Company bribes its fans to secretly flood websites with praise


What would you say if you knew a company had identified people who post a lot about its product online, tracked them down, invited them on a junket where they were wined and dined, and then sent them back off into the world to say as many nice things as possible?

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines is doing it. According to Consumerist, it found 50 people who posted a lot about Royal Caribbean cruises, recruited them, and now their posts are "carefully monitored" to ensure that they "remain positive and frequent." But even though these posters are shilling for the cruise line, they never identify themselves as doing so.

They're called the Royal Caribbean Champions, and they're just another reason why you can't trust a thing you read in reader forums anymore.