Major camera manufacturer using Internet trolls to promote their own products

I received some pretty convincing information that at least one big camera manufacturer is using Internet trolls to promote their own products online on several Chinese photography forums and websites (unfortunately I cannot publish the entire email in order to protect my source):

There is currently a major campaign from *** going on in a public Chinese forums. It's done by a *** PR company using Internet trolls to post messages to promote *** products. The PR company has been known to use trolls for its clients for some time.

For now I prefer not to mention the company name, let's just say it's one of the top 3. This may explain some of the comments you see online on photography related websites (including this blog and NikonRumors).

Image credit: Babbletrish (flickr)

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  • Bonetti

    It is Sony, canon or Nikon

    • http://photorumors.com PR admin

      yes, it’s one of the 3 and since I did not publish this on NikonRumors…

      • tino

        The “Chinese photography forum” is xitek since the other forums don’t matter.

        I hang out in there alot I would say its most likely Nikon since I have been reading some baseless posts of Nikon 1 cameras outselling other mirrorless systems and whatever.

        It’s definitely Nikon or Sony.

        • Global

          They are probably borrowed from APPLE during moon-lighting work hours.

        • Troll Hunter

          He did not post in Nikon Rumors because it’s not Nikon related.

          Stoopid Trolling Monkeys.

    • Bernard

      Canikyson is the best company. Their products are the best. You must buy Canikyson. You must buy Canikyson. You must buy Canikyson. You must buy Canikyson. You must buy Canikyson.

      LOL

  • lessirey

    ” I did not publish this on NikonRumors ”

    :)

    • Steve

      So it must be Nikon. If it was Sony or Canon, he could put it on NR and say one of the others….but he has to put it here so it isn’t directly connected to Nikon.

      Nikon are gagging to flog the Jturd and Vturd far more than any other co at the mo, so this makes perfect sense.

      • http://twitter.com/#!/ZDP189 ZDP-189

        Jturd and Vturd. LOL. I think you have coined good nicknames.

        LOL Nikon’s trolls have got nothing on us!

  • http://byazrov.com vlad

    if it’s Nikon, it doesn’t matter because nobody is buying it anyway any more.
    If it’s Sony, it doesn’t matter because their Nex system is absolutely amazing.
    Canon wouldn’t do it as Canon is ultimate number one among all.

    • Nau

      Canon it is then…. its even trolling here now

  • http://www.marksperryphoto.com Mak

    I can’t imagine it’s Nikon because they basically suck asshole at marketing their products.

  • Warpig

    lol, great image!!

    • paf

      from what I’ve been told, it’s actual footage..

  • fants

    It’s got to be Sony. I’m on the Samsung forum at DPR a lot, and there are always Sony trolls in there annoying everyone to death.

    • http://ai-artificialimagination.blogspot.com/ Nikko

      There’s also a lot of trolls trying to put down Sony on the DPR forums as well though… maybe more than 1 company are doing this?

      • fants

        I would think MOST of the companies do this, actually…but Sony seems to be the most obvious, if the trolls I know are any indication (and are actual Sony shills). Paid trolls are becoming pretty commonplace in general…just look at any popular forum related to politics!

      • chimphappyhour

        basically, DPR should just change their name to troll central.

  • na

    dc fev er & dc ho me, a lot of post about that 1, a lot of sample photo and the poster keep saying how good that 1 is – but for people who know something about photography know the samples is not really that great!!

  • 67is32

    “the one” is a good lol

  • Dave

    Since the admin didn’t post this on NikonRumors.com, I would think this points towards Canon. If Nikon were behind this, wouldn’t that make it a legitimate Nikon rumor? I doubt Sony is behind this, since Sony along with Nikon were hit hard by the Thailand flooding. The only company that could capitalize from this marketing would be Canon.

    • http://tumbleweed-092.livejournal.com Slow Gin

      HOLYWAR!

    • Tony

      It has happened for sometime, so the flooding doesn’t mean anything.

