Business Insider reports that representatives of Microsoft are trolling through Reddit in search of comments about the upcoming Xbox One console. They are reportedly voting up positive comments and voting down the negative ones, and adding pro-Xbox One comments of their own.
News of Microsoft artificially inflating hype over the Xbox One stems from a Reddit user named "Misty Silver". This individual claims he/she works for a marketing firm in Redmond that has a contract with Microsoft. The individual didn’t specify what division the firm works with (many Microsoft divisions are handled by several PR firms ugh), but did confirm his/her PR firm does not work with the Xbox team.
However while at Microsoft for a meeting, Misty Silver overheard talk and saw several Microsoft employees lurking on Reddit. On one employee screen in particular, the Microsoft worker "was mass-down-voting a ton of posts and comments, and he kept switching to other tabs to make posts and comments of his own."
"I couldn't make out exactly what he was posting, but I presumed he was doing RM (reputation management) and asked my boss about it later," Misty Silver added. "According to my boss, MS have[sic] just brought in a huge sweep of SMM managers to handle reputation management for the Xbox One."
Social media marketers who pose as "happy customers" on social media sites are labeled as reputation managers. Their job is to up-vote, down-vote and make positive comments. According to Misty Silver, Reddit has become a prime target of reputation management as of late. However Reddit clearly states that this type of behavior – to pretend to be someone else or to create mass down-vote or up-vote campaigns – is strictly against the rules, and can even get entire companies banned in extreme cases.
Business Insider reports that some Reddit users are taking notice to the inflated and deflated votes. It seems that one Reddit account was even created the day after Microsoft revealed the Xbox One console, and began posting Microsoft-positive links and comments using a Nokia Lumia 900 phone. "Check this douchebag's post history. He is a Microsoft rep. Every single one of his posts is to defend MS," one Reddit user said.
Currently Microsoft has not responded to the accusations.