Definition

astroturfing (astroturf marketing)

Astroturfing is the artificial creation of a grassroots buzz for a product, service or political viewpoint. Commercially-motivated astroturfing is called "astroturf marketing." Astroturf marketing has a negative connotation, primarily because disreputable marketers have used deceptive tactics to build their buzz by taking advantage of the anonymity the Internet provides.

Astroturf marketers typically use blogs, message boards, podcasts, wikis, vlogs, chat rooms and social media Web sites like MySpace when building an artificial buzz. Deceptive astroturf marketing techniques include impersonating someone in the targeted demographic, creating an entirely fictional character (called a meat puppet) that's meant to appear to others to be a real person.

Astroturf marketing is sometimes called green marketing.

See also: buzz marketing

This was last updated in October 2006

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It's unreal how many firms jumped on the astroturf bandwagon right away...or maybe they were already doing this before the term was coined to explain what they were doing. Regardless, this has gone on since the first testimonials and ads were created. It will continue unless there is embarrassment and penalties that make it less than a favorable practice for PR firms and companies. Get off my astroturf, you kids! :-)
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