The FTC announced Thursday that it has settled charges with a California marketing company that paid employees to leave favorable reviews of video games on the iTunes music store.
The Times said it was unclear why this single company, Reverb, was singled out as this sort of thing is to be expected in online reviews. But it may have had to do with how blatent the reviews were in their planted nature.
For example, from the court documents:
“[Developer of gaming application being reviewed] hits another home run with [gaming application being reviewed]”
“[Developer of gaming application being reviewed] does it again!”
The documents list a host of other, slightly more subtle financed praise, but something like that must have drawn a red flag. Reverb will not be fined, but internet users may want to be aware the next time they decide to rally behind a product without actually liking it. Caveat emptor!