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Reputations at Stake, Companies Try to Alter Word of Mouth Online

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TWO THUMBS UP, BUT ONE GOT PAID
The Washington Post reminds us to question everything we read online. "What appears at first to be a spin-free, grass-roots marketplace of opinions and recommendations is rapidly turning into a hotly contested battleground where public relations firms and a new breed of imagemakers help businesses counter negative online comments and manage their online reputations -- even giving people free products in hopes of generating positive comments. Companies including NBC, Sony and Microsoft partner with such firms as Ad.ly, paying individual Twitter users to allow commentary about products in their Twitter feeds. The posts are marked as ads in parentheses but look like regular tweets about what one had for lunch. Some Web sites offer cash for reviews. For $2.50 each, ReviewStream.com says, "You could review anything around you including: any products, hi-end technics, companies, hotels, politics, cities, stores on your street, or even your neighbor's pets!""
SOURCE:   Washington Post

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