The army of R$ 20 – 07/23/2023 – Ronaldo Lemos

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By now, many people must have already received a message like: “Work from home and earn R$ 2,000 per month”.

Many of these messages are scams. Others are part of a system of hiring freelance workers to post positive product reviews online, creating the impression that they are genuinely well reviewed. Each of these paid reviews, often done in the form of one-minute videos, generates up to R$20 for the person who is hired.

Journalist Gabriel Daros published last week an investigation into this phenomenon in Brazil, on the interesting platform called Rest of the World, which aims precisely to cover in English situations that occur in countries that are not very visible in the US and European media.

Daros reported that, through platforms such as Vintepila, 99freelas and Vinteconto, it is possible to both offer and hire services from “freelancers” to write paid product reviews. In fact, these platforms are full of people offering to “record videos and other testimonials for your product”. The great value of this type of marketing is precisely to give the impression of authenticity. Whoever talks about the product is not a celebrity. It’s people “like us”. The more spontaneous and natural the testimonial or video is, the better.

But spontaneity has limits. Daros reports that most of these actions are carried out through pre-prepared scripts by the contractor. Many of the people who shoot videos or write testimonials have never even had contact with or used the product. Another problem is that these reviews are published without any kind of warning that they are paid content. Exactly so as not to undo the impression of spontaneity.

This phenomenon is the tip of a deeper transformation. In today’s internet, it is increasingly important to occupy the space reserved for “comments”. It is not enough for companies (nor for political campaigns) to just produce and post wonderful content. Today there is an ambition to control what is said about the posted content. There’s no point in making a great post about a product or service if right below it there are countless people talking badly about it.

This is where this “R$ 20 army” comes in. Fake people and profiles are recruited by agencies to occupy open spaces on major platforms. When someone posts a comment about one of these “managed” brands, they are soon surrounded by an army of fake fans who gather to challenge the bad review and even attack whoever desecrated the “managed” brand.

If, for commerce and services, this is already harmful, for issues of public interest, it is even worse. Just as an amusement park mirror can make someone appear taller or thinner, these reviews distort the true image of products and services, molding our perception to the narrative that contractors want us to see. This makes the internet a medium where spontaneity is for sale. It converts the utopian decentralized “global network” that the Internet should be into a medium in which practically all spaces are for sale. Making trust a scarce commodity on the network today.


It’s over Marketing focused only on mass campaigns

Already Digital marketing based on data and behaviors

It’s coming Social marketing, which explores social dynamics on the internet

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