Summary: Reverb gets busted by the FTC and then settles the case, having left fake reviews on behalf of clients
For those who do not know, Reverb is an AstroTurfing agency, similar to some of Microsoft’s. Last year the rather toothless FTC said that it would crack down on AstroTurfing, so we filed complaints to the FTC, exposing some of Microsoft’s AstroTurf agencies (the FTC replied to us but waited for more similar complaints).
Discerning Internet users know that glowing online reviews of things like books or restaurants cannot always be trusted. But federal regulators are serving notice that if you stand to gain financially from the review you are writing, you should be upfront about it.
Let’s hope that the FTC will also target Waggener Edstrom, Edelman, Visible Technologies, and maybe Federated Media next. They all work for Microsoft. See the video we posted earlier of Bill Hicks on marketing. █