  • Matt

    Oh for the love of god how stupid do you think people are. How many people are there on a forum? How many people can you convince, on the same forum, into buying one of your cameras? The number is so extremely low that the salary of such persons would not live up to the profit made from the result. Yes, there will be fanboys, yes, there will be people that actually work at the company which will biased to the brand, but paid trolls? Do you even know what a troll is?
    A troll is someone trying to create a flame-war on purpose, or just fucking the place up. How you even see it’s possible that such a thing will lead to sales is ridiculous.
    Next time I really urge you to think before posting downright dumb rumors like this.

    • pooh

      You don’t understand how many people are on the Chinese forums. A thread on Xitek.com could even affect the going price of certain used gears.

    • http://photorumors.com PR admin

      Actually you can convinced many people, not only forum members – many people will do a google search before buying a product. Since 80% of the reviews out there are biased, many potential buyers look for real feedback from people who have the camera.

      • spam

        The problem is that people who have the camera is way more biased than the reviewers since they have to justify having spend hundreds and maybe thousands of $ on a camera (while the reviewers just got it).

        • Calibrator

          Not necessarily so — a buyer could also feel so-called “buyer’s remorse” and bash the product because of his frustration.

          • spam

            That’s true, but I haven’t seen a lot of those. And the problem with user reviews is that it’s really hard to tell which are the reliable ones – and there are some really good userreviews too. With “pro” reviewers you can find the good ones over time.

    • fants

      It’s not just forums, Matt. Go to any comment-enabled article about an American political subject (particularly if it’s been linked on a site like Drudge), read the comments, and you will get the impression that America is made up only of echo-chamber Tea Party types. A paid shill doesn’t have to do much on their own, they only need to get the ball rolling.

      • Baba Ganoush

        Now see, that’s how it’s done: a perfect example of how a troll starts a flame war by posting an insulting political statement that has nothing to do with the discussion thread. Thank you fants for sharing with us.

        • fants

          Nobody bit though! ;)

  • Scotch

    Base on my personal observation I suspect it’s Nikon. I saw many subjective comments favoring Nikon cameras.

    Not to mention the wide spread of material like
    “the guy who turn himself into a NIKON camera ”
    “somebody shots some projects with 30 NIKON D7000″
    “You can be only as good as your equipment, what’s your favourite NIKOR?”

    • bikinchris

      And of course, the hundreds if not thousands of “Canon has video” (or better video) aren’t counted in your reconing?

      In general, i beleive every company does the guerilla marketing thing. I have observed this over the years in every single forum and every type of camera has both detractors and cheerleaders. I believe some of them are only ovezealous fanboys, but others are probably paid shills. Many of them also use multiple accounts to keep a thread on the top of the first page for as long as possible. The only sites that don’t seem to have odd goings on is the sites that require some kind of other credential to join, like Sportsshooters and to a lessser extent, pay sites like Nikonians.
      In other words, believe none of what you read (or hear) and half of what you see is still a good rule to go by.

  • kask

    SONY!!! the trolls always promote A77 although a newbie was asking comparison about D7000 vs 60D only. they promote always based on catalogue spesification :D

  • kees@bennema.nl

    This post is a troll post by itself.

    • Vince

      agree 100%

      I’m a Nikon shooter. I have shot Nikon equipment since getting rid of my first camera – a Fujica STX-1 in about 1984. Because I don’t shoot Canon, I don’t visit Canon forums. Likewise for Sony, Pentax, etc. I say this because in the context of the subject, it is implied that Nikon has “trolls” posting in various forums. That may be so, but with the amount of trolling I see by other people with different brand preferences, I find it difficult to believe that the number of Nikon specif jerk-offs is any higher than any other. On NR alone, the number of turd sack postings is enough to nearly stop me from visiting the site. I’ve all but quite reading the comments due to the incomprehensible stupidity of many of the regulars.

      The mention of “one of the big three…” having trolls plants based on info from a “source” to invite speculation is a very adolescent tactic. In other words, I’d you’ve got something to say – say it. Otherwise stop being a troll yourself.

