Beware the Buzz: Sony and the PS3

Ian Lurie

Sony just pulled their site, after they got caught trying to do a little stealth buzz marketing.

They launched the site and had writers pretend they were just gamers who loved the new PS3, as opposed to marketers hired by Sony.

They were found out when someone discovered that the web marketing firm Zipatoni owned the web address and then traced that back to Sony. Oops.


There are some great lessons learned as pointed out by AdAge. But the most important is don’t lie, or even flirt with lying. Especially when your audience is a bunch of highly skeptical, savvy gamers.

Don’t take my word for it – see what the FTC says about this practice.

Always, always be transparent. The potential downside of deceptive marketing is huge. Believe me, Sony learned that lesson – they’re struggling to make up ground on the XBOX 360 and the last thing they needed was the flood of bad publicity and angry gamers this generated.

Ian Lurie
CEO & Founder

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at

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