) -

@mrfluke said:

@rentfn: i agree with you, but that was also reddit doing a witch hunt in a sense.

this is different as this guy was apparently at microsoft and overheard this type of stuff and sort of saw this stuff happen.

and for what its worth apparently neogaf had a bit of an invasion of MS shills and the mods were on a banning spree banning new 1 post accounts or accounts with nothing but shilling for microsoft.

Sadly there's alot of Sony stealth marketers that have got real comfy on that site.

oh yea i believe people said sony pulled this shit during the early stages of the ps3.

but with the way people's opinions are lately between the 2 systems, i dont think sony has to work that hard for the ps4 :P

#36 Edited by Pachtar_Klepek (89 posts) -

We are at war.

Happens here on GB and similar forums on a smaller scale. It is no secret marketing teams spend YEARS building up REALISTIC user accounts on social networks to attempt to sway public opinions.

Over the course of the next few months, expect to see one of the biggest Black Hat marketing campaigns that has ever existed. Expect free Xbox One hardware for every Internet Tastemaker and Trendsetter (game journalists, podcasters, bloggers, tv/radio personalities). Watch across every social network, as new names and unrecognizable faces rise from the shadows touting their falsehoods on their sleeves under the guise of authenticity. Watch as primed accounts lying dormant in anticipation for the next cause, are awoken and pushed out on the frontlines. Services that provide followers, Facebook likes or Reddit upvotes are only the tip of the iceberg and are just one of the many weapons of those trying to push their products and ideals upon us.

#37 Edited by mrfluke (5271 posts) -

@mrfluke said:
@subyman said:

@kidavenger said:

You'd think Reddit would have some sort of IP tracking that gets tagged to posts to prevent people from abusing multiple accounts, that's fairly standard for most forum software now I think.

I'm sure companies devoted to RM have VPNs or proxies they use.

yea thats very likely what they are doing,

No doubt, but that isn't going to mask someone that is alt+tabbing to make a bunch of posts as described in the OP, even if they had some automated software to randomize their IP, the forum admin would probably notice a single account rapidly posting from random IPs.

IDK, seems like a lot of effort for something that ultimately won't matter, it's not like people blindly believe obvious bullshit posted on forums.

For what its worth, Jeff says this sort of thing isnt uncommon and he banned a lot of accounts like that back in the day

http://blog.jeffgerstmann.net/post/52409582503/so-apparently-a-reddit-user-on-gaf-claims-that-ms#notes

you were right @benny, and now that i think about it, i do recall during the hotspot days they did talk about banning weirdly positive accounts.

#38 Edited by connerthekewlkid (1844 posts) -

@mrfluke said:

@connerthekewlkid said:

@mrfluke said:

@rentfn: i agree with you, but that was also reddit doing a witch hunt in a sense.

this is different as this guy was apparently at microsoft and overheard this type of stuff and sort of saw this stuff happen.

and for what its worth apparently neogaf had a bit of an invasion of MS shills and the mods were on a banning spree banning new 1 post accounts or accounts with nothing but shilling for microsoft.

Sadly there's alot of Sony stealth marketers that have got real comfy on that site.

oh yea i believe people said sony pulled this shit during the early stages of the ps3.

but with the way people's opinions are lately between the 2 systems, i dont think sony has to work that hard for the ps4 :P

I just think its stupid that so many people allow them to market there because you'll get grind-ed out if you don't agree with the masses there, but since its the company they prefer its okay if they viral everywhere. I think I literally counted 5 people with photo shopped Kaz Haria avatars on the first page

#39 Edited by xyzygy (10032 posts) -

Honestly, if all this criticism will drive Microsoft to realize that they should make some changes to their policies, I say go for it and expose this.

#40 Posted by xyzygy (10032 posts) -

We are at war.

Happens here on GB and similar forums on a smaller scale. It is no secret marketing teams spend YEARS building up REALISTIC user accounts on social networks to attempt to sway public opinions.

Over the course of the next few months, expect to see one of the biggest Black Hat marketing campaigns that has ever existed. Expect free Xbox One hardware for every Internet Tastemaker and Trendsetter (game journalists, podcasters, bloggers, tv/radio personalities). Watch across every social network, as new names and unrecognizable faces rise from the shadows touting their falsehoods on their sleeves under the guise of authenticity. Watch as primed accounts lying dormant in anticipation for the next cause, are awoken and pushed out on the frontlines. Services that provide followers, Facebook likes or Reddit upvotes are only the tip of the iceberg and are just one of the many weapons of those trying to push their products and ideals upon us.

OK this is a little too extreme. I really don't think it's on that level. But believe what you want.

