Curious about this whole Universal "Fake Fan/Message Board" controversy?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Scott Weinberg, Aug 15, 2002.

  1. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    You may have seen some news about this new mini-scandal via RottenTomatoes.com:
    Various movie studios (mostly Universal, it seems) have had employees visit popular movie sites and pose as 'fans' offering enthusiastic comments. This practice has LONG been a thorn in the side of www.HollywoodBitchslap.com, where I am a senior editor. Two or three times a month, these comments pop up from someone calling themselves "Film Freak" or "CineFan" and the IP adresses always lead back to a particular movie studio.
    The IMDb ran a news piece today in which HBS' Head Honcho (my buddy Oz) was quoted extensively, and I was thrilled to see that this despicable practice was finally being brought to light. ( http://us.imdb.com/StudioBrief/#2 )
    The full skinny is available through these two articles:
    http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/hbs.cgi?feature=598
    http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/hbs.cgi?feature=608
    I'm currently working on a much larger article on this devious practice, so I'd love to know if anyone else has dealt with (or seen) these types of false advertising littered about the Internet.
    If it's wrong to fabricate an entirely non-existent movie critic...
    If it's wrong to have studio employees pose as exiting moviegoers for the sake of a TV promo...
    Then I certainly think it's wrong to pretend to be a fan and praise a movie - when the author of said post is actually a paid employee of the film's production company.
    I'm not trying to be controversial or vindictive, but this is an issue that I think is important.
    Thoughts, feedback, reactions, etc., are all extremely welcome.
     
  2. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    I received one of those bogus emails about BLUE CRUSH, starting out with the text saying it sucks going back to school soon (which made me laugh as I graduated so long ago I can't even remember what it felt like going back to school) but at least its cool seeing something like BLUE CRUSH first! Uh-huh. I had read on other message boards of people getting this email and then I got it later that day. I would have been upset over this lame attempt to get people to see this movie if it wasn't so pathetic!
     
  3. Duane Robinson

    Duane Robinson Second Unit

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    Isn't that called viral marketing or something like that.
     
  4. MichaelPe

    MichaelPe Screenwriter

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    So, which studio do you work for Scott? [​IMG]
     
  5. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor
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    Hey Edwin and Seth...does this report remind you guys of anything?[​IMG]
    I absolutely believe this happens, even perhaps here at the HTF.
    And I agree that it is a despicable practice that insults the intelligence of the true fans of a film.
    Shame on anyone that does this.[​IMG]
     
  6. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    I've seen this happen with several products and/or websites, not just films. What baffles me is that some suits out there actually think that these obviously fake "reviews" work, and that there's people getting paid to troll message boards leaving painfully transparent fake posts.

    Then again, perhaps they just make interns handle the "job."
     
  7. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Aha! [​IMG] Now it makes sense. Now I understand why people here sometimes claim there's a film better than the Apartment. They're studio-paid trolls posing as HTF members trying to prop up other studio's product. I'm onto you Rob Tomlin. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Seriously, this is just typical corporate greed/stupidity. Pathetic and unethical, but not at all surprising.
     
  8. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    You mean this isn't acceptable under the umbrella of "marketing"? [​IMG]
     
  9. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

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  10. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    The Apartment? One of the lousiest movies of all time, with an all-time poor performance from Jack Lemmon together with the loathsome Shirley Maclaine, with whom he has zero chemistry? The movie that purports to be a comedy but is completely lacking in humor or wit of any kind? Second only to Irma la Douce in painful awfulness? [​IMG]
    This post has been brought to you by Universal Studios. While in Orlando, be sure to visit Universal Studios Theme Park!
    [​IMG]
     
  11. David Rogers

    David Rogers Supporting Actor

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    Pretending to not be a marketing/publicity person when you are is flat unethical, wrong, and should be treated extremely seriously. In the society of ideas that is the Internet, lying and misrepresentation is worse than murder. Of course, the studios shrug and talk about how much money they can make by doing these things, and basically could give two $h!t$ about us and our opinion. They only care about our money. Which they want. Now.

    Othermay Ucker*ays!
     
  12. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

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  13. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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  14. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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  15. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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  16. ollie_k

    ollie_k Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi, Im going back to school soon, dude. No way school sucks! Blue Crush is DA BOMB!
    Oh wait, sorry wrong thread [​IMG]
     
  17. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

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  18. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    Terrell? Not even close.

    ~Edwin
     
  19. Matthew Chmiel

    Matthew Chmiel Cinematographer

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  20. David Forbes

    David Forbes Supporting Actor

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    I'd be outraged by all this, but I'm too busy anticipating the next big feel-good/action/comedy/romatic/beach hit of the summer, Blue Crush! [​IMG]
     

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