Browse Definitions:

sock puppet marketing

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Sock puppet marketing is the use of a false identity to artificially stimulate demand for a product, brand or service. A false identity on the Internet is known colloquially as a sock puppet or catfish, depending upon the level of detail attached to the false identity.  Typically, a sock puppet has very little (if any) detail attached to it and may simply be a fictional name attached to a new Google or Yahoo email account.   

Sock puppet marketing is one example of astroturfing, the practice of artificially stimulating online conversation and positive reviews about a product, brand or service.  Because sock puppets can be created quickly and do not need to be maintained, they are often used on social media sites to grow public interest or conversely, denigrate a competitor’s product, brand or service. Many websites that rely on customer reviews have mechanisms in place to discourage the use of sock puppets.  Some sites, for example, will only allow a verified customer to post a review.

Sock puppet marketing and sock puppetry in general are unethical and in some cases, illegal. If detected, sock puppet marketing efforts can have a negative impact, causing potential customers to lose trust and wonder if the product or service is so lacking in value that it cannot be effectively promoted honestly.  In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has the legal authority to levy fines if a company engages in sock puppet marketing.  

Matt Cutts, from Google, explains the hazards of sock puppet marketing:

See also: reputation management, social media influence, content marketing, gaming the system, Internet shill

This was last updated in January 2018

Continue Reading About sock puppet marketing

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.


File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:


  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...


  • federated identity management (FIM)

    Federated identity management (FIM) is an arrangement that can be made among multiple enterprises to let subscribers use the same...

  • cross-site scripting (XSS)

    Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of injection security attack in which an attacker injects data, such as a malicious script, ...

  • firewall

    In computing, a firewall is software or firmware that enforces a set of rules about what data packets will be allowed to enter or...



  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...


  • volume manager

    A volume manager is software within an operating system (OS) that controls capacity allocation for storage arrays.

  • external storage device

    An external storage device, also referred to as auxiliary storage and secondary storage, is a device that contains all the ...

  • NetApp SolidFire

    NetApp SolidFire is a business division of NetApp Inc. that specializes in all-flash storage systems.


  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.