Samsung recently admitted fault — to an extent — after being accused of false advertising when a group of paid bloggers flooded the web with posts that attacked HTC and its devices. Samsung issued a statement saying that the posts were the result of a misunderstanding, but that might not mean these aggressive tactics are being cast aside. CNNMoney’s Phillip Elmer-DeWitt on Saturday published an article discussing a “somewhat paranoid theory” that Samsung has quietly declared war on Apple after being called an iPhone copycat. The response to his article, as it turns out, suggests that the theory might not be so paranoid after all.
Elmer-DeWitt’s initial post covered a theory being passed around among Apple investors that accuses Samsung of launching a multi-pronged attack against Apple using everything from anti-iPhone TV commercials to “paying students and other heavy users of social media to post anonymous messages talking up the virtues of Samsung’s products and spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt about Apple and other competitors.”
Seems a bit paranoid, no? But then, Elmer-DeWitt’s article received more than 450 comments and, within the span of a few hours, more than a thousand votes were cast on the site’s commenting system up-voting anything positive about Samsung or negative about Apple (and about Elmer-DeWitt), and down-voting anything negative about Samsung.
A follow-up piece from the author on Sunday discussing the response to his first post was fairly damning:
The post drew more that the usual number of comments. Twenty six hours later, we’re up to 343 messages and counting. Some readers supported the thesis. Some ridiculed it. Some attacked Apple. Some attacked me.
That kind of thing comes with the territory, although not usually in such numbers or with such vehemence. But what happened at about 2 a.m. EST — Sunday afternoon in Seoul, South Korea — was new.
In the space of a few hours, more than a thousand votes were cast on the DISQUS feedback system, voting down any comment remotely anti-Samsung and voting up anything — no matter how inane, in-artful or wrong — that disparaged Apple, the thesis, or me.
This follow-up post had 373 comments as of the time of this writing, many of which sing Samsung various praises and accuse Elmer-DeWitt of spreading pro-Apple propaganda.