Samsung paid students to trash talk HTC online

The world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer and the biggest Android device maker by far is under some heavy fire this week after new outrageous allegations have been brought up by Taiwanese officials. Those officials are investigating Samsung after receiving complaints that the company hired students to go online and tarnish HTC’s reputation by posting unfavorable reviews and comments and exalting Samsung devices at the same time.

It’s a bit hard to believe a company of Samsung’s stature would go to such lengths, but the Samsung Taiwan Facebook page actually came out and owned up to it, issuing an apology and admitting that this shouldn’t have happened. As such, the company assured everyone that it would cease this type of marketing immediately. The news came out as TaiwanSamsungLeaks obtained documents that proved the company partook in such acts.

This prompted the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission to launch an investigation which could lead to a penalty of up to $835,000 for Samsung. This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve heard of Samsung taking special interest in trying to beat HTC.

Earlier reports this week suggested Samsung would be building the Galaxy Note 3 with more premium materials and quality in order to keep up with the remarkable design achieved in the HTC One. That’s a noble route to take to compete, we’d say. Tarnishing the company’s name by paying students to make anonymous posts online, however, definitely isn’t, and Samsung knows that.

[via BBC]

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  • Lee McLaurin

    Somebody had to “find this out”? Don’t many companies do this anyway whether they admit it or not? I can’t believe that many Apple fanboys exist without at least A FEW of them being paid.

    • Jdog25

      When WP7 came out I couldn’t believe that anybody was a fanboy for that OS and I was probably right, they had to have been paid.

    • DroidDoesnt_2

      Lol! An article about HTC and Samsung, yet you somehow find a way to bring up Apple….priceless

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lee-McLaurin/100000631016745 Lee McLaurin

        Says the douche with the name DroidDoesnt.
        #howmuchisApplepayingU

        • IHATEHIPSTERSSS

          All you fandroids talk about is Apple. Sad really.

          • https://plus.google.com/u/0/107214144202094295079/posts James

            It really is pathetic how shitty this community has become. It went from a place to share excitement about new Android products to a massive circlejerk. If you want actual news and discussion, I would visit Android Police.

  • http://twitter.com/PhaseBurn PhaseBurn

    This is one of the most common practices in the marketing world. When did Phandroid become Fark? #notnews

    • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

      The news is from the fact that they were caught, and subsequently owned up to it. And just the fact that it’s someone as big as Samsung who has no problem carrying out successful traditional campaigns. Yea, I’m sure tons of companies do it, but that doesn’t mean it’s #notnews.

      • Manbo

        No one gonna say it?
        Ok I will. :)

  • simpleas

    I wouldn’t say “samsung” did it. It’s some shady ass chinese branch… they should all get fired.

    • bluebee

      Actually, the Marketing company is South Korean Company with a Taiwan Branch that being investigated. They use they as possible deniability, blame that marketing company if they got caught.

      • bluebee

        I would to say given the history, Samsung would have to approve the tactic and if they get caught like this time, they’re blaming the marketing company which is headquarter in South Korean.

  • supremekizzle

    C’mon Samsung, this is a whole new low. If you want to take HTC’s customers, build a better phone than them! Don’t resort to sleezy smear campaigns.

    • Tommy Thompson

      Because HTC didn’t smear Samsung on twitter at all lately right…

      • niuguy

        I’m not sure that is an Apple to Apple comparison, Tommy.

        • Tommy Thompson

          A smear is a smear.

          • niuguy

            Paying students to pretend to be regular people is drastically different than official representatives talking crap. Totally different ethics here.

          • http://evildevnull.com/thinktank/index.php?action=collapse;c=14;sa=collapse;d227fb2388ec=9e8bb86861f0686e54bcbaae99929bbd#c14 George Leon

            But they do pay, in a “sense”, with giveaways for the most active & vocal Elevate members.

      • supremekizzle

        I’m not saying that it was justifiable for HTC to do it either. If this was a story about HTC doing this to Samsung I would have said the same thing.

