Spotting planted product plugs on discussion forums

health reference and research tools
My last online research project on an alternative health product reminded me that even in the best-run, most closely moderated discussion group, you can find promo copy disguised as user experience. In this case, the manufacturer has been in business for 40 years, has very little competition, and is pretty much the expert on the subject. Why they felt the need to resort to these "fake-dotal" tactics, I don't know. Maybe I'm so paranoid about the subject that I just misinterpreted an enthusiastic supporter with poor social skills. I ended up buying one of their products anyway, since there were bona fide reviews on enough different sites to convince me it was worth trying. Many forums now forbid links and product names in posts, but marketing hacks still get around…
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