A Handok employee allegedly wrote posts on web portals disguised as a consumer and illegally advertised a product that she oversaw.
The Fair Trade Commission regulates product recommendations and guarantees written on Internet blogs, communities, social network services (SNS) and Q&A boards of web portals by the employees of advertising agencies or their clients disguised as ordinary consumers, defining such acts as illegal labeling and advertising in the commission's guidelines on recommendations and guarantees.
|Some activities on Naver's Jishik-In by an online user believed to be the former product manager of Clearteen at Handok.|
Handok advertised their product Clearteen, using such methods on Naver's Jishik-IN, a question and answer service. In 2013~2014, the product manager (PM) of Clearteen recommended the product online pretending to be a consumer. The post in question continued to pop up at the top of the screen when people searched the name of the product, triggering criticism for deceiving consumers.
The user going by the Naver ID girl**** recommended Clearteen on Jishik-In since 2013 and posted an answer mentioning that a friend recommended the product and that she was satisfied with her experience. In addition, when a person asked how effective the product was, she answered, “I had no side effects and the results were great.”
But when we checked, the owner of the ID used to post similar answers repeatedly on Naver's Jishik-IN turned out to be a Handok employee, who was the product manager of Clearteen at the time.
|The list of activities by the user in question on Jishik-IN|
The PM in question revealed herself several times on a number of websites using the same ID (girl****) since she worked at D pharmaceutical company.
This does not seem to be the only deceptive advertising carried out by Handok. Similar circumstances were captured in connection to their product, Ready Q, a hangover remedy.
Some people online suspected that the questions about the product, which included images of the product, and answers recommending the product were ads posted by the company.
An online user by the ID, kind**** posted a comment on an answer recommending Handok's Ready Q on Jishik-In and said, "Asking and answering their own questions on Jishik-In, this is a problem.“
One online advertising expert expressed concerns that the people's perception of viral marketing was getting worse due to the selfishness of some companies.
He said, "Viral marketing opens the door to consumers so that they can voluntarily promote a product or service, but some companies are intent on visible results, and post false comments pretending to be an average customer. This is just false advertising and cannot be seen as viral marketing.“
According to the Fair Trade Commission guidelines, even if the person writing the post is not an employee of the company, if he writes customer reviews or attaches images on web portals as if he had used the product when in fact he had never used it, this is also unfair labeling and advertising.
Even if he did use the product, if he is not using the product at the time he makes the recommendation, this can also be regarded as a violation of the labeling and advertisement guidelines.
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