Oh Look, Even More Astroturf

from the rug-burn dept

Verizon’s no stranger to astroturfing, the practice of faking grassroots opinion to further its causes, with a group it supports handing out iPods to people that complain about their cable company, presumably in an effort to support its entrance into the TV business. More attention is being drawn to the company’s efforts now following the receipt by the mayor of a New Jersey town of 200 letters from people saying they wanted more competition in cable television. The volume of letters sparked the mayor’s attention, and he noticed they’d all come from the same fax machine, with half of them listing addresses that don’t actually exist. Some even used the names of people that had never heard of the campaign, let alone sent in letters. Verizon says its records show just 27 letters being sent to the mayor from the web site it set up, and promises a full investigation — while at the same time saying cable executives that are “running scared” are behind the allegations. A Verizon spokesman says “something is wrong somewhere”, but somehow we don’t think he’s talking about the company’s use of astroturfing.


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Comments on “Oh Look, Even More Astroturf”

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5 Comments
Dosquatch says:

Re: Re: What can you do.

While asrtoturfing in general is pretty evil, in this case they are right. Cale companies are right there with the RIAA in bad business practice..

Verizon is an improvement how, again? Not meaning to say that I’m a fan of the cable companies, nor that Verizon is evil – but neither are they more holy than cable.

thecaptain says:

No Subject Given

The volume of letters sparked the mayor’s attention, and he noticed they’d all come from the same fax machine, with half of them listing addresses that don’t actually exist. Some even used the names of people that had never heard of the campaign, let alone sent in letters

What I’d like to know is when will this sort of thing be investigated by police and when will executives ACTUALLY BE CHARGED because of it. Its fraud pure and simple.

nelson says:

what a wasted effort

We’re getting quite a few of these ‘choice’ commercials here in NJ. I’m not sure what Verizon is looking to do, I’m just not paying attention to them. Years ago I looked into setting up my own cable company – receive only, one plan, no set top boxes – take it or leave it, plain and simple. In my research about the licensing required, I discovered that the Supreme Court had already ruled that licensing one cable company was like licensing only one newspaper for a town, and against the law. Even the local power utility HAS to rent you space on the poles for your cables. If Verizon wants to lay cable there is nothing to stop them, unless they don’t want to spend their money…

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