Analysts have doubted the high number of glowing reviews for BlackBerry's newly released BBM app for iOS and Android because of the sheer number of almost identical wording and content of the reviews.
In Taiwan, it was the other way around as it turned out that in April, South Korean tech giant Samsung allegedly hired students to write on the Web bad reviews about the devices of rival HTC and great reviews for Samsung products.
File picture shows a person talking on a mobile phone in front of a HTC advertisement board in Taipei. October 3, 2013.
As a result, the Fair Trade Commission of Taiwan imposed a T$10 million fine, or the equivalent of $341,300, on Samsung for the offence. The commission also penalised two of Samsung's marketing agencies.
Commenting on the commission's decision, Sun Lih-chyun, its spokesman, said, "This is the first case of its kind in Taiwan that a company has concealed its genuine status while attacking a rival."
Besides that offense, Samsung was also accused of making bribe offers to Android developers to make positive mentions of initiatives by Samsung.
Writing fake or paid reviews, also called astroturfing, is an industry practice in politics and business that led the New York state attorney general to issue $350,000 fines on fake online reviews placed in popular tech or social media sites. However, at times it is difficult to distinguish genuine from reviews made by paid hacks.
The move by Samsung somewhat surprised some analyst because the South Korean company is considered a giant in the technology world and HTC, despite the game-changer smartphone it introduced, the HTC One, that wowed the world because of its aluminium case and capabilities. In contrast, HTC appeared to be a flash in the pan now struggling over delay in deliveries and jumping ship of executives that its chairwoman, Cher Wang, had to take over the reins of HTC from chief executive Peter Chou.