  • Warpig

    Anyway, whoever is doing the trolling, i’m sure the other 2 will follow. I mean, they can’t be less, right?

  • http://rearrangedphoto.tumblr.com rearranged

    Hey admin, do you plan to tell us who the trolling company is or are you trolling us too, by leaving us uncertain for ever? :)

    • http://photorumors.com PR admin

      I don’t mind telling the company name but the person who sent me this asked me not to publish any names.

      • Sky

        So what’s the point of it?

        We all know that major companies use puppets to create opinions in the internet. It’s nothing new. Some news would be telling us which company does it on which forum. Otherwise this post introduces exactly zero knowledge or interesting facts to anyone.

        • st r

          > So what’s the point of it?

          Rumors!

          Rumors always come in this form. So if you are here, this is what you want to read. If it’s not, probably “nikonnews.com” or “photonews.com” would be more suitable places to go.

          But rumors are amusing because forecasting the future is much harder than forecasting the past.

      • Vince

        Hmm, and yet you still haven’t. Trying to drive up page views? Put up or shut up…

  • http://shashinka-ichiban1.wordpress.com Shashinka

    Doesn’t really make a difference one way or another. One might say, that it is simply a waste of resources for any camera manufacture to troll a message forum, simply for the fact that most message board users are already better informed and more knowledgeable about camera products than the general public at large to begin with.

    It may be more probably to speculate that any such trolls and most likely fan-boys of the company they work for. For instance lets say, you work for Aremac Camera, it might either be fun to push your cameras becasue you simply like your job, or maybe, you are just brown nosing because you know you company monitors your computer at work; who may simply look the other way of their employee playing on the PC cause they are posting positive views of the company, or lastly, as in the case of China, you may be forced to post those reviews or risk being caned then anally violated with said camera by their overlords.

    That’s just assuming we are talking some low level wage earner in a factory, call center or what not. Even in China, I would suspect marketing people have better things to do. Also let’s not forget, that this may be something happening on the local retail level. It could be said, if sales were commission, that, Aremac Camera has a better commission than let’s say, a competitor.

    In the end, it doesn’t really matter as people do not really listen to trolls any way.

    • Steve

      …or read long posts. ;-)

  • Bjrichus

    …and this is a surprise?

    ALL the major corporations are doing this. In fact, any corporation that seriously uses “social media” might be doing this. We have a non-profit in my city that does this kind of thing.

    It is a symptom of 21st century living.

    I just wish I got paid for every post supporting N***n that I make.

    ;-)

    • broxibear

      Hi Bjrichus,
      You’re right, I’m surprised that anyone else is surprised by this.
      I’ve seen it on many blogs/forums…people who are obviously connected with the manufacturer posting counter arguments, being overly complimentary and using the whole thing as a marketing tool.
      It isn’t too difficult to spot because they usually have nothing to add to a conversation except how good something is, and they never post on other subjects.

      • Bjrichus

        Hey Broxibear.

        Been using Google+ quite a bit recently and it’s even more frequent on there. Overt would be a word I’d feel confident to use. That and the number of one and two word comments from people barely able to do more than say “nice” or “good” to a post of a picture. .

        At least on Facebook, you just about expect that kind of thing, but I suppose G+ has been a bit of an elitist paradise until recently.

        Suppose that means I can put “Social Media Expert” on my Resume now? :-)

        • broxibear

          You only have to look at the recent nikonrumors article http://nikonrumors.com/2011/11/12/weekly-nikon-news-flash-136.aspx/ and read all the comments trying to hype or defend the Nikon 1. These posters have never posted before, they’ve nothing to add to the conversation except how good the Nikon 1 is by posting links to favourable reviews from other sites. I notice no one’s posting the roasting the Nikon 1 got from Kai over at Digitalrev, or any other not so complimentary reviews.

          • Bjrichus

            You mentioning Kai makes me wonder what makes him so compelling a view?

            I *HATE* him, he acts like such a … I don’t know, a mix of idiot, geek, and noob all rolled into one, but it is just like that classic train wreck thing, I can’t stop watching!

