Microsoft may have been caught red handed hiring people to post fake comments around the net that put the Xbox One in a positive light.
Business Insider reported that a redditor named “mistysilver” has ousted Microsoft for contracting people to engage in Reputation management.Reputation management is the act of “the understanding or influencing of an individual’s or business’s reputation. It was originally coined as a public relations term, but advancement in computing, the internet and social media made it primarily an issue of search results. Although it is often associated with ethical grey areas, such as astroturfing review sites, censoring negative complaints or using SEO tactics to game the system and influence results, there are also ethical forms of reputation management, such as responding to customer complaints, asking sites to take down incorrect information and using online feedback to influence product development.”
Mistysilver, who claims to work for a marketing firm in Redwood, stated to Business Insider “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[sic] just brought in a huge sweep of SMM managers to handle reputation management for the Xbox One,” Mistysilver also went on to talk about how Reddit has become a haven for reputation management, people organizing downvote and censorship campaigns pop up all the time. Many Redditors even believe that they indeed found an account from one of these “reputation managers”. Redditor TempleOfTime apparently only created his account 1 day after the Xbox One was unveild. Every single comment or post made by TempleOfTime is positive for the Xbox One or slams people who are critical of it.
If this is true it really puts Microsoft in bad light, days before their E3 press conference. When Business Insider contact Microsoft for clarification on the issue they stated “There is no coordinated or sanctioned effort by Microsoft employees, or anyone paid by Microsoft, to unduly influence Reddit or other online forums.” This story is strange because there really isn’t much evidence to go off that Microsoft is indeed doing this. In fact Mistysilver could just be blowing smoke but there really isn’t any way to prove it. However I think that this issue should be looked into, if true this could be detrimental to the image of the Xbox One, a console that already has gamers furious about its DRM requirements and online license checks.