Samsung is accused of paying pretend-fans to participate at the Galaxy S6 launch in China, according to a Chinese website.
Samsung reportedly hired 500 ‘fans’ to attend the launch of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge in China, claimed the Chinese site The Paper. Allegedly all of the people who were paid to take place at the launch were actually iPhone users. At the beginning, Samsung’s headquarters from Beijing was planning to pay only 20 people to come at the event, but that number multiplied.
It appears that a person who was hired to gather the fake fans for the event boasted to the Chinese site that he managed to bring more than 100 people to the launch and that everyone was paid with the equivalent of 2.15 pounds. They were told that for that amount they had to hang at the launching event of the Galaxy S6 for at least an hour.
Another woman declared for the news that she was approached directly by Samsung and was given 5.40 pounds to be present at the event for over 15 minutes.
Other persons in charge of bringing in people for the event claimed to have given money to about 400 people just to come and spend some time at the Galaxy 6 event. If this proves to be true, it means that out of the 1,000 people present at the launch, half of them were fake “customers”.
According to The Paper, the participants were trained to have conversations with every reporter that asks them questions and tell them that they attended the launch because they were curious about Samsung’s new smartphone. They were told to take pictures and to upload them along with their name and phone number on the trending chat platform WeChat and also to hit the like button on the Samsung Galaxy page from the Chinese social platform, Baidu.
What seemed to be out of place was the fact that most of the members of the fake audience came with their iPhones. Reports stated that most of the people paid to be present at the event have been seen taking pictures of the two new Samsung smart phones with their iPhone, which is the direct and most feared competitor of Samsung.
Samsung responded to the accusations trough a blog post and stated that the rumors are ridiculous and have no basis. The company has said that not even a single person from the launch event was given money in exchange for their presence and that all of the 1,100 persons who attended the launch were all customers and officials from different companies, who have all received a formal invitation to attend the Shanghai Culture Square, the place where Samsung released their new phone in China.
Further on, Samsung added that the Chinese website The Paper verified their story and removed the wrongful reports. For now, Samsung is making investigations to find out where the story came from.
However, in the past, Samsung has dealt with similar situations, and was accused of paying people to fake their interest.
In 2013, the Korean company was fined with $340,000 for offering students from Taiwan money to write negative comments online about HTC. Samsung blamed an external agency for that situation.
Another ‘bribing’ case allegedly happened when Samsung wanted to promote itself on Stack Overflow, which is a site where app developers meet. When this happened, Samsung strongly denied the accusations.
Recruiting fake fans or paying people to promote their interests are known to be strategies big companies resort to in order to gain the edge over competition.
For example, news reports have stated that the Russian government is offering money to online writers to make positive reports about things related to the country, such as writing good reviews on devices created by the local phone producer, Yota.
Samsung’s most feared adversary, Apple, has become extremely popular in China, and statistics have shown that the iPhone is the number one best selling phone in China, even taking down the record of Xiaomi, the Chinese smart phone company, who had been holding the first position for a long time.
Samsung has unveiled for the first time the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, on the 1st of March in Barcelona. When it was released the company promised that the technology of these two new phones will be the new standard for the future smart phones.