Samsung Issued $340,000 Fine For Fake Online Comments Against HTC

You’d have thought, given that Samsung has recently garnered negative press for its benchmark faking tactics, that the Korean giant would be keeping its nose clean, but after an investigation by Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC), the company has to pay a fine of hundreds of thousands of dollars for negative comments made about competitors. As with the benchmark scandal, the issue dates back some time, and with Samsung having also been caught out paying for positive reviews, the investigation will now see Samsung pay the penalty.

Of course, the money itself is virtually nothing to Samsung, which spends hundreds of millions on marketing alone. But the embarrassment will surely be felt, and with various Galaxy devices showing inexplicably high readings using certain benchmark apps, it’s beginning to look as though Samsung will do anything for a bit of positive PR.

Tweaking the actions of an already-powerful device to bump up a benchmark reading – although dishonest – is not the end of the world, but slandering rivals by paying individuals to “highlight the shortcomings of competing products,” is quite something else. Although HTC is not explicitly mentioned in the investigation, the Taiwanese company was in fact the target of Samsung’s smear campaign, and with Samsung also paying for reviews to reflect its own range of products in a positive light, it’s not exactly the kind of behavior anybody would deem to be honest.

That said, it would be quite unfair to mark Samsung out as the only company engaging in such tactics. After all, we know for a fact that Samsung isn’t the only big name in tech to be fiddling the books ready for benchmark, and it would be rather naive to suggest that no company has ever paid for a positive review in the past.

Still, marketing and PR is a big part of Samsung’s business, and with this fine doing little to help the cause, one hopes that Samsung’s practices from now on will be a little more open and transparent than these continually publicized issues seem to suggest.

What do you think – are they all doing it? Or should Samsung be made an example of? Do share your comments below!

(Source: FTC Taiwan [Google Translate])

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