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Old 07-25-2013, 01:12 PM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Ectaco caught using MobileRead to create fake buzz about Jetbook

We're a bit heavy-hearted to report the news, but recently it was discovered by one of our vigilant members that someone, or several people, employed by, or affiliated with, Ectaco used sock puppets in our forums. Posing as regular consumers, these sock puppets were used to create phony grassroots support for Ectaco products, specifically for the Jetbook device. Not just recently, but for several years.

We pride ourselves on being an open and welcoming community. Everyone is invited to join the discussions, whether in an official capacity or otherwise. Full disclosure is not a requirement, as long as you don't attempt to distort the views in our forums, either by pretending to be a delighted customer of your own brand, or by pretending to be a disgruntled user of a competing product. This would be considered astroturfing, which is designed to counteract real opinions and confuse anyone seeking the truth. Astroturfers will be banned without notice.

Ectaco sock puppets were identified through having identical IP addresses registered to Ectaco, Inc. We tried to reach out to the company directly on the issue, but received no response.

The moral of the story: If you're having trouble energizing a legitimate set of brand evangelists, don't attempt to disguise false engagement by having employees or affiliates pretend to be customers. It will most certainly be found out.

[image: Flickr]
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:21 PM   #2
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Sad to see.
But good to see some policing against shills.

If only the mainstream media had similar watchdogs.
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:25 PM   #3
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Its a shame. I had the original Jetbook, it was a good reader, if a bit less durable than I might have liked. It doesn't appear having shills here did them a whole lot of good since they are not really a player in the ebook reader market anymore.
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:33 PM   #4
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Its a shame. I had the original Jetbook, it was a good reader, if a bit less durable than I might have liked. It doesn't appear having shills here did them a whole lot of good since they are not really a player in the ebook reader market anymore.
So true, I still have my JB lite, and would buy a e-ink reader using the Jetbook FW .

bernie
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:47 PM   #5
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Good to see this. There should be only honest discussions on forums such as this.
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Old 07-25-2013, 02:44 PM   #6
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Now it makes me question the device more than I already did. I've heard some good things about it over the last few years (all here, of course) that made me wonder if I should just pick one up to play with... now, not so much.

Any chance you're willing to tell us the usernames of those who were doing this?

Edit: nevermind... easy enough to find myself.

Last edited by twowheels; 07-25-2013 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 07-25-2013, 02:51 PM   #7
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That's bad. Really evil.

Good you found out. I'm so glad that I have Kobo. Kobo would never do anything like that.

I won't buy a Jetbook now, even if it's the only Ebook in the world. I'll say: Nooo, I don't want you, go away, Jetbook!

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Old 07-25-2013, 03:12 PM   #8
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I find it a little bit sad that the moderators had to act like they had to act. Yes, they made a big and perhaps unforgivable mistake but they too have been long time and very active members here who definitely made this forum more lively. I "know" Kris777 mostly from his announcements in the News forum and from them it was clear that he has at least a tight connection to Ectaco.
Maybe only the active posters in the Ectaco subforum can tell if they feel cheated or if they knew how to take the posts by Kris and LuBiB.
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Old 07-25-2013, 03:29 PM   #9
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I think I'm a little more taken aback by MR apparently investigating posters to find this connection. I have a JBL and have said good things about it; did someone go delving into my background too?
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Old 07-25-2013, 03:42 PM   #10
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I think I'm a little more taken aback by MR apparently investigating posters to find this connection. I have a JBL and have said good things about it; did someone go delving into my background too?
Probably not.

To me, the timeline is this:
1) A few specific users were reported as being Ectaco employees or having suspiciously close ties to Ectaco. This was reported in another thread here in MR.
2) Those users were investigated by mods.

I can't imagine this was some kind of widespread investigation - the original report was done by another forum user, and the astroturfers were here for a long time, so obviously MR mods aren't making a general habit of stalking users.

EDIT: Here is the thread that started the investigation (as far as I know): https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=217715
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Old 07-25-2013, 03:44 PM   #11
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If Jetbooks are really good, then why do Jotbook employees do such things? There is no logic behind that. If they are good, employees should stay out of internet forums. Lucky customers will tell, everything is fine then.

If they are bad then you need to send spammers.

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Old 07-25-2013, 04:07 PM   #12
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If Jetbooks are really good, then why do Jotbook employees do such things? There is no logic behind that. If they are good, employees should stay out of internet forums. Lucky customers will tell, everything is fine then.
I'm not defending Etacto employees for what they did, but you can't make the assumption that a good product means that you'll have good sales. Likewise, you can't make the assumption that deceptive marking practices means that the product is poor. Companies like Amazon and Kobo have a dominant position in the market because they had easier access to the market, rather than because of the quality of their product.

Like I said: I'm not defending Etacto for astroturfing and I'm not going to claim that they sell good products (because I've never used them). But there is a certain logic behind what they did, even if it is deceptive. They were simply trying to create some positive buzz in order to sell a product that doesn't have much visibility in the market.

Incidentally, Kobo staff do come to these forums. As far as I know, they're all open about their association with Kobo. Yet they do use this place to announce new products, firmware, etc..
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:19 PM   #13
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Yes, it has not been necessary at all. Onyx and Pocketbook representatives are active here too, but they do it openly, without any disguise, everybody knows who they are.
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:34 PM   #14
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Probably not.

To me, the timeline is this:
1) A few specific users were reported as being Ectaco employees or having suspiciously close ties to Ectaco. This was reported in another thread here in MR.
2) Those users were investigated by mods.

I can't imagine this was some kind of widespread investigation - the original report was done by another forum user, and the astroturfers were here for a long time, so obviously MR mods aren't making a general habit of stalking users.

EDIT: Here is the thread that started the investigation (as far as I know): https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=217715
That's pretty much what happened, yes.
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:40 PM   #15
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I think I'm a little more taken aback by MR apparently investigating posters to find this connection. I have a JBL and have said good things about it; did someone go delving into my background too?
All forums I have been on sometimes investigate some users sometimes. This is especially the case in banned and suspended members who frequently T-word the forum or specific users. They will check IPs and such, but if you're considerate of others, up-front with your affiliations and honest in your dealings it is doubtful any forum would ever investigate you.
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