“…the term astroturfing describes formal public relations (PR) campaigns that seek to create the impression of being a spontaneous, grassroots behavior. Hence the reference to the "AstroTurf" (artificial grass) is a metaphor to indicate "fake grassroots" support.
The goal of such a campaign is to disguise the agenda of a client as an independent public reaction…”
Read the full entry on wikipedia.
As the old world of one to many mass marketing loses its effectively, astroturfing is the new, more insidious way to disseminate propaganda.
Here’s an example involving Wal-Mart as reported by the New York Times.
The web is indeed open to more real voices like no other communications conduit has ever done before. But constant vigilance is still required to sort the real from the PR.
“Manipulation doesn’t work when you deal with collective intelligence. You need to be 100% genuine when you expose your self to the communicating Internet meta-brains. Things are changing for real, not for propaganda purposes. If you just act like you go with the revolution, because this is going to cash in, if you believe you can “use” the new technology for PR-purposes, you might fool the uncles at Wal-Mart and Microsoft, but you are not fooling us.”
More on Information Architects Japan.
(BTW a fake blog is called … a flog.)