Generally, when a company wants to generate feedback from its customer base it will offer them a chance to win a prize in exchange for asking them to fill out a survey. Thankfully for Microsoft, /v/ users will gladly do it for free so there's no need for that. But is it ethical? I think companies who're conducting any kind of online questionnaire should be required by law to disclose their identities and intentions beforehand, giving consumers awareness and the freedom to opt out of uncompensated participation in market research if they so choose.
If it's ethical depends on your world view. Are you atheist then it is ethical or not depending on what you feel that day. If you are Christian it depends on what the Bible says and if it's a part of the Bible that applies anymore or not. Otherwise it's like atheists. If you are Muslim then everything is ethical and allowed if it is not forbidden in the Qur'an and hadith. If you are Buddhist it is unethical if it is motivated by anything other than selflessness so maybe yes because it's motivated by a thirst and desire for earthly knowledge. If you are Hindu it depends on your local tradition, if you are jain it depends if it causes any kind of harm to any creatures or not and so on.
Nah. Corporations don't care if its ethical or not. They don't believe they will ever be caught. The whole idea of shills is that there's no way to prove a connection between the things they say or do and the companies they represent. That opens the door for some potentially disreputable business tactics which companies wouldn't want to be known for. And even if they did get caught, or exposed, laws and regulations regarding these types of activities are completely nonexistent. So, technically, they've done nothing wrong. The remote possibility of harming their public image is the biggest risk they have to take to reap the massive benefits of this new paradigm in marketing. So, no, question isn't about ethics from their perspective; it's about cost effectiveness and risks/rewards. I'm merely an observer. To me, what's going on here seems to be unethical. My question is what do you guys think?