An interesting story circulating on various blogs and picked up by the New York Times over the weekend illustrates the importance of thinking twice before trying to fool savvy consumers. Marketers beware: trickery is bound to be exposed.
Corporate radio giant Clear Channel Communications started a fake pirate radio station and companion Web site called "Radio Free Ohio" (the original site has since been removed), to broadcast “pirate radio” critical of… other Clear Channel stations. The trickery was discovered by someone who posted a comment on message boards of another radio station: WOXY – "the future of rock & roll." The story was then picked up by Stay Free Magazine in this post.
It turns out that the Web site for Radio Free Ohio had been registered by Clear Channel - information that anyone can access through a domain search.
Marketers need to think through the repercussions of fakery and seriously consider if such tactics are worth the risk. With millions of amateur sleuths out there ready to post their findings to blogs and message boards, it just a matter of time before such a tactic is exposed…