Microsoft denies paying marketers to post positive Xbox One comments on Reddit

By James Dohnert , Updated Jun 10, 2013 11:07 AM EDT
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The Xbox One suffered a bit of bad press after its big reveal last month. Whether warranted or not, the next gen console suffered the wrath of some angry gamers. The console received some heat for having a 24-hour online check-in feature and DRM for used games.

Microsoft reportedly attempted to get ahead of bad press by sending out marketers to up vote good press on Reddit. The marketing tactic was let out of the bag when one of the marketers took to Reddit to inform the community about the news.

CinemaBlend first reported on the posts which detailed how marketers working for Microsoft were up-voting positive Xbox One news on Reddit and debunking false reports under aliases.

The Redditor writes that while visiting the Redmond campus, he saw marketers working on Reddit to spread positive headlines about the console. Though it's fairly common for marketers to sway forums by posting and manipulating news, a forum war about the Playstation 4 and Xbox One could have just been marketer crosstalk.

"There's a good chance that many of the positive posts/comments we're seeing about the Xbox One have been posted by employees from one of those marketing firms. It's fairly standard to diss your competitors too, so I'm guessing some of the negative posts about it might even be from Sony. That's just a hypothesis, though it wouldn't be the first time a seeming-crapstorm among 'Redditors' was actually just a proxy war between marketing employees," wrote the forum member.

Microsoft has vehemently denied the allegations. The Next Web had reached out to the company which responded by saying that an organized effort to influence online forums was never performed by Microsoft employees.

"There is no coordinated or sanctioned effort by Microsoft employees, or anyone paid by Microsoft, to unduly influence Reddit or other online forums," a Microsoft spokesperson said.

While the response seems to dismiss the issue, CinemaBlend points out that marketers working with Microsoft could have still hired their own marketers to drum up good press for the Xbox One.

Whether or not any foul play exists, it seems to have upset Redditors. The forum that first introduced the rumors has been essentially closed down. The original post was deleted along with any backtalk for the comment.

Xbox One still has a chance to get ahead of bad press through less nefarious means. The company reportedly will be announcing some big games at this year's E3 event. A recently leaked list of games expected to be unveiled at E3 2013, will include a variety of Xbox One-exclusive titles.

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