#41 Posted by mrfluke (5271 posts) -

@mrfluke said:

@connerthekewlkid said:

@mrfluke said:

@rentfn: i agree with you, but that was also reddit doing a witch hunt in a sense.

this is different as this guy was apparently at microsoft and overheard this type of stuff and sort of saw this stuff happen.

and for what its worth apparently neogaf had a bit of an invasion of MS shills and the mods were on a banning spree banning new 1 post accounts or accounts with nothing but shilling for microsoft.

Sadly there's alot of Sony stealth marketers that have got real comfy on that site.

oh yea i believe people said sony pulled this shit during the early stages of the ps3.

but with the way people's opinions are lately between the 2 systems, i dont think sony has to work that hard for the ps4 :P

I just think its stupid that so many people allow them to market there because you'll get grind-ed out if you don't agree with the masses there, but since its the company they prefer its okay if they viral everywhere. I think I literally counted 5 people with photo shopped Kaz Haria avatars on the first page

its power of the mass opinion and opinions in general.

the actual sony shills are very lucky and get to blend in with the masses, there's just no non invasive way of figuring out who's paid to do this stuff versus the actual person who's genuinely backing the ps4.

and to be fair, imo microsoft's policies make it really hard to root for that system as there are enough cases where that system isnt gonna work for a good set of people.

#42 Posted by mrfluke (5271 posts) -

@mrfluke said:

@connerthekewlkid said:

@mrfluke said:

@connerthekewlkid said:

@mrfluke said:

@rentfn: i agree with you, but that was also reddit doing a witch hunt in a sense.

this is different as this guy was apparently at microsoft and overheard this type of stuff and sort of saw this stuff happen.

and for what its worth apparently neogaf had a bit of an invasion of MS shills and the mods were on a banning spree banning new 1 post accounts or accounts with nothing but shilling for microsoft.

Sadly there's alot of Sony stealth marketers that have got real comfy on that site.

oh yea i believe people said sony pulled this shit during the early stages of the ps3.

but with the way people's opinions are lately between the 2 systems, i dont think sony has to work that hard for the ps4 :P

I just think its stupid that so many people allow them to market there because you'll get grind-ed out if you don't agree with the masses there, but since its the company they prefer its okay if they viral everywhere. I think I literally counted 5 people with photo shopped Kaz Haria avatars on the first page

its power of the mass opinion and opinions in general.

the actual sony shills are very lucky and get to blend in with the masses, there's just no non invasive way of figuring out who's paid to do this stuff versus the actual person who's genuinely backing the ps4.

and to be fair, imo microsoft's policies make it really hard to root for that system as there are enough cases where that system isnt gonna work for a good set of people.

im very very interested to see what the tone of the masses will be after E3.

#43 Edited by Blu3V3nom07 (4236 posts) -

Man, I just checked CNN Tech to see what I would think is sort of like "the mass-public opinion." Everyone's still hating. Its still an Xbone over there. Yeesh..

28 comments, meh?. I saw a rape comment. Not-wonderful..

#44 Posted by killacam (1285 posts) -
#45 Posted by YukoAsho (2077 posts) -

This is hardly new. In the social media age, marketing via fake user accounts is hardly abnormal anymore. Neither is buying space on websites for paid "articles." Anyone remember that horrible Vanity review of Super Mario Galaxy sponsored by Sony a few years back?

#46 Posted by KittyVonDoom (445 posts) -

Grab your pitchforks!

#47 Edited by Andorski (5343 posts) -

All companies that consider their brand's public image do this. There are a lot of things MS should be criticized for; this particular issue should be put on the back burner.

#48 Posted by Joeyoe31 (820 posts) -

Viral Marketing!

#49 Edited by TheHT (11526 posts) -

guys i read from a reputably source that none of this is true.

but i'd like to take a moment to talk about the XBOX ONE, from Microsoft. i think talking about this will calm everyone down.

it's got everything the modern gamer would want, and it's also got something for everyone else! from TV, to the latest apps, to the coolest shooters, XBOX ONE is really gonna be something.

i think we should watch out for the XBOX ONE at this years E3.

#50 Posted by Blu3V3nom07 (4236 posts) -

@theht: Well that's good to hear. Some people sure got banned, though. I guess.

I could actually see myself using the TV functionality. I hardly watch TV anymore, but sometimes for sports. And I never remember when like the games are. So Destiny-lobby waiting, I can quickly search the times. And shit, maybe even schedule it in my calender, if the Xbox includes the Calender app there. If there's still enough time, I can throw on some mixtape I have on Skydrive, or something.

But that's just me.