We recently got a bunch of comments in a row recently that all praised Vectone highly. Although they were under several different names, we got a bit suspicious as they had used the same email address every time. After a bit of poking around, it soon became apparent that something very dodgy was going on.
The first post was on 20 March at 12:29 by a user named “RJ” and said:
I reccomend vectone to anyone who wants to work hard and be rewarded for that. In no other company you get recognition for your hardwork so quickly.
This same user, “RJ” then went on to make two more posts in quick sucession, both defending Vectone Mobile:
I used the service for the 1p deal as well and I got the correct rates. You need to understand that 1p is not to mobiles in all countries. It practically impossible to offer 1p rate to mobiles. What vectone does offer is the UKs lowest rates to international mobiles in addition to 1p landline rates
sory to hear that ! what i am wondeing is how can they have 2 million Uk customers if they are so bad. They must be doing a lot of things right !
The interesting thing was that the posts didn’t stop there. At 15:50 another user named “Andy” wrote:
everyone in my family is on vectone and we never faced issues calling each other.
It was about now that we checked out these particular comments and noticed that, although they used completely different names, they both had the same email address registered: firstname.lastname@example.org
This would make sense for a user named “RJ” but not so much for someone called “Andy“. Furthermore, why would someone want to use two different names even though they only had one email address?
Curious, we googled “Rishabh Jaipuria” and this LinkedIn profile came up.
It’s for one Rishabh Jaipuria whose current job is, wait for it, “Head of Online Marketing and Sales at Vectone“. Even better, he writes in his profile:
I am an open networker, please add me using rishabh.jaipuria(at)gmail.com .
So it seems that this Rishabh Jaipuria has been engaging in a little bit of astroturfing. That is, pretending to be writing grassroots support when he’s actually being paid by a company. By posing as a normal customer, Vectone is trying to mislead all the visitors to our site with phoney user reviews posted by completely fake people. Surely this is a bit embarrassing for Vectone?
But wait, it gets better!
We wanted to be even more sure so checked the website logs and, sure enough, the comments by RJ (who never identifies or discloses himself as Vectone employee) were posted from exactly the same IP address as those from “Andy” later in the day.
What’s more, there was a post left a long time earlier from exactly the same IP address on the 16th February from a user named “bleh” saying:
I work for them too.
And they suck. It’s a joke!
As both these comments were from the same IP address, that means they were both from the same building – the poster who goes by “RJ” (and other aliases) with the email address email@example.com was posting his positive comments from the same place as the person claiming to work for Vectone!
We then went and looked up all the comments posted from this IP address and found many more from firstname.lastname@example.org but again with different names defending Delight Mobile. Why is a Vectone Mobile employee defending Delight? Well, they just so happen to be the same company!
very starange. I never had any connecion issues with delight !!
Hi Paul, i had similar problems with them as well at the start but now they seem to have improved their service greatly. I guess like any startup there ware some bumps in the begenning.
I like Delight Mobile. I have never had any connection problems or anything like this.
Customer service was good too. They do have a good deals for call inside UK, but what is the most attractive to me is the cheap international call they offer.
As far as know, they really do have the cheapest rates.
I use Vectone for international calls as well and I do not feel ripped off, as on Vectone website is clearly stated that ‘it’s only 1p a minute to make international calls’. It is general statement, not stating mobile rates anywhere…so it is landline, otherwise they would write mobiles…and also there is a limited list of 1p countries. Are you sure your country was on the list of 1p countries? I recommend you to do a little reading before getting any SIM card or topup next time:)it is worth it…I am really satisfied with their services, but I know what I got, so I have good experience. However, I cannot believe that they could mess up with your history of calls…sounds like a story from a movie:)
Funnily enough, the only two reviews that had been commented on by this IP address were, you guessed it: Vectone and Delight.
And as if they weren’t busted enough, they’ve also recently been registering new forum accounts to defend themselves on critical threads. Unfortunately, they haven’t noticed that the threads were all very old so bumping them all in quick sucession is very obvious especially if you’re using brand-new just-created accounts. We’re betting the admins of that forum will find they all used the same IP address and that it’s the same as the user posting positive comments on our reviews…
If you’re trying to manipulate public opinion with dishonest astroturfing, you’ve got to be a lot more subtle than that!
Have you ever caught companies astroturfing? How did it make you feel about them? What do you think about Vectone/Delight now you’ve read about this?