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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!




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