        • http://www.facebook.com/digitaldarkness Luke Hutchinson

          HTC did it themselves and in no worse way than brand in any industry would do in a tv comercial… if they paid a ton of people to smear samsung then you bet your ass that samsung would have them in a lawsuit right now after word officially came out about it. Samsung has been reverting to Apples tactics since those 2 started thier war and now that is spilling over to other competitors as well… dirty marketing usually follows inferior products. HTC used to be the top dog to beat in smartphones in terms of quality and capabilities, and now that they might regain that roll, Samsung is just acting like a spoiled brat that can’t stand being dethroned… I never liked their android phones anyway… they last had remarkable quality before the android flood came. My Instinct (the original, not the plastic redesign) was exemplary for its time as was the HD Touch, but HTC killed it in quality phone designs with the Hero, Evo, and even the Evo3D (my current phone of 1.5 years) before going downhill… the thunderbolt was an epic fail and all others are sub standard, but the ONE will be a new contender to place against the galaxy series and it will be a close call, so I can see why Samsung would act childish.

      • Ryan Chia

        I think the difference there was that the Twitter account said “HTC” and not “paid random college student”, though.

        • Sean Royce

          That makes it worse coming straight from the official page.

  • DavidVarghese

    Although I dislike companies who do stuff like this, to be fair, many companies that I love do this on a regular basis…
    But for Samsung to do this towards HTC says something about Samsung’s position on HTC, that they may prove to be a viable competitor in the Android market share, and seeing the new HTC One, I’m not surprised.

    • simpleas

      dude.. htc is not even on the same page as samsung. in fact they’re probably going out of business this year.

      • DavidVarghese

        Seriously doubt they will, especially with their new HTC One… It’s proven to be a top player versus Apple and Samsung.
        If HTC isn’t on the same page, or not a threat to Samsung, why would Samsung pay off people to write B.S. about HTC? Shows a little something about the products of HTC vs. Samsung, don’t you think?

        • http://twitter.com/mjwhirly Matthew Woehrle

          If you think HTC or any other company in the world doesn’t do the same exact thing then you need to wake up to the world around you since most companies more than likely use the same tactics, its all about not getting caught like samsung did. HTC One is said to be a top player, just like the one x was last year until people actually got a hold of the devices and realized once again why they stay away from HTC. Build quality of HTC blows samsung out of the water and most other manufactures, but when it comes to performance, battery and actually good features they’re in last place, that is why their company post such crappy financial earnings every quarter.

          • DavidVarghese

            I never said HTC hasn’t done the same tactic… I find that HTC offers fantastic features that aren’t gimmicky with Sense 5, and I can’t speak about the HTC One, but my Evo LTE lasts a good 10 hours of battery life on medium use. Not enough power? The speed is great, and it even out performs the S4 in a recent benchmark I saw.

          • anops

            wow wow watch out!, you are trash talking the S4 and the holy samsung samsheeps will attack you like angry goats!

          • http://twitter.com/mjwhirly Matthew Woehrle

            if there is samsheeps, there must be htcsheep as well, right?

            Everyone has their own preference of phone, learn to respect that. I don’t hate people with HTC devices, i just feel bad for them :-(

          • http://twitter.com/mjwhirly Matthew Woehrle

            Just realize that benchmarks mean nothing in real-life performance, i can make my old captivate blow many phones out of the water just by modifying certain files; as well as the fact that they are tailored towards snapdragon processor and will always give them a higher score. 10 hours is sub-par but i will give it the benefit of doubt since it is older…a good battery life would be like my note that last 2-3 days with 9+ hours of screen time

          • http://www.facebook.com/digitaldarkness Luke Hutchinson

            My 2yo Evo3D can still run every new high end game that comes out, say that about a 2yo Samsung lol. And by high end, I mean wild blood, modern warfare 4, nova 3, shadowgun deadzone, and the other console quality games… not stuff like cut the rope lol and my small as hell by modern standards 1730ma/h battery still keeps me going all day, even with the stereoscopic 3d screen playing movies and games in 3d. That just shows how far ahead they were 2 years ago that I still haven’t seen a phone I want to upgrade to which I even consider being worth the upgrade. Oh, and ittook a 5 story drop down an elevator shaft 3 days after I got it and gets chucked at walls alot when I game… still unblemished. Even though its in an otterbox, I wouldn’t try that with ANY Samsung… that is only one-step better than an iPhone in my eyes for durability …

        • Tim242

          The One X was a good phone, but they tanked. This is Samsung paying them back furor crashing their S4 event. HTC is no threat to Samsung.

