R is for Research! (Market and otherwise.)
In a research survey conducted via a stealth marketing operation over the last six months by Google, Facebook, China, Twitter, YouTube, Windows-Microsoft, and the National Security Agency, more than half of online shoppers in the European Union believe that corporations with a large social media presence are less trusted than those with a small or non-existent one. In the interests of disclosure, Google controls this site but not its content.
Millions of consumers' emails and messages were monitored to gauge public opinion. The above corporations, agencies and countries were a fraction of those used to obtain information.
"In a joint venture like this, any sites that we couldn't monitor through our own services, we can access anyway," claimed a Chinese official. "So, the dating site PlentyOfFish and the retailer Amazon didn't have to sign up to our survey. We took their data."
Shockingly, it transpired that consumers were more likely to trust
companies with a smaller online presence than those with a big presence.
"I don't know if I should write a negative review," wrote Raquela Massima of Southern Europe - currently living in Frigiliana, Spain - to a friend in the UK, in a WhatsApp message on December 16, 2013. "But I got a face cream on Amazon last week, and I broke out in a rash after using it."
R is for Raquela.
"Amazon is a watch word," replied her friend, Tabatha Gallagher, of Clanawley in Northern Ireland.
"Huh?" Raquela asked.
"Don't talk about it on here," Tabatha said. "Just shut up. WhatsApp=FB. I'll give you a bell. x"
"LOL," Raquela replied. "U're mad. x"
In the Viber conversation that followed an hour later, from a wifi hotspot in Swanlinbar, in the Republic of Ireland to the residence of Raquela - where a D-Link wireless router is connected to an Ethernet fiber optic socket - Tabatha explained to Raquela that Amazon might charge her a second time if they thought she was going to complain. She said that "That happened to a friend here. She wrote a bad review a few months ago and she was charged a second time. She complained about the second charge. They said it was a glitch on the system. She asked to be reimbursed, and then they just emptied her credit card. She's homeless now."
Raquela expressed her disbelief at this turn of events - and whether it was related to the bad review. She said that she would write a bad review of her moisturiser, and see what would result. Unfortunately, her faith in those companies with large social media presences can no longer be confirmed. A month ago, Raquela's own online activity and purchases were curtailed significantly since her home was seized by her mortgage provider due to failure in maintaining payments.