Taiwan Fines Samsung for Paying People to Praise Samsung and Bash Competitors

| Editorial

Taiwan has fined Samsung TWD10 million (that's New Taiwan dollars, or US$340,131) for mounting a fake campaign to praise Samsung's Android devices and criticize unspecified in article comments and forums. Phys.org reported that Taiwan's Federal Trade Commission began an investigation of Samsung in April and concluded the South Korean giant paid people to talk up its products and bash competitors, a violation of local regulations.

Samsung Astroturfing

Taiwan-based HTC wasn't named in the final ruling from Taiwan's FTC, the investigation was originally begun with HTC as the recipient of these fake complaints.

This sort of behavior isn't unique to Samsung and has earned the name "astroturfing." It does, however, seem to be par-for-the-course behavior for Samsung.

The company has been caught multiple times paying people to fake criticize its competition and talk up its products (possibly in China, too, though it could be a coincidence that a Samsung spokesperson was caught in the #postaround820 scandal).

The company was also convicted of copying its betters, and denied in its efforts to use standards-essential patents to extort protection for that copying. Even sillier, in my mind, was Samsung getting caught pointlessly cheating on hardware benchmarks.

There's a clear pattern of behavior, and remember that these are only the things Samsung has been caught doing. I know it makes me question every Apple-hating or Samsung-loving comment I see.

It also makes me wonder how Samsung can remain the poster child of awesome for Android fanboys.

Image made with help from Shutterstock.

[via Gizmodo]

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8 Comments Leave Your Own

Truffol

Sure it might be disgusting corporate behavior, but who doesn’t play dirty in the corporate world? How about those patent-troll lawsuits by Apple? Any suppliers and vendors who have dealt with Apple will know how Apple demand unreasonable production times and squeeze their profit margins to nothing. As customers, we have also learnt to deal with expensive lightning cables and whatnot. It’s a primitive world out there!

RonMacGuy

You hit the nail on the head, Bryan. I hate to think of how many people bought a Samsung phone based on fake praise posted by people paid to talk them up. Pretty pathetic way of doing business.

buddhistMonkey

@Truffol: ((( “How about those patent-troll lawsuits by Apple? Any suppliers and vendors who have dealt with Apple will know how Apple demand unreasonable production times and squeeze their profit margins to nothing. As customers, we have also learnt to deal with expensive lightning cables and whatnot.” )))

First, you’re misusing the term “patent troll.” From Wikipedia: “A patent troll, also called a patent assertion entity (PAE), is a person or company who enforces patent rights against accused infringers in an attempt to collect licensing fees, but does not manufacture products or supply services based upon the patents in question.”

Second, filing a lawsuit, demanding “unreasonable production times,” and pricing Lightning cables higher than you would like are not unethical, unlike what Samsung did (and, no doubt, continues to do). Do you REALLY not understand the difference?

RonMacGuy

Do you REALLY not understand the difference?

LOL.  Well done, buddhistMonkey!!  Well done!!

 

furbies

@Truffol

In the interests of public scrutiny, would you be honest enough to declare if you’re on Samsung’s payroll ?

And no, I’m not on the payroll of Apple or any associated entity.

aardman

The way Samsung is behaving, you’d think they’ve hired a convicted felon to be their CEO, eh?

wab95

Bryan:

You appear to suggest that Samsung are, dare I say it, cheats, or at least play fast and loose with the house rules. Surely, you’re not suggesting that one of the most prestigious, productive, and admired companies in the Android OEM panoply is, how shall I put this, ‘dirty’, ‘dishonest’, ‘unscrupulous’, or ‘scumbagalous’ - are you?

Actually, this news lit up the blogosphere, particularly being shared around here in Asia. Coincidentally, Samsung posted record profits the same day this news made the rounds, notably from their chipsets and their smartphone handset - although the latter primarily from their cheaper sets with lower margins than their high-end handsets, which have been selling poorly.

It makes one wonder if the company is reaching a cross-roads between their stellar market performance and their plummeting public persona. Personally, I think they will continue to get a pass because, from all empirical indicators, the global public does not seem to have sufficient emotional investment in Samsung (read: no one cares) to alter their behaviour based on Samsung’s practices. Pity. We have it within our means, thanks to social networking, to make our feelings felt and to alter corporate behaviour; even if only to the extent of a modicum.

mrmwebmax

+

wab95,

Personally, I think they will continue to get a pass because, from all empirical indicators, the global public does not seem to have sufficient emotional investment in Samsung (read: no one cares) to alter their behaviour based on Samsung’s practices. Pity. We have it within our means, thanks to social networking, to make our feelings felt and to alter corporate behaviour; even if only to the extent of a modicum.

Agreed. It seems only Apple manages to get people invested as such, be it Greenpeace, labor rights activists (as if only Apple manufactures products in Asia), investor rights activists (Carl Icahn), the government with the whole ebooks things, columnists and pundits and trolls bashing Apple at every turn, and all the while ignoring the likes of Samsung. Imagine if Apple had done the same thing. You’d never hear the end of it.

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