Astroturf Everywhere

Intuit, makers of TurboTax, orchestrated a “grassroots” campaign of citizens who were upset at the thought that they could file convenient, pre-filled tax forms instead of spending time and effort entering financial details into tax preparation software.

At least Intuit’s people were real, though duped. Verizon’s astroturf campaign, designed to let them weasel out of their obligation to provide high speed broadband to New Jersey residents, probably included some fake “customers”:

We received 18 replies. Several were Verizon retirees asked to sign letters of support for Verizon. Another five had no idea what we were talking about and denied they submitted any views, pro or con, about Verizon. Three of those were Comcast customers that said goodbye to Verizon more than a decade earlier. Many others were associated with groups that happen to receive financial support from Verizon. Several had no broadband access and were using dial-up.

What’s next? A blizzard of letters from Fleet customers extolling the pleasure of regular enemas? Actually, that would probably be more reasonable that people spontaneously writing letters in support of keeping tax filing painful or having shitty broadband.

5 replies
  1. 1
    Schlemizel says:

    It is the way of the world now. With all the extra money these giant conglomerates have they can afford to spend a few million dollars ensuring they maintain their stranglehold on the American consumer. They know it works & they will beat it to death. The end result is it will no longer work – for them or for the legitimate efforts of Americans banding together. SO thats sort of a lose/win for them

  2. 2
    ThresherK says:

    “Fleet customers” and enemas?

    Funny thing to ask people at a bank teller’s window in New England thru 2004.

    Maybe that’s why they gave up the name.

  3. 3
    grillo says:

    The first comment in the TuboTax article is entertaining. Arglebargle about this being a crooked way for the evil IRS to expand and steal money from people. And the second one is in favor of the flat tax.

    Awesome discourse.

  4. 4
    FlyingToaster says:

    We up here in the People’s Republic had the same problem with faked signatures on referenda petitions. For the “anti-gay-marrige” one (thank you Article8 and Massachusetts “Family” Institute) there were so many fakes that a site called “know thy neighbor” was posted so that people could check and see if their signature had been faked. The petitioners had close to double the required signatures, so a few thousand fakes didn’t derail their petition; the legislature did.

    For anything going to my congresswoman, senators, or state legislators, I have to include at least my zip code, and often my address. Their contacts page tells us that their mail is filtered to address constituents first. Heh.

  5. 5

    Truth is whatever Big Money says it is.

    Me, I’m thinking the Internet is all illusion, myself.

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