Nvidia Corp. Monday faced charges over hiring fans to communicate with computer enthusiasts in forums and communities, get needs and requirements of hardware users for the graphics processors developer, share the technical information with the end user, pre-test software and hardware and, possibly, create positive image of Nvidia’s products in computer forums. The firm has admitted some of the actions, but denied other allegations.
Nvidia Teams Up with AEG
Hardware web-site EliteBastards and certain members of forums of Beyond3D web-site have discovered that Nvidia is a client of Arbutnhot Entertainment Group (AEG) which specializes in working with editors in enthusiast and consumer media to obtain maximum exposure for its clients’ products and also identifying and “cultivating” influential online communities to generate “grassroots buzz and positive word-of-mouth”. A member of the Beyond3D forums has suggested that Nvidia pays or provides special privileges to people who help to spread good words about the company’s products within communities as a part of its deal with AEG, a claim which was supported by web-site The Consumerist, which is focused on criticizing advertisements by the companies. The link to the article by Consumerist reached well-known news-blog of HardOCP web-site.
In fact, the member over the Beyond3D forums posted his first message concerning the matter on the 1st of December, 2005, EliteBastards followed with its publication in early December too. The findings about AEG and Nvidia relationships have been discussed in various forums since then. The Consumerist posted its first issue concerning the matter on the 6th of February, 2006, which means that it took a rumour more than two months to reach this web-site, a very long amount of time for the Web, where significant news spread in hours.
It is unclear when exactly Nvidia started to use services of AEG and for what, but it is known that AEG was founded in 1996, whereas the success stories of the company include projects that are maximum five years old.
Among other clients of AEG there are Atari, Stardock, 2K Games, Microsoft Corp. and others. Except Microsoft, the three software companies claim that AEG helped them to create “positive buzz” and “expand online discussion” of their products. AEG’s means
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