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If your company pays for fake word of mouth, we can catch you

Battling Paid PostersPaying for fake reviews and disguised blog post advertorials is wrong. It’s lying to people, plain and simple.

If your company does it, you’re evil, untrustworthy, and stupid. Why risk your brand reputation and FTC prosecution for a back-alley marketing stunt?

Good news: Researchers from the University of Victoria have designed and validated a detection method to catch these sleazebags. Congratulations to Cheng Chen, Kui Wu, Venkatesh Srinivasan, and Xudong Zhang for their great work.

Here’s the summary:

On the Internet, the paid posters represent a new type of online job opportunity. They get paid for posting comments and new threads or articles on different online communities and websites for some hidden purposes, e.g., to influence the opinion of other people towards certain social events or business markets. Though an interesting strategy in business marketing, paid posters may create a significant negative effect on the online communities, since the information from paid posters is usually not trustworthy. When two competitive companies hire paid posters to post fake news or negative comments about each other, normal online users may feel overwhelmed and find it difficult to put any trust in the information they acquire from the Internet. In this paper, we thoroughly investigate the behavioral pattern of online paid posters based on real-world trace data. We design and validate a new detection mechanism, using both non-semantic analysis and semantic analysis, to identify potential online paid posters. Our test results with real-world datasets show a very promising performance.

Read the original research here.

More information from PC Magazine.

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