So you know Anna, the person who absolutely shredded the claim that Vemma’s affiliate program is anything like Amazon’s?
Well, she let me in on another secret.
She told me that Vemma was “astro-turfing” my blog.
Now, Astro Turf is that synthetic sod type stuff that they use to layer outdoor soccer pitches at high schools. So I was pleasantly surprised to see that Vemma had moved from illegally recruiting high school children to repaving their athletic fields.
Half amused, half stunned at how dense I was, Anna corrected me.
Astro-turfing is the process by which a corporation uses marketing companies to give falsely positive reviews in order to bolster their reputation.
I.e. “artificial turf”; they’re trying to regain false ground. Since Anna has great knowledge of marketing companies and has friends that use them, she received word that a company had been hired in order to astro-turf my blog.
Now I had long suspected that SOME of the hate comments I was getting were astro-turfing (not that I knew the term at the time), but I had no way to be sure.
After all, it would be supremely arrogant of me to assume that every critic I had was some guy in India copy pasting from a script while replacing the blanks with Vemma buzzwords.
So I asked Anna for specifics.
She told me that the astro-turf comments were one of two varieties:
- Loudly claim that they had nothing to do with the company, but conveniently come to its defense and particularly focus on young people “claiming their future”.
- Claim that the product had helped them with some unspecified disease.
She also said that if these comments were posted but never defended even if I replied to them, then she could almost guarantee that they were not true comments.
Now this is hilarious for two reasons.
First, if Vemma is resorting to paying marketing companies to place generic, cookie cutter comments on my blog then it’s working. Vemma feels the need to counteract all of the information my blog is putting out into the internet.
Second . . . most of the comments don’t make it on here.
Where astro-turf comments go to die.
Remember, I instituted a policy of manually approved comments to keep the moo-ing on my blog down to a minimum. Most of the comments that fall into the aforementioned categories aren’t approved!
So Vemma is paying marketing companies for transparent comments that don’t even appear on my blog!
Bravo Vemma! You’ve really outdone yourself this time!