Hmmm, I may be totally wrong here, so if I am I apologize, and delete this. But is seems like I've noticed a certain type of posts coming from someone that seem to be sly attempts at certain plugs. I'd never thought anything of it until I read something the other day (on a Starbucks thread) about actual people who are paid to "talk about"/advertise a company or restaurant. Is this all okay, or should we direct these to the CH Team if we notice them? Thanks, and if I'm off-base, sorry.
Guarding against shills is our highest priority--but we can't spot them all. If you have any reason to suspect a post or series of posts is less than honest, please do bring them our attention. You can use the 'report' button on the bottom of each post, or you can email links to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yours is a terrific question. I didn't see the thread you're referring to but I've worked with some grassroots internet marketing companies and what they are doing is fascinating. Chances are if they are participating in CH, we won't notice. Most of what they do is monitor this and other boards in all kinds of fields for public attitudes, positive and negative, about their clients' establishments, products and services. From that information they can make recommendations on fine-tuning PR and advertising campaigns, product design, image modification and other things.
They get information in real time. Honest reaction because we say unfiltered (except by the moderators) exactly what we think. It's pretty well established that people lie to poll takers and it's hard to design polls to get certain answers. We can only respond to what they think to ask. Polls also take time to design, administer and correlate. CH is instantaneous. What we ate for breakfast.
If the grassroots marketing types enter the discussion, they use anonymous email addresses and might make comments designed to stimulate discussion rather than plug something because what they are seeking is public opinion. They might even make a provocative comment to start a spirited defense of a product to get a buzz going.
I think the kind of plugs you are referring to where someone is hyping his own or a buddy's restaurant are pretty easy to spot. Read my blog among the millions of blogs out there. I have something to sell you. Report those or ignore them as you chose.
The grassroots internet marketing industry is an exploding field and they're learning from everything we write. I suppose they're trying to make us happy. Who knows? But they are watching like Big Brother.