Microsoft Caught Astroturfing Reddit to Praise Xbox One

Xbox AstroturfingIt’s pretty well agreed that Microsoft shot themselves in the foot with their Xbox One policies that block selling used games and require online connection checks, and Microsoft is definitely aware of that. For proof, you don’t have to look any further than Reddit; where Microsoft has been discovered using fake accounts to hype up the Xbox One and down vote negative postings about the disaster of a game console.

A Redditor discovered it and posted this:

According to my boss, MS have just brought in a huge sweep of SMM managers to handle reputation management for the Xbox One. If you’re unfamiliar with reputation management (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reputation_management), it is basically what it sounds like. Social media managers doing RM focus on providing positive posts, likes and shares to promote the brand on social media sites and forums – usually posing as the ‘happy customer’ archetype through a multitude of accounts. In the last year or so, Reddit has become more and more important to an overall RM strategy.

It also often involves ‘debunking’ people who make negative or critical comments about the brand online. I’ve done this myself for numerous clients before (even on Reddit once, sorry!). It is fairly standard procedure, although usually not so much for huge companies like Microsoft. I don’t know why such a huge company needs to devote energy to this, because their brand is already extraordinarly well-known. But in any case, they seem to be putting a BIG focus on it for the Xbox One. Not only in-house; they’re also dishing out the big bucks for some pretty high-profile marketing firms to do the work for them. Reddit will absolutely be a part of that strategy, and the couple of guys I saw were probably just the tip of the iceberg.

So if you see someone praising Xbox One on Reddit, they may not be insane. They may just be a paid MS shill.