Do you know what a shill is, and would you know if you had fallen prey to their antics?
If you have no idea on either of these counts you should read ahead to find out about the history of the word and practice, and to find out how the average shill operates these day.
The origin of a shill
The word itself comes from the older “shillaber” which referred to those runners or troupers on the payroll of a circus who would mingle with the crowds whilst the ringmaster gave his speech. Once the speech was over they would rush to buy a ticket in order to create a sense of urgency. The idea was to make the real customers believe that tickets were in hot demand so that they would buy impulsively.
Shills in operation
A shill these days will most likely operate online by leaving comments and reviews online for a price. You will see them most often on forums and social media where they will leave reviews and comments about products and services. Depending upon who has paid them and what the job description is they may either leave positive comments or put down the competition. The job of a shill, to put it simply, is to create hype and bolster the reputation of their employer in order to draw in customers.
Shills and a genuine commenter
Shills, at least successful ones, are generally quite good at what they do and so it can be hard to tell which comments and reviews have been left by a shill. There are some signs to watch out for, however: If you copy and paste the comment in question into a Google search you will be able to find out if it has been posted elsewhere; if it can be found elsewhere word for word then it is likely a bought review. If the review can be found elsewhere discussing the same complaint or issue, but with a different company or product name you should also be wary… especially if they also suggest a better product, company, or a solution to the problem!
Have you been duped by a shill? Leave your comments (shills need not bother lol).