- 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...
You now know about him. It worked and still is working.
The former now goes straight into my "never do business with" blacklist.
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.
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.
You are missing my point - I'm not saying it's fine. I'm saying you are missing your target.
I realize not many do that, because somehow not acting in a malicious way is an unacceptably high standard for the marketing/PR industry.
What if this is just a ploy to make this, a possibly fabricated, story go viral to undermine the candidate?
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.
Second, they're proud of what they did and are implicitly telling potential clients, "We can do the same for you."