Astroturfing is a term used to describe the act of creating a false sense of support or enthusiasm for a product, service, or idea. It is typically done through forums, blogs, social media, and other online sources in order to make it appear that there is more widespread support for the product or service than there really is.

The term originates from the combination of the words astroturf (synthetic grass used to create artificial lawns) and “turfing,” which is a term used to describe the practice of using any form of media available to promote an agenda, commonly used within political circles. People engaging in this practice are typically paid to do so and can make it appear as though there is genuine, grassroots enthusiasm for a product or service when in reality it is nothing more than a carefully orchestrated ploy to manipulate public opinion.

The practice of astroturfing is particularly popular in the computer industry. Companies often use astroturfers to spread positive messages about their products or services while at the same time constructing an overwhelmingly negative campaign against their competitors. Often these campaigns will contain false, deceptive, and often exaggerated language in order to create a false sense of enthusiasm for their product.

Examples of astroturfing, within the computer industry, include placing fictitious online ratings and reviews on popular review websites, such as Amazon, Cnet, and ZDnet. Paid employees may also create blog postings, post comments on forums, or comment on social networking sites using false profiles, in order to manipulate public opinion in a more subtle way.

In order to protect against astroturfing, it is important for consumers to always take reviews and postings with a grain of salt. Take the time to investigate the comments and make sure that the company or individual in question is reputable and trustworthy. Additionally, verify the comments by looking for corroborating evidence from other sources. Doing this can help protect you from falling victim to the tactics of astroturfers and ensure that you make informed buying decisions.

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