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Didn't they just massively throw their client under the bus? Not hard to find the guy's name, and now everyone knows:

- his big political stunt wasn't even his own idea, and

- he paid people a ton of money to fraudulently promote it.

What a way to burn your clients...

The PR firm isn't at all ashamed of what they've done, in fact they are publishing this as an example of what a great PR firm they are. After all, it shows their "hustle". It's odd, but not at all surprising, that someone in the PR/marketing world can fail to even see how something might be morally wrong with their scummy methods.

Is that hustle? His last ditch effort was to use Reddit and was lucky it worked. No experience or expertise, and now potential clients know how little it cost.

have you read the article? @hn_throwaway_99 was referring to the wording in the article: "This gave the campaign the boost we needed and it was all the direct result of one thing: hustle"

Sometimes I wonder what it says about our business culture that "hustle" describes both earnest effort and scamming people. Maybe it's nothing, but it seems a little odd.

No. They just created the second wave by topping HN. The client is a CA based entrepreneur likely his policy and attitude will align with people here.

You now know about him. It worked and still is working.

Exactly my thought. They might have gamed HN too!

To put it in the clear. The company is (obviously) Hack PR, and the client is John Cox.

The former now goes straight into my "never do business with" blacklist.

Do you know that nice little HN poster child, AirBnB? They bootstrapped themselves using exactly the same strategy, with Craigslist in lieu of Reddit (they also used to call it "hustling"). You might now boycott them, too.

I do. And I argued my dislike of that since the moment I learned about it. I generally disapprove of astroturfing. AirBnB is not one of my favourite companies.

Your gonna have a hard time. There is very very little that isn't the result of fakery of various types.

Your policy just causes you to avoid the poorly done astroturfing, it does nothing to actually avoid it.

What you should do instead is mentally "filter out" the results of the astroturfing, and evaluate the service on how it looks minus that.

I prefer to avoid the service itself if I find it resorting to such methods. And I don't care "everyone" does that, I want to punish them, and reward those who don't do such things.

Maybe I'm going to have a hard time, sure. But "be the change you want to see in the world" and all that. In the past, my objections have prevented one company from engaging in marketing spam, and made a third party dump their SEO provider because of shady practices. I'll continue doing as much as I can, and I encourage others to do the same.

But they all do. Are you going to avoid every single service that exists?

You are missing my point - I'm not saying it's fine. I'm saying you are missing your target.

reddit itself used fake users at the start to make the site look more busy

So, what do you expect a successful PR firm to do?

Promote things without lying to people.

I realize not many do that, because somehow not acting in a malicious way is an unacceptably high standard for the marketing/PR industry.

Why, go straight to the New York Times, and push their BS articles and interviews through them, like every respectable PR company does!

Yeah. Either they care more about the lolz than future $$, or this, itself, is a made up story.

What if this is just a ploy to make this, a possibly fabricated, story go viral to undermine the candidate?

So meta.

Either way it's safe to say they're a shady group and one should avoid doing business with them.

That was my thought too.

I get it, they need to promote their services, but if this is what they think is the right way to do it, that doesn't fill me with confidence that they have any ability to do PR beyond buying fake upvotes on social media.

If the client was still with the agency, there's no way they didn't clear this with the client first.

Second, they're proud of what they did and are implicitly telling potential clients, "We can do the same for you."

They burnt one client but got 100 new, perhaps shadier clients. Probably not clients you'd want to have...

And get yourself banned from reddit.

Can't tell, Tom Steyer right?

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