back to article Samsung swallows $340k fine for renting trolls to TRASH-TALK HTC phones

Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission has fined Samsung 10m New Taiwan Dollars ($340,510) after the South Korean giant hired an army of commentards to diss the handsets of rival HTC and praise its own smartphones. The trade commission started its investigation into Samsung in April after a website called began …


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  1. Busby

    Naughty Samsung sure that fine is really going to sting and dent their profits.

    Come on by now who still takes forum posts or online reviews at face value? By no means minimising what Samsung did but anyone really think they are the only company up to this sort of shenanigans. Crap like this is what's made trip advisor and the likes useless.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Say the same message enough times

      and it will stick in the minds of the punters whether it's true or not.

      seems to work for analysts when they ramp/bash <insert your favourite company here>

    2. LarsG

      Wink Wink

      The fine is really a tap on the wrist followed by a wink and a smile....

      Samsung just pay more in bribes than HTC can afford.

      1. ian 22

        Re: Wink Wink

        Nudge nudge. She's a goer isn't she?

        That fine will reduce Samsung profits for about.... perhaps 10 seconds.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It really does explain the rampant foaming at the mouth Samsung fanboys who post on everything.

    If you can't compete fairly then you have no reputation or brand.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Reminds me a bit of the xbox fanboys. Whenever I've seen a 'foaming at mouth' fanboy in console land it's always been xbox. I'm sure PS fanboys exist of the same calibur but I've never seen them.

      And likewise to the Apple fanboys in every sector who know that everything else is shit and apple is amazing and totally worth around $1000 for a phone with specs from 2012 and a 64bit processor which, at this time, is useless.

      Except the xbox and apple fanboys are normally actual fanboys. Samsungs were just fanboys for hire. I imagine they thought they could get away with it because that fair trade legislation doesn't specifically mention online markets.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    oh good grief

    "rampant foaming at the mouth" - that Apple TOTALLY owns.

    Down with this sort of thing!

  4. Roger Stenning

    Careful -

    - the fruity company'll have you for trademark infringement over the frothing gobs!

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Careful -

      I thought we were safe as long as don't mention anything about curvilinear intersections.

      1. VinceH

        Re: Careful -

        Or if it's on a mobile device.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shame on them

    I like Samsung products usually. And I like that they use the Android platform quite well. But honestly, I think it is outrageous to bad mouth other companies like this. If you cannot win market share by making superior products than it is better to spend more money and time on R&D, not "online marketing" like they mentioned.


  6. Arachnoid

    Hmm didnt I read the other day...........

    That a certain well known company recycling old parts into its latest tablet and appears in all tense and purposes to be only upgrading the processor yet selling it as the next big thing despite the device having a near unreplaceable battery.

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Hmm didnt I read the other day...........

      Really, who then? Genuinely interested...

  7. ecofeco Silver badge


    What a surprise.

  8. Oh Homer

    "online marketing activities"?

    That's an odd way to characterise hiring shills to deceive consumers.

    These were "online marketing activities" in the same way that stabbing someone in the chest is a "knife testing activity".

    And no, for the record I'm neither an iCultist nor a Vole "evangelist", in fact it's exactly because I criticise both Apple and Microsoft for this sort of "marketing activity" that I'm so disappointed in Samsung.

  9. dan1980

    Inevitable so long as it's so low risk

    There is a commenter above questioning how effective this would really be.

    Perhaps not overly effective but such services are actually pretty damned cheap. Mostly they're farmed out to uni students. The fact is that given how cheap the service is, the potential benefits make it worth it. Even more so if the risk of being discovered is so paltry.

    It might be a low-percentage play but it has a chance to pay off big if media outlets start reporting on the apparent customer dissatisfaction. So many 'normal' media outlets scrape news items from blogs and social media so all it takes is a few such sites to run some stories about people being disappointed with the handset and it goes from there. It's happened before.

    This is a perfect situation to apply punative damages. Such rulings are there to offer a real deterrent so that the companies can't just consider these fines a business cost, which is what happened.

    These unethical business practices work because the potential benefits far outweigh the potential penalties so there's not possibility of a $340,000 fine deterring Samsung or others in the future.

  10. Shagbag


    I'd expect HTC is doing the same thing.

  11. Donald Becker

    I expect many companies do the same thing. But that's no reason to accept it.

    If you accept "everybody litters" and do nothing, soon everyone does litter and we end up in a trash filled world.

    Compounding this is the press release that says "We are disappointed that...". I initially read it as the usual "..[we got caught]" but it was actually "..that we'll have to pay a fine".

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