          • R0sco

            Does anybody take those reviews seriously though? Really; he is no photographer…. Cheers :-)

          • broxibear

            I like Kai’s reviews because they’re real life reviews not charts and 100% crops of corners. Those type of tests have got a place if that’s what you want, but I like the fact that he goes out and uses the equipment and tells you what it’s like to actually use.
            What are the things about the camera/lens that’s really useful, what becomes annoying etc…images of charts and still life don’t give you that.
            Each to their own and all that I guess.

          • chimphappyhour

            I saw that review. Kai reminded me of the helpless people on infommercials. Kind of hard to take that type of person seriously.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/sooperkuh/ außerirdischegesund

    In the German speaking Usenet group we had a poster called “Thomas Sander” who almost certainly was a PR person paid by Panasonic (paid to promote the LX3 then). I do not know if this case involves Panasonic, but this sort of thing seems to be going on for a long time.

  • Mark

    I suspect there is also a major campaign by company sponsored trolls to trash the new Nikon 1 system. The level of hate being spewed is simply irrational. Possibly the same company posting positive things about their own products. Possibly Canon, because they don’t have a mirrorless system. I don’t think it’s them, however. They’re in too strong a position to worry about piddly things like this. Possibly Sony, because they’re hemorrhaging money and desperately need the NEX system to be a success.

    • Scotch

      it should be Pentax, since Nikon 1 has small sensor as well :-)

      • Mark

        Well, Panasonic is at least making money, so I doubt it’s them. Sony, on the other hand, is bleeding red and can’t buy a profit. They’re looking at roughly a $1.2B (billion) loss for the year, after bragging they’d turn an almost $800 M (million) profit. So in effect, they’re probably going to come in roughly $2B below their projections. So I can see them being a bit desperate right now. Desperate enough to engage in shady shenanigans? Who knows.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/ZDP189 ZDP-189

      They don’t have to pay me to trash the One Series. It trashes itself.

      Why do they call it the one series? That’s their end of year sales projection.

  • Duchebag City

    This is standard operating procedure for any corporation or government.

  • AfoAF

    LOL, I normally don’t post but this made my day… Nikon need to release mid-end bodies (D800, D400) just to keep the conversation going in forums instead of hiring trolls to bash others.

    not to direct to Nikon but to all companies….when ever there’s a thread on focus issue, 95% of the respondent slam the user for their fault of not knowing how to focus (half-press the shutter button)….try this on dprview and I’ m sure all the trolls will manifest itself.

  • Just trolling

    I have found it1!!!

    http://www.trollsystems.com/

    • http://photorumors.com PR admin

      he he, I need that for my blogs :)

    • Bjrichus

      I like the little “troll” that is poking it’s nose over the menu bar at the bottom left of each page on that companies web site.

  • CanonTroll283

    CANON IS THE BEST

    CANON IS THE BEST

    CANON IS THE BEST

    NIKON SUCKS

    NIKON SUCKS

    NIKON SUCKS

    BUY A 1D X

    DO NOT BUY ANYTHING MADE BY NIKON

    Sincerely,
    -The folks who don’t use trolls to promote their products ;)

    • http://maniacwcamera.blogspot.com/ Hugo Chikamori

      Troll. :P

  • MB

    As the the honest Nikonrumors blogger sad “That’s it I am switching to Canon”.

    • fants

      There are several people on a Canon forum to which I belong who seriously have been saying “That’s it, I’m switching to Nikon. The D4 is obviously going to be incredibly advanced and much better than the 1DX…so goodbye, Canon.” They repeat this over and over.

  • Joop

    Isn’t ‘perception management’ a common tool of today’s CEO’s, Prime Ministers etc.?

    This post is a non issue if the Admin doesn’t tell who the troll is.

    • http://photorumors.com PR admin

      The person who provided me with that information (and detailed examples) asked me not to mention any names.

      • lynn

        but how do you know all three top3 arent???

  • paf

    Silly wabbits… Why pay? There is plenty of talent at Nikonrumors who would do it for for free!