          • bluebee

            HTC is not hiding the fact, but Samsung is using under handed tactics and using a S. Korean Marketing company as scapegoat. I’m sure the Marketing company is getting paid well for being the scapegoat.

        • http://evildevnull.com/thinktank/index.php?action=collapse;c=14;sa=collapse;d227fb2388ec=9e8bb86861f0686e54bcbaae99929bbd#c14 George Leon

          Did you forget all the reviews & hype about the original One Series, like the One X? It was immensely popular with reviewers & tech bloggers, yet it failed to really go mainstream. It was a nice device, I liked it, but feature-wise, it just not in the Same class as the Note 2.

          Besides, HTC focuses too much on narrow market features, like Beats integration & even then, they do it half-arsed. Sure, they owned half the Beats company at the time, yet Apple’s iOS products had better Beats headset support & was able to utilize all of the headset buttons & features. Go figure. Samsung on the other hand leads with Multi-window, multi-view & the S-Pen, which is awesome for me as an engineer. Better yet is all the interaction between my Samsung appliances & especially my beautiful 9000 series panel.

          Personally, I really like HTC’s build. Always have, from the WinCE & PPC days of the HTC Blue Angel. But I also appreciate SDCards, since most US HTC devices have 16Gb storage max, & swappable batteries. I have three batteries for my Note 2. That means I don’t see a charger for 6 to 10 days. That is great when I am on long business trips.

          Front facing speakers & IR support are Samsung staples on their tablets. It is a good move to adopt that & add it to your phone line, not that HTC even remembers making a tablet, which is the only other point of contention. I purchased two HTC tablets, all of which were quickly abandoned. HTC also is HORRIBLE in the US with updates to firmware. You can blame the carriers, but that hasn’t stopped Apple & even Samsung to a lesser extent is pushing out updates to popular older devices at an amazing rate. With the One, as great as it looks, I am certain that within an update or two, maybe a years time at the most, the only way to get the update will be to buy the incrementally better HTC One+.

      • http://evildevnull.com/thinktank/index.php?action=collapse;c=14;sa=collapse;d227fb2388ec=9e8bb86861f0686e54bcbaae99929bbd#c14 George Leon

        Nah, they won’t go out of business. Relegated to emerging markets, maybe.

  • http://www.planwise.com/ Ryan Paredez

    I know business is business, but be ethical. Win consumers money with awesome fucking products not by paying people to bash others products.

    • barondebxl

      If you knew what apple was doing you would have a heart attack.

      • IHATEHIPSTERSSS

        that’s how amazing their secret products are?

    • http://evildevnull.com/thinktank/index.php?action=collapse;c=14;sa=collapse;d227fb2388ec=9e8bb86861f0686e54bcbaae99929bbd#c14 George Leon

      HTC does the same thing. They coordinated with fanatics online via the HTC Elevate fan site to crash Samsung’s launch event & they encourage people to post pro-HTC/anti-Samsung crap. They entice people to do so with giveaways & by promoting the most active users. I am an HTC Elevate member, that never participates, because if you have a differing view, out come the wackos insisting you drink the poisoned purple Kool-Aide, convinced that HTC style suicide is the true path to an afterlife in the beautiful fluffy white clouds with Peter Chou.

  • BigCiX

    Wow!!!

  • http://twitter.com/KnowScott Scott Stafford

    Samsung, I’ve been trolling kids on the internet for a long time. You know where to find me.

