Mirror Mirror Astroturfing – Who’s Behind It?

From Wikipedia: Astroturfing is a form of advocacy in support of a political, organizational, or corporate agenda, designed to give the appearance of a “grassroots” movement. The goal of such campaigns is to disguise the efforts of a political and/or commercial entity as an independent public reaction to some political entity—a politician, political group, product, service or event. The term is a derivation of AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to look like natural grass.

UPDATE: Now Hunger Games and Twilight Breaking Dawn Astroturfing?

Two days ago we had four strangely optimistic comments within a two hour span on our Mirror Mirror trailer post. These all came from the same IP address (which means the same computer), which we traced to Brooklyn, NY. This caught my eye and I immediately set about with several Google searches to find, just as I had expected, the exact same comments had been placed on any blog with open comments that had a posting for Mirror Mirror. This is some of the sloppiest astroturfing I’ve seen to date. Same names on the comments on every site, and they misspelled Tarsem Singh’s name (Tareem). I wouldn’t be surprised if the shoddily setup automated system found this post and placed the comments here as well.

Studios have done far worse than online fake word of mouth campaigns though, let’s not forget Sony’s debacle with fake critic David Manning, created to give good reviews to all Sony films and used for blurbs on many promotional materials. That was a decade ago, now with the Internet being far more widespread and a plethora of ways to fake people (Twitter accounts, blog comments, even bloggers themselves) who knows what they might be up to.

I’ve compiled a list below of some of the Google results, but they go on and on. I seriously doubt these comments have changed any minds, and of the pages I’ve looked at they never spark up a conversation. Let’s be honest, this movie looks like crap, and no amount of fake comments praising it is going to help.

The big question is who’s behind this? Is it someone in Julia Robert’s camp? Tarsem Singh’s, Armie Hammer’s or Lily Collins’ people? Has Relativity Media hired some grey area marketing agency? Or is it simply a devoted fan? Regardless of who, we can definitely say that the negative reception the trailer has garnered is what spurred this on. What do you think? If anyone sees anything similar let us know.

Here’s the comments that were left on our Mirror Mirror trailer post:

Lana – Julia Roberts is going to be awesome as the Evil Queen. She’s such a good actress!

Rebecca – Definitely seeing this with my boyfriend! Can’t wait to see Lily Collins in action!!

Sam – I loveeee Armie Hammer! So good in Social Network and now he’s going to be so good in this.

Charlie – Tareem Singh makes awesome movies. Immortals was amazing and this will be too.

Here’s the list of links with the same comments on them as well. Also copying any of the comments above into Google will give you a similar and more complete list.

3 thoughts on “Mirror Mirror Astroturfing – Who’s Behind It?”

  1. i am trying to gather up all evidence of astroturfing to expose these crooks – I have 100% conclusive evidence of 1 case where a big investment company paid someone on a cheap website full of spammers to make a video testimonial of their company – the evidence is 100% indisputable – they are really going to hang their head in shame when the word gets out !!!

  2. I was disappointed in the Mirror Mirror trailer but I’m still interested in seeing it. Astroturfing wouldn’t stop me from seeing a movie I wanted to see but it’s definitely not a good thing. Especially since I try to ignore comment threads anyway…

    even though I post in them…

    Go figure.

  3. Hey Trevor,

    Great work!!! On two of my favorite sites to visit and read, you and/or moviemavericks.com are mentioned (deadline.com and bleedingcool.com). Congrats on the awesome publicity!

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