This article from The Christian Science Monitor makes a good case -- and serves as a timely reminder -- for why each and every company's WOM efforts should be ethical. Unethical word of mouth marketing taints the industry for everyone involved. The article focuses on astroturfing and highlights a couple of WOM ethics missteps. The goal of such a campaign is to disguise the efforts of a political
or commercial entity as an independent public reaction to some
political entity—a politician, political group, product, service or
An Astroturfers attempts to orchestrate the actions of apparently
diverse and geographically distributed individuals, by both overt
("outreach," "awareness," etc.) and covert (disinformation)
means. Astroturfing may be undertaken by anything from an individual
pushing their own personal agenda through to highly organized
professional groups with financial backing from large corporations,
non-profits, or activist organizations.
"Whether it's Microsoft paying a journalist to edit the company's
entry on Wikipedia or the CEO of Whole Foods giving an anonymous online
thrashing to competitor Wild Oats or Sony Corporation funding an
"independent" fan blog, deceptive marketing practices on the Internet
are a growing problem, new-media analysts say.
This type of consumer manipulation is known as "astroturfing," and efforts to stomp it out are growing." - Source: Christian Science Monitor Read Entire Article >
For a WOM ethics refresher, visit WOMMA's ethics toolkit page at http://www.womma.org/ethics.