It seems HTC’s Elevate community is under more scrutiny for questionable ethics. The company reportedly sent out notices to Elevate members alerting them that a lot of misinformation and otherwise “hate” is being spread about the HTC U11, and that they wanted community members to help combat that kind of talk.
While that seems like a harmless request in and of itself, HTC had a toe dipped in hot water due to Elevate’s pre-existing “swag” component which periodically hooks Elevate members up with goodies for their loyalty and certain “actions.” If that action is getting people to say good things about your phone on social media and the like, then it’s a tactic that would be known as astroturfing, something not all that uncommon for technology companies (and is borderline illegal by some trade standards).
But HTC in a statement stresses that they’re not providing incentives specifically for their members to go out and make nice comments. While Elevate members would still be rewarded periodically as they always have, they aren’t promising anything for this particular social activity.
In fact, they seemingly removed the promise of any swag for this particular “task” from their original listing, and reiterated that Elevate members are encouraged to be truly honest about the phone and how they feel about it as they discuss it on message boards and communities throughout the web.
It sounds like HTC simply wants people to be more fair about the HTC U11. They’d be naive to think they can keep random online strangers from saying whatever they want about it, of course, so all they can do is ask their community members to provide some sort of balance. They’d just better be careful not to tiptoe over that critical line on the astroturf.