    (of course present company excluded)

    • I Am Trollkon

      Paf wrote “There is plenty of talent at Nikonrumors who would do it for for free!”

      How can you tell they are doing it for free?

  • dangerzone

    I’m one of those dangerous consumers that will shift loyalty at any given opportunity at the very scent of a better product. If only more people could switch alliances more often – it would surely keep these behemoths on their toes.

    • Calibrator

      And it would increase viral marketing campaigns even more to get you into their camp.

  • http://www.agniusdigital.com Agnius

    In our business image IS worth a thousand words, so that’s what I look for when I test gear. I recommend that to others too.

    And blabber mouths that try to sugarcoat a turd – go $#@% yourself. I hate to be deceived and played.

    Credibility is everything.

    • Calibrator

      How can you be sure that an image is really from what you should think it is?
      The only way is to take the shots/videos yourself.

  • http://kokorolibrary.net Kokoro

    What this has highlighted is that peoples opnions of companies really matter to the companies themselves.

  • Spooky

    I think it its Sony, their credo was always contrary to the one of google. Must be something on the lines of “Be Evil!”. I don’t touch their products since many many years anymore and keep it that way.

  • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

    You mean I can get paid for what I’m already doing? :P

  • drew

    Attention Nikon Overlords:

    Will troll for a D3s.

    • fants

      Hell, so will I, and I’m a Canon guy!

      • http://maniacwcamera.blogspot.com/ Hugo Chikamori

        Join the dark side, fants, we have cookies.

  • edwarry v

    This isn’t something new. Apple is the biggest and worst troll user. You see trolls trolling how amazing the iPhone is even comparing to a dslr . There are so many people so will go out and buy I devices because they’re being told by trolls and bias reviewers.

  • http://photoartbymark.zenfolio.com photoartbymark

    rumor has it it’s olympus

  • Chris P

    That would account for the numerous posts in several unrelated forums on DP review by one poster, who suddenly appeared praising the A77 to the skies and rubbishing everything else, even before it was available.

    • Sky

      could say the same about half of nikon users after D7000 release. The best DSLR in this and any other galaxy. LOL

  • rhlpetrus

    Probably all do it. Do people really follow the brand fanatics/internet mongers when deciding to spend their money? One can smell them from miles away.

  • hiplnsdrftr

    Makes perfect sense. Online forums and blogs are a perfect way to spread PR regardless of the industry or field.

    Any company not taking advantage of online networks is missing an essentially free PR/advertising source.

    As consumers, we need to remember to read anything online with caution and wariness. For years, DPreview was the arbiter of a camera’s worthiness regardless of advertising claims, not sure if it is as reliable as before…

    In any case, as photographers we all have power to recommend or not recommend cameras to our family, friends and acquaintances. Keep this in mind. Have a short list in your mind especially as the holiday season approaches.

  • ATK

    I will not be surprised if they’re trying to promote nikon 1.

  • ArthurNava

    I bought a Nikon because my Dad had a Nikon when I was a kid. I used to remember I loved how the camera looked with that red piece on the grip. That and because of their slogan from back then: “It’s not just a camera, it’s a Nikon.” Hire that marketing agency again and stop the trolling. If you do have that Marketing agency then have them hire their old personell, that was good marketing it sold me on a camera 15 years later.

  • Pathetic Nikon Troll

    You knew?!?!
    CRAP!!!
    Must switch to plan B, and blame it on canon and sony.

    P.S. Nikon is the most innovative company in the world, and they have the best cams in the world, bla…bla…bla…yada yada yada…

    Life aint joy without a Nikon!

  • http://www.davidparsonsphoto.com David

    The term the article is looking for is shill, not troll.

    Shills are paid to promote someone or a product while looking like a member of the general public.

    Trolls post simply to cause problems and make chaos.

  • http://maniacwcamera.blogspot.com/ Hugo Chikamori

    It’s only when it’s a full moon that I end up turning into #nikontroll or if I’ve had too much caffeine.

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