    • AmericanPatriot4

      ^ best post in this article by far…

    • http://www.facebook.com/digitaldarkness Luke Hutchinson

      Let me in on that pay day! Haha

  • AMbro86

    “It’s a bit hard to believe a company of Samsung’s stature would go to such lengths”

    Clearly you’ve neve been to Singapore! (said Jack Sparrow)

    Actually Samsung IS well known for these kinds of tactics back home in Korea. They are a ruthless company that plays dirty. We don’t get that much of the story over here in the US because we just know Samsung as those guys that make the phones and TVs we know and love. But when we start to actually see this stuff in the US we’re shocked. But frankly this is the Samsung legacy. I used to overlook their faults because I thought they were doing some good with their phones and Android, but at this point I almost can’t even stand them anymore, especially as stuff like this keeps coming out about their business practices.

    • http://evildevnull.com/thinktank/index.php?action=collapse;c=14;sa=collapse;d227fb2388ec=9e8bb86861f0686e54bcbaae99929bbd#c14 George Leon

      Why should the U.S. be shocked? Because only our CEO’s are allowed to steal, be ruthless, crash markets & ruin economies & then be bailed out with 100 million dollar bonuses, paid for by tax funded bailout subsidies?

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

    Was this just overseas or on english sites too?

  • Jdog25

    Why would you say it was fake???

  • No_Nickname90

    Looks like Samsung is afraid of HTC and sees that they can actually make a comeback.

    • Tim242

      It’s called payback.

  • NIGHTSCOUT

    I’m shocked Samsung actually had to do this, HTC phones are barely selling anyway

  • irishrally

    Not cool …

  • Maximillion82

    Well the Samsung plastic phones I had only lasted a few months, but my HTC build Nexus One is still working like a charm and still looks like new other than the trackball is now black from my fingers touching it.
    But this is sadly common marketing practice, most companies would deny this at least Samsung admitted to this.

  • http://twitter.com/FTxW jonathan diaz

    doesnt surprise me..every company does it..but just like someone said, its about not getting caught..and I dont think samsung looks as HTC as a threat. HTC is the closest compared to any other phone manufacterer here in the U.S, but its about market share and samsung is just trying to take advantage and stay king of the game here. now about HTC going out of business? well i doubt it but they dont have what it takes anyway to dethrown samsung..second place aint bad anyway :) On that note(no pun intended) im looking for the LG optimus g pro to give samsung the run for their money…little competition never hurt anyway..unless your apple :)

  • bos

    Remember when the judge in the Google vs. Oracle trial demanded records on paid bloggers and social media “advocates” hired by each company? And they both replied that there were too many to keep track of?

    This is business as usual, and it really sucks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ChristopherMcKeever Chris McKeever

    If anything it should be Samsung and HTC vs. Apple.

  • rampage1

    Samsung must be seriously worried to even bother going to this length to bash HTC, I like competition but that is a punk move by Samsung . I hope the HTC sells well it will only bring out more innovation from Samsung and other vendors. If Samsung is worried about HTC when they are outselling them imagine what they would come out with if it were neck and neck?

    • Tim242

      Samsung was paying them back for crashing their S4 event.

  • real0325

    I say thumbs up for Sammy, especially after that stunt( h.t.p) pulled outside of the galaxy s4 event.

  • Robert Manser

    Their scared of the One series!! They should be, HTC came back really quick.

  • ineversl33p

    That’s pretty shadey

  • Martin Hansen

    It suck it

  • Caloy

    I bet every manufacturer paid someone whether they are students or marketing firms to do dirty smear campaigns against the competition. Who knows? This news can be a clever if not deceitful smear campaign against Samsung by HTC. Nowadays every one needs to play dirty to survive.

    I really liked HTC when they came out with the original HTC Evo 4G. And the new HTC One is indeed beautiful. They have addressed my wants, however they have not addressed my needs, such as a long battery life and user replaceable batteries, I had no choice but to switch to Samsung, not because of any smear campaign, but because the Note 2 has addressed my needs.

    In the end it will be the phone’s features that is more important to the individual that will dictate whether you will choose one model/brand over the other.