Thursday, February 28, 2008

Human astroturf

Comcast Accused of Falsely Taking Hearing Seats
The organizer of a federal hearing Monday at Harvard Law School on Comcast's treatment of subscriber Internet traffic said yesterday that "seat-warmers" hired by the company prevented other people from attending.

Comcast acknowledged that it hired an unspecified number of people to fill seats, but said those people gave up their spots when Comcast employees arrived to take their places.

Catherine Bracy, administrative manager of Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, disputed that assertion, saying most of the three dozen seat-warmers who arrived hours before the Federal Communications Commission hearing remained during the event's opening hours, as many other people were turned away.

Whatever the benefits of preventing critics from filling the FCC hearing has been more than lost by the use of human astroturf. Real public relations communicates your message in such a way that your company has actual public support.

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